Topic: Institute for Justice
The Tennessee Urban Resource Center held a press conference to announce that legal teams that will be involved in helping to insure that the residents of the Lincoln Homes Public Housing Projects gets a fair shake when it comes to the implementation of the City of Clarksville’s Smart Growth 2030 Master Plan which calls for the demolition of the Lincoln Homes Public Housing Projects, and the relocation of its current residents.
Many residents fear that their homes will be taken away from them under this plan and that they will then be placed in housing units that are not going to be affordable to low income people.
Dallas, Texas—The author and publisher of Bulldozed: “Kelo,” Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land today asked a Dallas state court to dismiss the defamation lawsuit filed against them by Dallas developer H. Walker Royall. Published in 2007, Bulldozed chronicles events in Freeport, Texas, where Royall signed a development agreement to have the city take land owned by Western Seafood—a generations-old shrimping business—and give that land to Royall’s development company for a luxury yacht marina. Royall sued the book’s author, Carla Main, and its publisher, Encounter Books, in October 2008, seeking monetary damages and a permanent prohibition on further printing or distribution of the book.
Royall’s lawsuit is part of a national trend. Similar suits have been filed in Tennessee, Missouri, Washington and elsewhere by developers and government officials looking to silence critics of eminent domain for private gain. Earlier, when the Gore family—owners of Western Seafood and the original victims of Royall’s eminent domain abuse effort in Freeport—complained against Royall’s actions, he sued them for defamation. In the present lawsuit, Royall has also sued the Galveston newspaper that reviewed the book, along with the book reviewer. Law Professor Richard Epstein, whom Royall also sued, was dismissed from the lawsuit in March. «Read the rest of this article»
Court dismisses lawsuit filed to silence those who oppose eminent domain abuse
ARLINGTON, VA: Evidently you can fight city hall—and fight private developers who use city hall’s power, too.
In an order issued on March 26, 2009, Judge C.L. “Buck” Rogers of the Circuit Court for Sumner County, Tenn., vindicated the right to protest government abuse by dismissing the libel lawsuit brought by Richard Swift, a developer who is a former member of the Clarksville City Council, and Wayne Wilkinson, a member of Clarksville’s Downtown District Partnership, against members of the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition (CPRC). «Read the rest of this article»
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»
“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»
The U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will host a fact finding meeting on November 20 at 7 p.m. at the New Providence Outreach Center, 207 Oak Street, in Clarksville. This is a precursor to a larger public forum on downtown redevelopment issues.
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.
William Dirl, field office director of the Nashville HUD office, expressed concerns in a letter to Clarksville Mayor Johnny Piper that the redevelopment plan did not emphasize providing housing rehabilitation to existing residents.
Elected officials, community leaders and civic organizations have been invited to attend. The meeting is also open to interested members of the public. «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»
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»
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