In its infamous Kelo decision in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a New London, Conn., redevelopment agency could seize people's private homes by eminent domain not only for public works but also for corporate development.
The well-laid plans of redevelopers, however, did not pan out. The land where Suzette Kelo's little pink house once stood remains undeveloped. The proposed hotel-retail-condo "urban village" has not been built. And earlier this month, Pfizer Inc. announced that it is closing the $350 million research center in New London that was the anchor for the New London redevelopment plan, and will be relocating some 1,500 jobs.
"They stole our home for economic development," ousted homeowner Michael Cristofaro told the New York Times. "It was all for Pfizer, and now they get up and walk away."
The courts were too rapt at the notion of shiny and tax-rich waterfront development to care about the impact on largely blue-collar taxpayers who so desperately wanted to hold on to their ocean-view homes.
How can the government take citizens' homes so that private corporations can take the land for their own profit?
2 days ago