While eminent domain is supposed to be for a public purpose, New Jersey says they want the house and will decide on the purpose later.
CNN Politics published a valuable editorial this week, “This man won’t let New Jersey take his home.”
Senior digital correspondent Chris Moody writes,
Since 2012, his property has been the target of a state agency that aims to use eminent domain to demolish his three-story property to build a yet-to-be-announced tourism village the state says will revitalize the economically struggling area.
The state has put up $238,500 for the property, but Birnbaum refuses to give it up until a court orders him out. And has been fighting for three years to keep it.
While New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) has a general plan for the neighborhood’s revitalization, it has not stated specifically how Birnbaum’s property will be used, a fact on which Birnbaum has made his stand.
“For three years I’ve been asking, if you’re going to take these memories from me, what are you going to put here? And the answer I got is, ‘We don’t know yet,’” Birnbaum told CNN. “That’s not good enough for me.”
This would mean that either they really have no serious business proposal for how the land is to be used, or else they don’t want anyone to know about their plan. The first option would mean that this is all even a more speculative affair than one would expect.
New Jersey has been a place with some truly odious judicial rulings about the powers of the government to take property. But to simply take a property and then look for a buyer or developer truly takes the cynicism to a new level and exposes the inherent criminality of the confiscation in a new way.
While not a private residence at this time, it is a property a business man is currently using to house his business. It is also a place of great personal significance to him. “This is the house where I proposed to my wife,” he says in the embedded video.
Of course, Chris Christie is completely in favor of such looting.
Ironically, the current round of land grabbing is an alleged attempt to re-start a failed casino that was built on land taken by eminent domain. The justification then was that the casino would revitalize Atlantic City.
These people are doubling down on crime, insisting that it will pay some day.
(hat tip: Rare.us)