Topic: Clarksville Property Rights Coalition
CPRC, Institute for Justice: Thin-skinned politician and developers filed lawsuit to stifle debate over eminent domain
That is the message members of the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition, grassroots group formed to fight the abuse of eminent domain in their community, delivered at 8 a.m. today through their attorneys from the Institute for Justice. A hearing on the coalition’s motion to dismiss the case will be held at the Circuit Court for the 18th Judicial District, 105 Public Square, Sumner County Courthouse in Gallatin, Tenn., in the second-floor courtroom before the Honorable C.L. “Buck” Rogers. «Read the rest of this article»
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Center for Policy Research today announced that Clarksville City Councilman Richard Swift and Wayne Wilkinson, a member of Clarksville’s Downtown District Partnership, are the recipients of the “2008 Lump of Coal Award.”
The Tennessee Center for Policy Research awards this dubious distinction annually to the person or group in Tennessee who, more than any other over the past year, acted as a Grinch to Tennesseans by bah-humbugging the principles of liberty and limited government.
Swift and Wilkinson receive the fourth annual badge of disgrace for leading efforts to take the homes and businesses of Clarksville residents through eminent domain for a private redevelopment scheme that would line their own pockets.
When a group of citizens criticized Swift and Wilkinson for their attack against private property and their conflicts of interest, the shameless duo assaulted the Clarksville residents’ First Amendment rights by filing a frivolous lawsuit attempting to silence the criticism. «Read the rest of this article»
“Sued for a half million dollars for speaking out…”
“This ordinance is detrimental to the community…”
“The City Council ‘rubber stamped’ the mayor…”
“I don’t think they have a plan…”
“Our Leadership doesn’t want to listen to us….”
“CHA is a shadow, not a voice…”
“Preying on minority communities…”
“I’ve never been to a public forum where the public couldn’t speak…”
This is what representatives from the United States Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Institute for Justice heard when they came to Clarksville Thursday to listen to community concerns about the about the city’s controversial redevelopment plans. Seventy people participated in a fact-finding meeting at the New Providence Community Center on Oak Street sponsored by the NAACP and the Urban Resource Center.
Walter Atkinson, Senior Conciliation Specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service (Southeast Region IV), in stating that the meeting was “to hear community concerns,” said his role was in part to try and avert “litigation.”
“I am here to listen and observe,” Atkinson said, noting that it was letters from NAACP Chapter President Jimmie Garland and Terry McMoore of the Urban Resource Center that focused federal attention on this local issue. Atkinson had been “in communication” with Mayor Johnny Piper and with the Downtown District Partnership Board. Piper, DDP members and most sitting City Councilors did not attend this meeting. Jim Doyle, who was not re-elected to his Ward 8 seat, along with newly elected councilors Candy Johnson, David Allen and Jeff Burkhart did attend the meeting and spoke with the Ward 6 constituency. «Read the rest of this article»
The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will host a fact finding meeting tonight on the controversial downtown redevelopment plan, dubbed “the blight bill,” including its eminent domain and assemblage issues. The meeting will be held at the New Providence Outreach Center, 207 Oak Street, in Clarksville at 7:00 p.m.
The redevelopment plan was first brought to the attention of federal officials this summer, when local NAACP President Jimmie Garland submitted some concerns to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The plan as it was passed contained language that effectively “blighted” the entire downtown business district — two square miles. «Read the rest of this article»
Mayor Johnny Piper and the Downtown District Partnership will be going it alone when it comes to downtown development.
Montgomery County mayor Carolyn Bowers, in letters sent to Piper and DDP chair Scott Giles, said the county will not participate in the controversial Clarksville Center Redevelopment Plan, which had been dubbed “the blight bill.” The proposed plan which was approved by the City Council earlier this year had been strongly opposed by the Clarksville Property Owners Coalition, a grassroots group that has challenged the legality of the program and process of eminent domain and an assemblage clause. The redevelopment plan would offer tax increment financing for certain property developments. «Read the rest of this article»
Ford keeps her building and gets more land; conflict settled through private negotiation, not government force
Arlington, Va.— Eminent domain will not be used against Nashville music entrepreneur Joy Ford in a hotly contested battle about the abuse of government for a developer’s private gain. In an agreement signed Tuesday night, September 30, Ford, who has fought eminent domain since June of this year, keeps both her building and obtains more land adjacent to her building along Nashville’s storied Music Row while agreeing to give up land behind her office.
“This agreement is a magnificent victory for Joy Ford and all Tennessee home and small business owners,” said Scott Bullock, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represented Ford and fights eminent domain abuse nationwide. “By challenging eminent domain abuse, Joy Ford obtained a landmark agreement where she keeps her building and gets more and better land next to it.” «Read the rest of this article»
African American leaders to meet with Montgomery County Mayor, Redevelopment Plan Review Committee Members
A group of concerned leaders from the African American community in Clarksville will meet with Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers and County Commissioners on September 3 at the Old Courthouse Building, 1 Millennium Plaza (2nd & Commerce), in downtown Clarksville, at 4:00 p.m. Commissioners Mark Banasiak, Ron Sokol and Martha Brockman, the ad hoc subcommittee members reviewing the controversial Clarksville Center Redevelopment and Urban Renewal Plan, will participate in the meeting.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in response to a complaint filed by the Clarksville NAACP found numerous flaws in the Clarksville Center Redevelopment and Urban Renewal Plan voted into law by the City Council with full support of City of Clarksville Mayor Johnny Piper. «Read the rest of this article»
UPDATE: This morning [Thursday, August 28, 2008], the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) removed its motion for judgment on the pleadings from the court’s calendar in Joy Ford’s fight to save her Nashville music business from eminent domain abuse. As a result, the hearing originally scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m. before Judge Barbara Haynes will not take place. In its letter, MDHA notified the court that it will re-set the motion at a later date.The original story follows:
On Friday, August 29, at 9 a.m., Joy Ford will appear in Nashville court for the first time, along with her lawyers from the Institute for Justice, to fight to save her small country music recording and publishing business from an illegal and unconstitutional eminent domain action.
The Institute for Justice is also representing the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition in defending a libel action in Montgomery County courts that is rooted in this city’s redevelopment plan and its potential for the use of eminent domain via an “assemblage” clause in that controversial redevelopment ordinance. «Read the rest of this article»
With Judge Ross Hicks having recused himself from a libel lawsuit related to redevelopment issues in Clarksville, pending, the August 4th hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court on this controversial suit is on hold, awaiting assignment to another judge. Judge Hicks’ recusal, which can be based on a conflict of interest, follows on the heels of a reversal of the previsous dismissal of this case.
Two weeks ago in the Montgomery County Circuit Court, Judge Hicks dismissed a libel suit filed against the grassroots Clarksville Property Rights Coalition regarding downtown redevelopment, but on July 29 the Court notified the Institute for Justice of Virginia, CPRC’s legal representatives, that the signing of the order was “a mistake,” that oral arguments and discovery in this case would be heard August 4. Judge Hicks recusal canceled scheduled hearings in that matter and the lawsuit is, for now both resurrected and in limbo. «Read the rest of this article»
With the CPRC vindicated just last week, Montgomery Court now says it made “a mistake.” The libel suit against the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition has been resurrected, with motions, discovery on August 4.
Last week the Montgomery County Circuit Court dismissed a libel suit filed against the grassroots Clarksville Property Rights Coalition regarding downtown redevelopment, but late today the Court notified the Institute for Justice of Virginia, CPRC’s legal representatives, that the signing of the order was “a mistake,” that oral arguments and discovery in this case will in fact be heard on Monday, August 4.
The Institute for Justice has just been informed by the clerk’s office of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, that a mistake in that office led to the accidental signing of an order granting IJ’s motion to dismiss a libel lawsuit brought against members of the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition (CPRC). As a result, that order will be rescinded and Judge Ross Hicks will hear oral argument on IJ’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Monday, August 11. The court will also conduct a discovery hearing on Monday, August 4.
The case, borne of a highly controversial ordinance passed by the Clarksville City Council in November, 2007, that “blighted” some two square miles of downtown Clarksville, culminated in a libel suit over a newspaper ad taking some city officials to task for their actions in supporting the ordinance that potentially opened the door for taking of properties by eminent domain and for private development. «Read the rest of this article»
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