Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kelo v. New London: The Last Chapter is an Empty Lot

All Susette Kelo wanted to do was keep her home. (The picture is Susette with her home.) So did five of her neighbors too.

But the City of New London in Connecticut was determined to take them all, tear them down, and give the land to pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for a new research facility and a commercial retail/hotel complex that was going to create lots of property tax revenue and needed jobs to an economically depressed area.

Well, New London won in the U.S. Supreme Court. Right?

No, not so fast.

The site of Susette Kelo's house is now a vacant lot, an ugly empty wasteland.

And now Pfizer (as part of its merger with Wyeth) has permanently cancelled its New London development plans.

The mainstream media is reporting that entire Kelo case has now been rendered moot.

Except that Susette Kelo and her neighbors have lost their homes and an entire vibrant neighborhood has been laid to waste. No jobs have been created. Property tax revenue has fallen. Millions have been spent in lawyer fees by people and entities who could not afford them. But most of all the legal travesty that is KELO v. NEW LONDON is still on the books and influencing eminent domain cases nationwide.

No, the case is now not moot. Kelo should serve as a brilliant illustration of what happens when the government tries to play real estate developer.

Robert J. Abalos, Esq.