Tag: eminent domain abuse

OCA Member Michael Faherty Defends Against Taking of Historic Outbound Station in Pennsylvania

Posted on Feb 11, 2022 in OCA Blog

An historic station that was built as the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Conshohocken Station circa 1890 is now the subject of a taking by the Borough of Conshohocken for alleged park purposes.  Although passenger service at the Outbound Station ceased in 1962, after the property was purchased by Joe and Barb Collins and lovingly restored, it was used for nearly 30 years as an antique store, and more recently, leased to the Couch Tomato Cafe. OCA Emeritus Member Michael Faherty recently wrote an open letter to the Borough challenging their right to take the property by eminent domain on several grounds, including a failure to identify a specific use for the property.  “Instead of listing an identified, researched and needed public purpose,” Mr. Faherty states in his letter, “the proposed ordinance only listed multiple possible, future public purposes as…including, but not necessarily limited to, public open spaces, parks, recreation, and public parking. Such a vague assertion of potential public purpose fails to adequately state the purpose as required 26 Pa. C.S.A.(b)(4).”

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OCA Member Dwight Merriam: Emergency Declaration Could Blow up President Trump’s wall

Posted on Mar 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

The idiom “hoist with his own petard” is sometimes misconstrued to mean hoisted up. Not so. A petard was a medieval explosive device. To be hoisted with one’s own petard is to be blown up with your own bomb. President Trump is doing precisely that with an emergency declaration to build his wall due to the legal and practical impossibility of acquiring the property rights necessary to build a wall along the Southern border. The history on this issue began in 2006 when President George W. Bush initiated a border fence project. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 authorized and partially funded 700 miles of border fence. When he signed the bill into law, President Bush said, “This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.” Acquiring more than 1,000 separate properties in 2006 through voluntary negotiation and the draconian power of eminent domain proved difficult. There were 334 eminent domain cases filed in South Texas, and 60 to 70 cases are still being fought in court a dozen years later. Aside from the practical impossibility of assembling all the property for Trump’s wall and the hundreds or thousands of expensive lawsuits over compensation that would take decades to resolve, the real cost of such an effort is in social justice and equity. The Texas Civil Rights Project has stepped up to protect the rights of individuals with few resources and little practical experience in […]

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2018 Crystal Eagle Award Winner Luis Gallardo-Rivera

Posted on Feb 6, 2018 in News & Events

Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) announces that it has presented its highest honor, the Crystal Eagle Award, to Luis Gallardo-Rivera of Puerto Rico, a person who has consistently demonstrated his passion and commitment to the protection of private property rights in his native country of Puerto Rico. Working with other dedicated citizens who believe that the residential communities of Puerto Rico need not be sacrificed in the name of economic and private redevelopment projects, Luis Gallardo-Rivera has fought diligently to transform and modernize Puerto Rico’s eminent domain laws. In 2012, as a student in the pro bono clinic of the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, Luis and others worked closely with Professor Maria Hernandez to draft municipal ordinances designed to curb expropriation abuses at the local level. Later, under the mentorship of Professor Adi Martinez, Luis participated in the investigation and legal filings that led to the Supreme Court’s decision in Guaynabo vs. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, finding that the rights of hundreds of families living in the community of Vietnam had been violated by their unlawful displacement. Later, in 2015 Luis was instrumental in drafting and lobbying for the passage of House Bill 2321, a major piece of legislation designed to update and transform the eminent domain laws of Puerto Rico in order provide private landowners faced with the taking of their property greater legal protections and due process safeguards. Although House Bill 2321 was tabled without being acted upon, the hard work of Luis and other dedicated individuals brought public and media attention to the critical […]

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Eminent Domain Film, Battle For Brooklyn, to be Screened at Jacksonville Documentary Film Festival

Posted on Apr 12, 2016 in News & Events

“Nobody’s gonna remember how long it took. They’re only gonna look and see that it was done.” – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on the use of eminent domain to build the Barclays Center sports arena and mixed-use development in Brooklyn While attending an eminent domain CLE In 2011, we previewed a “rough cut” of a documentary film chronicling the story of Brooklyn property owner, Daniel Goldstein, and his neighbors as they struggled to save their homes, businesses and community in the heart of Brooklyn from being taken by eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards Project, a massive real estate development project including 16 skyscrapers and a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets.  This award winning film, Battle for Brooklyn, made the Academy Awards Shortlist for Best Documentary in 2012 and will be screened at the Jacksonville Documentary Film Festival, Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 1:00 PM at Sun-Ray Cinema. About the Film BATTLE for BROOKLYN “Battle for Brooklyn” is a close-range look at a community’s seven-year fight to stop the use of eminent domain to take their homes and businesses for the construction of a mixed-use development including a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets and commercial towers. The film is a compelling story about the abuse of eminent domain and how this awesome power intended for the public good can destroy a community The film follows Daniel Goldstein, a property owner turned activist, whose apartment sits at what would be center court of the new arena. He is dragged into the fight because he simply can not believe that the […]

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Eminent Domain & Property Rights: Where Do the 2016 Presidential Candidates Stand on these Fundamental Issues?

Posted on Feb 22, 2016 in Articles

Republican Presidential Candidates Discuss Their Opinions on Eminent Domain With the Presidential race heating up and the field of candidates narrowing down, more and more issues are revealing distinctions between the hopefuls for the Oval Office. Somewhat surprisingly, one issue that recently created a bit of controversy among Republican candidates was the issue of eminent domain.  The current Republican front runners – Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio – have been attacking each others’ positions on this important issue and stating their own on the fundamental right to own property

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Will National Eminent Domain Reform be a Reality in 2012?

Posted on Mar 6, 2012 in News & Events

Last week (February 28), the United States House of Representatives passed by the Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2012 (H.R. 1443), which is intended to prevent the misuse of eminent domain for economic development. The proposed bill is not a cure for eminent domain abuse.

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OCA Files Amicus Brief in Support of Property Owner in SCOTUS Eminent Domain Case

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 in News & Events

Owners’ Counsel of America recently filed an amicus brief (embedded below) in support of the property owners in River Center LLC v.Dormitory Auth. of the State of New York (11-922) urging the United States Supreme Court to grant review and correct the eminent domain decision by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.

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Eminent Domain documentary “Battle For Brooklyn” on the “shortlist” for the Oscars

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 in News & Events

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (“The Academy”) announced last week that Battle For Brooklyn has made the “shortlist” of 15 documentary films that will advance in the voting process to be considered for an Academy Award. This film has certainly come far and received rave reviews since we first viewed it in February at its debut screening during the ALI-ABA Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation course in Coral Gables, FL.

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St. Louis property owner retains his 1st Amendment right to protest eminent domain abuse

Posted on Jul 19, 2011 in News & Events

Last week the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a property owner’s First Amendment right to protest the abusive eminent domain policies of the City of St. Louis. The case concerns a St. Louis property owner, Jim Roods, who opposed the city’s definition of blight and condemnation of his housing agency’s private property for private redevelopment.

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Battle for Brooklyn opens in NYC this weekend

Posted on Jun 16, 2011 in News & Events

The documentary Battle for Brooklyn opens this Friday, June 17th, at Cinema Village in Manhattan and at indieScreen in Brooklyn. The film Battle for Brooklyn captures a community’s seven-year fight to stop the use of eminent domain to take their homes and businesses for the construction of a mixed-use development including a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets and commercial towers.

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