Attempted Land Grab Ends With Voters Booting Entire City Council

Post image for Attempted Land Grab Ends With Voters Booting Entire City CouncilReason – by J.D. Tuccille

Government officials like to use eminent domain for the convenience of their preferred policies and/or the enrichment of themselves and their buddies. Usually, they get away with it, because the folks on the receiving end are too few and powerless to hold their tormentors to account. In Hackensack, New Jersey, however, the officials who targeted Michael Monaghan’s property for seizure as part of an “area in need of redevelopment,”  even while denying him the right to develop it himself, pushed too many people around, too often. Last month, voters booted out the entire city council.  

From the Institute for Justice:

Michael Monaghan has wanted to develop his property on Main Street in Hackensack, New Jersey, just a few miles away from Manhattan.  Yet the city twice denied two applications for banks to build on his land. 

Instead, Hackensack’s Planning Board designated Michael’s and another owner’s land as an “area in need of redevelopment,” authorizing the use of eminent domain to condemn and seize the properties.  “I’ve stood up and tried to protect my property for the last eight years,” he said in an interview with a local paper.

Adding insult to injury, this designation was completely unwarranted.  According to Michael’s attorney, Peter Dickson, the board “did not make the Constitutional finding of blighted, and did not have any evidence that would support such a finding.”

Last month, the Appellate Division of the state Superior Court agreed, ruling the Planning Board didn’t properly prove that those properties were blighted and “in need of redevelopment.”   The city council intended to appeal the appellate court’s decision. 

But fortunately for property owners, Hackensack’s entire city council was booted out of office.  The grassroots group Citizens for Change won every single seat on the city council, despite being outraised 2:1.  Their slate of candidates successfully ran on a platform against costly litigation, nepotism, and corruption.  (For example, Hackensack’s police chief was recently convicted for official misconduct and insurance fraud.)  Citizens for Change also sharply criticized Hackensack’s redevelopment projects, calling them “sweetheart deals and special privileges for politically connected property owners and developers.”

A happy outcome like this is no surefire guarantee that eminent domain won’t be abused in the future. But it is a sign that, even in New Jersey, government officials have to keep the bullying below the public’s pain threshold.

10 thoughts on “Attempted Land Grab Ends With Voters Booting Entire City Council

  1. Awesome! Now its time to seize the property of all the former council under eminent domain and ride them out of town on a rail (tarred and feathered optional).

  2. Isn’t hacky-sack that little leather ball one can only kick with his feet, good example of giving corruption in Govt the boot! Fight on for Freedom & Justice

  3. Now that they have access to the minutes of the meetings, find all of the other improper eminent domain claims, prove that they are unlawful, and put the newly powerless politicians up for RICO racketeering charges. Counterattack!

      1. Exactly. Make an example of them. Don’t stop til they’re stripped of all assets (the ultimate way to hurt people like that) and in a cell.

  4. See what happens when jews have political power……. They never consider “is it good for the citizen”. It’s always ” is it good for jews”. This may be too much truth for the moderator.

    1. Au contraire, No Kwan.

      You’ve barely scratched the surface with that one on this site.

      New to FTT?

  5. I thought JD would check in on this one, being it’s from Jersey. Also, the author’s name is J.D.(Tuccille).Thought that was an interesting coincidence.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *