New London, Connecticut - Release: 9-16-2005
NLDC Backs Down,
New London Property Owners Safe For Now
But Push for Legislative Reform Continues
WEB RELEASE: September 16, 2005
John Kramer or Lisa Knepper
Washington, D.C.—Bowing to an order by Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, the New London Development Corporation—the organization of un-elected officials who have been abusing the government’s power of eminent domain—has agreed to rescind notices to evict sent to New London, Conn., homeowners.
Earlier this week, the NLDC had broken its word and defied both Governor Rell and the Connecticut legislature by breaking a moratorium it had agreed to abide by that was called for by both the governor and legislature. Three Fort Trumbull residents received eviction notices stating that they must vacate the properties in 30 to 90 days and must start paying rent to the NLDC during that period. NLDC President Michael Joplin claimed that the moratorium on eminent domain applied only to new cases and not to the homes in New London, and that additional eviction notices would be forthcoming.
“We and the homeowners in New London are so appreciative of Governor’s Rell’s order to the NLDC to stop the evictions,” said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Dana Berliner, who is debating the issue of eminent domain today in Hartford at the State Capitol. “By ordering the evictions, the NLDC acted with complete contempt for the property owners, the governor and the state legislature. The NLDC is an un-elected and therefore unaccountable body that has been given the power of eminent domain by the City of New London. The NLDC is the poster child for eminent domain abusers and its power must be reined in at last by New London’s City Council.”
“It is a great day for Fort Trumbull homeowners who were facing eviction from their homes, but the battle is not over,” said Scott Bullock, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, which represents the Fort Trumbull homeowners. “The Connecticut legislature must do what the state and federal courts refused to do: require that eminent domain can only be used for genuine public uses and not for private development, as is happening in New London. Both keeping the seven Fort Trumbull families safe and extending similar protections to homeowners across the state are absolutely vital.”
Michael Cristofaro, one of the homeowners, said, “We’ve always wanted to stay. We still want to stay. We just want the NLDC and the City to leave us alone. We are so grateful to Gov. Rell for coming to our aid.”
“Reform efforts in dozens of others states across the nation are watching what’s going on in Connecticut,” said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice. “There is tremendous public outrage over eminent domain abuse, outrage which only continues to grow. The public is demanding that legislators restore legal protection to property in the wake of the Kelo decision.”