March 11th, 2009 — By — In News & Events

Texas Family considers selling their land for marina project

In a story published March 9, 2009 (“Gore might sell land for marina, after all”) by The Facts, Nathaniel Lukefahr reports that Wright Gore, III has begun negotiating with the various parties involved in the ownership of his family’s business, Western Seafood Co., to reorganize the business and the property on which it operates so that the property can be sold to the Freeport Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) for the marina project it began over 6 years ago.

Gore characterized his efforts to work with the members of his family and the various individuals owning interest in the business as a show of appreciation to the FEDC board for being honest with the Gore family and dropping the eminent domain suit. “I am doing my best to reciprocate to show that eminent domain isn’t necessary,” Gore said.

The Western Seafood property had been the object of six-year legal battle between the FEDC and the Gore family. Lukefahr’s article mentions the most recent resolution: “Last month, the corporation paid the family $494,000 to offset legal fees incurred from the eminent domain battles.”

Despite the time and the resources expended fighting the FEDC, the Gore family appears willing to work with the FEDC to complete the project. This demonstrates that opportunities do exist for alternative methods to classic eminent domain property siezure. Perhaps had the story played out differently and the FEDC consulted with the Gore family prior to resolving to use eminent domain for their property, the project would have reached completion on schedule and within budget. As Lukefahr quoted Freeport Economic Development Corp. board President Dan Tarver as saying “It would have saved us all a bunch of money in legal fees and suit settlements, and here we find out the land’s being made available. It just goes to show you that you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”

The family’s struggle to defend it’s land and business has been memorialized in Carla T. Main‘s book Bulldozed: ‘Kelo,’ Eminent Domain and the American Lust for Land. Ms. Main and her publisher are currently the defendants in a defamation suit filed by H. Walker Royall, the Freeport-based developer of the FEDC marina project. The Institute for Justice represents Main and her publisher in the ongoing defamation suit. Bulldozed is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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