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City accused of driving down home prices for eminent domain

From the outside looking in, someone could look at my work that has a strong libertarian lean with personal freedom issues and conclude that I'm an anti-government activist. However, that isn't the case. There are the Ted Cruz-es of the world who like to talk the fiscal conservative talk until tragedies like Hurricane Harvey affect them personally.

I certainly see a major role for government in our lives, but there is a glaring need for reforming our government and reducing spending to more reasonable levels that don't expand our national debt. Hence, so much of my work focuses on exposing fraud, waste, and abuse that is committed by government officials. And that leads to a very disturbing report released by The Institute for Justice. That is a non-profit organization that contests cases from a libertarian advocacy standpoint.

In particular, the Institute for Justice contests many cases involving eminent domain. In this instance, the city counsel and the mayor of Charlestown, IN have been seeking ways to force homeowners out of a low-income neighborhood, Pleasant Ridge. The plan is to bulldoze the area after all of the properties have been acquired by a single developer and set up a high-end neighborhood.

One of the ways of forcing the homeowners out has been via assessing onerous fines on a daily basis for petty code violations. However, not every homeowner has given in and sold their properties to the developer. In turn, various local government officials privately discussed using use eminent domain to take the remaining homes.

Obviously, eminent domain is a controversial topic. In theory, it should be used for developments that benefit the public and the homeowners should be paid a fair market value for their private property. However, in this case, the Institute for Justice uncovered documents proving that city officials privately conspired with the developer to artificially drive down the market prices before the homes were acquired.

The Institute for Justice has a pending civil case against the city on behalf of the homeowners. However, in my personal opinion, this goes far beyond a civil matter and this should be investigated by the DOJ.

This post first appeared on Rackets, please read the originial post: here

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City accused of driving down home prices for eminent domain


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