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Eminent Domain and Real Estate Valuation Blog

Condemnation and Real Estate Litigation

Cong. Committee Considers Bill Limiting Eminent Domain For Power-Line Projects

Posted in Eminent Domain

Members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation have introduced legislation aimed to give more leverage to states faced with new interstate power-line projects. Sen. John Boozman and Rep. Steve Womack have submitted matching versions of the Assuring Private Property Rights Over Vast Access to Land, or APPROVAL, Act, which would rewrite Section 1222 of the 2005 Energy Policy Act in the House and Senate. They recently testified before a house subcommittee in support of their bills

The bill is a response to a proposal by Clean Line Energy Partners of Houston to construct a $2 billion, 700-plus-mile, 3,500 megawatt, high-voltage-direct-current power line from Great Plains wind farms to the Tennessee Valley Authority. The APPROVAL Act would require the Department of Energy to obtain approval from a governor and state public service commission prior to approval of any Section 1222 transmission project and subsequent use of federal eminent domain, as well as the approval of any tribal government for the affected lands.

“States and local communities must know their voices will be heard in the transmission siting process and that a transparent process will be followed,” Boozman said Wednesday to the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans.

Trump Eminent Domain Position Remains Controversial

Posted in Eminent Domain

Donald Trump continues to be attacked by his primary opponents regarding his most prior use of eminent domain. For example, Marco Rubio criticized Trump’s position and then touted legislation he supported to limit the use of eminent domain when he was a Florida state legislator.

In one interview with Fox News, Trump said, “Eminent domain — when it comes to jobs, roads, the public good — I think it’s a wonderful thing. I fully understand the conservative approach, but I don’t think it was explained to most conservatives.”

Most recently, Trump had the following exchange with Chris Wallace:

WALLACE: You say that eminent domain is wonderful, and you —

TRUMP: I didn’t say wonderful, I say eminent domain is something you need Chris. Eminent domain – if I build a highway – go ahead. I know exactly what you’re saying. But if I build a highway, and if something’s in the way of the highway, you’re going to have to do something with that.

WALLACE: I understand that. And that’s the idea of using – taking private property for a public use. But –

TRUMP: And by the way, people get paid for it. Everyone thinks they don’t get paid. They get paid a lot of money.

WALLACE: Do you support taking private property for private use?

TRUMP: If somebody has a property in the middle of a 7,000 job factory, as an example, that’s going to move into the town – but they need this one corner of this property, and it’s going to provide 7,000 jobs in a community that’s dying, of which we have many in this country, OK? I am for that. That’s a big economic development. But remember this: all of these people that we’re talking about, they’re friends of mine. They all love the Keystone Pipeline, right? The Keystone Pipeline is all eminent domain. They’re building that pipeline without eminent domain, you wouldn’t be able to build.

WALLACE: But let me ask you since you were involved in a case like this, as you know, in the 90s —

TRUMP: That’s true. That was an economic development.

WALLACE: — in Atlantic City.

TRUMP: Sure.

WALLACE: You had your hotel, and you wanted to build a parking lot where some woman had her house —

TRUMP: She saved me a fortune.

WALLACE: But I guess the question is why do you need to take her house, for a parking lot?

TRUMP: I tell you what. Because I have a hotel, and in order to expand the hotel and add 2,000 rooms, I would have had to take her thing. Now, the 2,000 rooms would have provided about 2,500 jobs, Ultimately offered a lot of money, she didn’t take it, I didn’t build the job. I didn’t do it. Saved me a lot of money because Atlantic City, you know, I had the good sense to leave 7 years ago. I got very lucky. Yeah, I think that would have been a good eminent domain because you would have provided thousands of jobs. And this is a woman who couldn’t have cared less about her house. All she wanted was money.




D.C. Uses Eminent Domain For New Stadium

Posted in Eminent Domain

Washington, D.C. has initiated eminent domain proceedings to acquire property for its new soccer stadium. D.C. United’s new stadium will be located at an industrial site about a mile away from Nationals Park. The team will spend $150 million to build the stadium itself. The Major League Soccer team currently plays at RFK Stadium.

Eminent Domain Possible For New St. Louis Stadium

Posted in Eminent Domain

The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority voted 9-0 Wednesday to use the power of eminent domain if necessary to assemble land for a new stadium. The authority oversaw construction of the domed stadium downtown two decades ago and is doing the same in early planning for a new open-air stadium. The 88-acre site north of downtown consists of 103 parcels. A representative said they would seek condemnation only if a landowner refused to negotiate or to clarify land-title issues, such as liens on property.

Attacks On Trump For Eminent Domain Use Continue

Posted in Eminent Domain

Opponents of Donald Trump are using his eminent domain background to attack Trump. As NPR recently reported “Republicans eager to blunt Donald Trump’s front-runner status in the GOP presidential primary think they’ve found the issue that will finally sink the billionaire’s White House hopes: eminent domain.”

A recent ad by the Club for Growth proclaims “Trump supports eminent domain abuse. He can make millions, while we lose our property rights.” This ad is being aired in Iowa. According to the ad, Trump responded to the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Kelo, by saying, “I happen to agree with it 100 percent.”

Trump is also being criticized again for a case in which a woman’s home was taken in Atlantic City for a project involving one of his casinos. “This guy’s a bully,” says David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, a prominent anti eminent domain group. “Using the power of government to take a widow’s property is pretty much the definition of a bully.”

Appraisal Foundation Addresses Feud With Appraisal Institute

Posted in Appraisers

There has been an ongoing feud between perhaps the 2 most important appraisal organizations – the Appraisal Institute and the Appraisal Foundation.  The Institute has been publicly critical of the Foundation and resigned from the Foundation about 5 years ago.  Now, the Foundation has responded very forcefully.

In an open letter to valuation professionals, the Foundation stated that “[r]ecent communications by the Appraisal Institute (the Institute) are calculated attempts to fracture the whole.  This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Appraisal Institute’s decision to resign from The Appraisal Foundation, rather than face a suspension for violating the Foundation’s Code of Conduct for Sponsoring Organizations.  Instead of coming together with their peers, working collaboratively, and respecting the opinions of others to further a common purpose, leaders of the Appraisal Institute aim to splinter the profession.  This divide and conquer approach is short-sighted, damages the profession, and must stop.”

The Foundation then told its side of the story regarding efforts “to repair the relationship and solidify what has been collaboratively built over the last 28 years.”  This included what it described as “Offering Olive Branches” including “three face-to-face meetings between the leadership of the Appraisal Institute and The Appraisal Foundation, none of which were initiated by the Institute.”  The Foundation also accused the Institute of creating “a false narrative” and was critical of the Institute’s new “Standards of Valuation Practice.”

In conclusion the Foundation stated, “[t]he rift between The Appraisal Foundation, the Congressionally-authorized source of valuation standards and qualifications, and the Appraisal Institute, one of the nation’s largest appraiser trade associations, is a detriment to the profession and needs to be resolved.”  Regardless of fault, that last statement is undeniably true and this “rift” needs to be resolved.



Rand Paul Attacks Trump Eminent Domain Use

Posted in Eminent Domain

Kentucky Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul has added eminent domain as an area to attack Donald Trump. For example, Paul raised this issue at an appearance in Idaho and a call with Alaska reporters. Paul called Trump a “fake conservative” citing, in part Trump’s eminent domain action against Vera Coking, a retired homeowner in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1993, Trump expanded his property holdings, and he bought several lots adjacent to his property in order to build a parking lot for limousines. Coking, who had lived in her home for about 35 years, refused to sell. Trump and the city of Atlantic City condemned her house using the power of eminent domain.

“I don’t believe that most Idahoans support eminent domain,” Paul said. In his call with the Alaska reporters, Paul said, “Donald Trump’s been a big fan of [eminent domain]. He used it in his business model and has really shown no consideration for small private property owners.

Appraisal Institute Adopts Valuers Code of Professional Ethics

Posted in Appraisers

The Appraisal Institute Board of Directors at its July 30-31 meeting in Dallas adopted the proposed Valuers Code of Professional Ethics as a model code and approved making the VCPE available for use by non-AI professionals as a companion document to the Appraisal Institute Standards of Valuation Practice. The Institute describes the VCPE as containing “high quality, straightforward, principles-based and strict canons and rules of ethical conduct that valuers can follow when national or international ethical codes do not apply or are not required.”  AI explained, “To develop the proposed VCPE, the Professional Standards and Guidance Committee (PSGC) started with the Appraisal Institute Code of Professional Ethics (CPE), removed obligations and terminology unique to Appraisal Institute professionals (e.g., cooperating with an Appraisal Institute peer review committee) and adjusted remaining language to ensure universality.”

Trump Criticized Over Eminent Domain Use

Posted in Eminent Domain

There have been a number of articles written recently regarding presidential candidate Donald Trump’s use of eminent domain to acquire properties.  For example, the Boston Globe published an article on 8/25 titled “Donald Trump is no champion of the little guy.” This article referenced Trump’s use of eminent domain to acquire property in Atlantic City.  Similar articles have appeared in other newspapers and websites such as the Huffington Post.

Homeowner V. Appraiser Value Opinions Widens

Posted in Appraisers

The gap between homeowner and appraiser opinions of home values has nearly doubled since May, according to mortgage lender Quicken Loans. Quicken Loans publishes a “Home Price Perception Index” which it states represents the difference between appraisers’ and homeowners’ opinions of home values. The index compares the estimate that the homeowner supplies on the mortgage application to the appraisal that is performed later in the mortgage process. “Many homeowners around the country are seeing the national headlines about home value increases and they are optimistic about their equity increasing,” said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters. “While some areas are seeing the same level of home appreciation, or even more, there are also some areas that have slower home value increases. This can lead to homeowners and appraisers not quite seeing eye-to-eye.”