Eminent Domain strikes again

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Eminent Domain in N.J. - Now They Just Steal Land
NewsMax.com Wires
Monday, Oct. 17, 2005
Union Township, N.J. -- Carol Segal has a problem: He wants to build townhouses on the six acres of land he owns in New Jersey's Union Township and has contracted with a developer to build 100 townhouses there.
But the township government wants to develop the property themselves, and - incredibly - they have voted to take his land through the eminent domain process and let a local developer with political connections do the job.
"They want to steal my land," Segal told the Newark Star-Ledger. "What right do they have when I intend to do the exact same thing they want to do with my property?"
According to the Star-Ledger, Segal, a 65-year-old retired electrical engineer, has spent about $1.5 million to acquire the property over the past 10 years and has been dickering with township officials over the past five years about his development plans. He claims negotiations fell apart after he refused to use the developers that township officials wanted him to use.
At that point, on May 24, the five-member township committee voted unanimously to authorize the municipality to seize Segal's land through eminent domain and name its own developer, AMJM Development, paving the way for the developer to build 90 or so townhouses on Segal's land, according to the Star Ledger.

After that vote, Segal sued the township, and on Sept. 7 a Superior Court judge in Union County issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the township from hiring its own developer. Six days later, the township committee unanimously voted to start negotiating - but not sign a contract - with AMJM Development.

In the meantime, Segal signed a contract last week to sell his property to Centex Homes for about $13 million, contingent upon local approval. The Star-Ledger described Centex as a nationally known developer with projects in New Jersey's Middlesex, Morris and Monmouth counties. Centex plans to build 100 townhouses on Segal's property, and expects to earn some $15 million to $20 million, Segal told the newspaper.

Township Mayor Joseph Florio and Deputy Mayor Peter Capodice, both members of the township committee, told the Star Ledger they were unaware of Segal's involvement with Centex when they voted Sept. 13 to negotiate with the Mauti family, who own AMJM Development. But a proposal Centex submitted to the township committee on Sept. 1 said the company "has been in negotiations with (Segal) for quite some time."

When the item came up at the Sept. 13 meeting, the committee did not allow Segal's attorney to speak before the vote was taken.

Florio and Capodice told the newspaper they preferred AMJM because it is a local company. "I've never heard of Centex," Capodice said. "They're not Union County people."
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/10/17/145458.shtml
 
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Answers and Replies

Skyhunter
I have done work for Centex Homes. They are a very powerful developer. When I worked or them, they were the nations largest builder of residential dwellings.

Not my favorite developer to work for, but that is another story.

This imminent domain thing has gotten way out of control.
 
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According to a recent supreme court deciscion your property can be taken by a municipality and then resold to a developer or any entity so long as they can develop your property in a manner that produces more tax revenue for the municiaplity that you currently pay.

This gives too much room for the local "good old boy" government to do pretty much what they want.

Justices Affirm Property Seizures
5-4 Ruling Backs Forced Sales for Private Development

By Charles Lane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 24, 2005; Page A01

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that local governments may force property owners to sell out and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is "not blighted" and the new project's success is "not guaranteed".
 
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Pengwuino
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edward said:
According to a recent supreme court deciscion your property can be taken by a municipality and then resold to a developer or any entity so long as they can develop your property in a manner that produces more tax revenue for the municiaplity that you currently pay.
This gives too much room for the local "good old boy" government to do pretty much what they want.
We had a thread on that in the days that the court decision was handed down. Not sure where it is... probably in this same forum section.
 
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Pengwuino said:
We had a thread on that in the days that the court decision was handed down. Not sure where it is... probably in this same forum section.
I know. I just wanted to clarify what the OP was talking about.:smile:
 
Evo
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Isn't it obvious what this law is about? It sickens me.
 
Pengwuino
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Evo said:
Isn't it obvious what this law is about? It sickens me.
I actually question what it is "obviously" about. I mean this is something that seems so obvious and so 'knock you off your feet' insane that there has to be something else to it. It's the kind of stuff you see on snopes or something. It's like walking up to a random person and kicking them in the nuts (and I have actually seen that before! Funniest thing ever!!). Its so outrageous that you just almost know something else is going on here. I gotta take some time out to read the actual decision in full.
 
edward said:
This gives too much room for the local "good old boy" government to do pretty much what they want.
I was kinda under the impression that the "good old boys" would be more behind the person defending the rights to their own property.
"Best git off m'propty fern I fill yer *** with buckshot!"
 
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It all begain when cities wanted to condem and rebuild older blighted area. A lot of older long time residents complained. They didn't want to lose the homes that they had lived in for many years.

It ended up before the supreme court and the municipalities got more than they had asked for. They now have the legal authority to condem any property, and allow it to be rebuilt with any business or enterprize that generates more revenue than the previous owner did. The door is left open wide for fraud and corruption. :mad:

This definitely needs a second look. Even Supreme Court deciscions can be oveturned.
 
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TheStatutoryApe said:
I was kinda under the impression that the "good old boys" would be more behind the person defending the rights to their own property.
"Best git off m'propty fern I fill yer *** with buckshot!"
:rofl: You are right "good old boys" was not the best choice of words. I was referring to corruption in local governments and how they seem to frequently be run by a clique. From personel experience I have found that It happens just as frequently in small communities as it does in large cities.
 
Pengwuino
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edward said:
:rofl: You are right "good old boys" was not the best choice of words. I was referring to corruption in local governments and how they seem to frequently be run by a clique. From personel experience I have found that It happens just as frequently in small communities as it does in large cities.
See, this is why i should be a dictator. You'll never have any of this crap under me and you won't be bothered with having to decide which moron you want to run the country. I'll do it, all of it.
 
Skyhunter
Pengwuino said:
See, this is why i should be a dictator. You'll never have any of this crap under me and you won't be bothered with having to decide which moron you want to run the country. I'll do it, all of it.
Oh that would be wonderful. I hate deciding between morons.:wink:
 
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Pengwuino said:
See, this is why i should be a dictator. You'll never have any of this crap under me and you won't be bothered with having to decide which moron you want to run the country. I'll do it, all of it.
Dictator, never. President, possibly.:smile:
 
Astronuc
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Skyhunter said:
I have done work for Centex Homes. They are a very powerful developer. When I worked or them, they were the nations largest builder of residential dwellings.
Not my favorite developer to work for, but that is another story.
This eminent domain thing has gotten way out of control.
Dallas-based Centex Corporation (NYSE: CTX), founded in 1950, is one of the nation's leading home building companies. Centex Homes operates in major U.S. markets in 25 states and delivered more than 33,000 homes in the United States in its most recent fiscal year ended March 31, 2005. Its leading brands include Centex Homes, Fox & Jacobs Homes and Centex Destination Properties.
(from http://www.centex.com/) I wonder how much they have contributed to the Texas Republican Party, Tom Delay and the Bush campaign? :rolleyes:

I remember them from Texas. Cheap materials, cheap labor, generally mediocre to poor quality construction.

The NJ situation sounds more like Racketeering and Corruption than an appropriate application of 'eminent domain'. Of course, local governments are entitled to eminent domain, if the state constitution or laws allowed in the first place.
 
loseyourname
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It's funny that you guys criticize Centex when they are the developer that Segal wanted to hire. AMJM is the local contractor in collusion with the city government.
 
Astronuc
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I am familiar with Centex, not with AMJM.

In any event -

Township Mayor Joseph Florio and Deputy Mayor Peter Capodice, both members of the township committee, told the Star Ledger they were unaware of Segal's involvement with Centex when they voted Sept. 13 to negotiate with the Mauti family, who own AMJM Development.
This is just not right, and blantantly so. The fact that AMJM is a local company is irrelevant.

Assuming AMJM is simply going to develop the property in a manner similar to that proposed by Centex means that the Township has no right to take the land. It's not going for public use.

The government has no business being in land development, unless that land is for public use. What we see here are individuals from government using the power of government to do private business, which it would appear benefit the individuals in government and a private developer.

If AMJM wants to develop the land, then they should have offered a better price to Segal than Centex. But it would appear that Segal has already signed a contract.
 
Moonbear
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loseyourname said:
It's funny that you guys criticize Centex when they are the developer that Segal wanted to hire. AMJM is the local contractor in collusion with the city government.
Yep, it's NJ, corruptest state in the union, and anyone who has ever lived there knows it. Read between the lines..."Mauti family"...who else refers to a "family" when talking about business? This has nothing to do with eminent domain and everything to do with corruption, plain and simple. "Collusion" is an excellent word choice.
 
loseyourname
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Moonbear said:
Yep, it's NJ, corruptest state in the union, and anyone who has ever lived there knows it. Read between the lines..."Mauti family"...who else refers to a "family" when talking about business? This has nothing to do with eminent domain and everything to do with corruption, plain and simple. "Collusion" is an excellent word choice.
Isn't it amazing how close to reality The Sopranos really is? I'll never forget when I used to drive down to New Brunswick to visit my girlfriend at Rutgers (or South Central New Brunswick, as I called it). There was this place out on Route 1, a restaurant, that was open one day a month. Can a front seriously get any more obvious?
 
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This is where Teddy Roosevelt's idea about judicial recall by popular vote would have been bloody brilliant.

It seems that NO ONE I've ever talked to likes the way this constitutional clause is interpreted. I hate Democrats for how they are such bastards about this. Democratic people are NOT in favor of government stealing private property from American citizens. Next to no one, save the people who are actually doing the stealing, seems to be in favor of it.

TR was way ahead of his time, but come on, it was nearly 100 years ago that he proposed judicial recall - let's institute it already and get rid of this ridiculous crap.
 

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