More than once have city officials taken land from homeowners. Not in this case.
Because he had enough money to fight city council.
The council didn’t know what to do with him; normally they take the land and offer a reason.
In this case the issue deals with Eminent Domain – the right of a government to take private property for public use, with payment of compensation.
Of course with compensation. But if you don’t want to sell, the government takes it anyway.
It’s the story about Monty Bennett, a Dallas businessman who owns East Texas Ranch LP.
Dallas City Council met to discuss their current agenda. Item #11 involved an eminent domain case where the city of Dallas was attempting to take the land from a property owner. The council has been asked to settle a case out of court with the land owner.
Ms. Sandy Greyson, District 12 (nonpartisan), is furious that the city cannot simply take this man’s land. She tells Mayor Michael S. Rawlings it isn’t fair to the city that this man has enough money to defend his property in court. She even admits that “ordinary people” who “cannot afford to fight the city of Dallas” end up losing their property, which makes it easier for the city.
She’s dead serious, and continues to say “he’s fought us for years and has cost Dallas tax payers millions of dollars.”
It gets worse, “I’m not blaming anyone that we’re settling this case,” she says “but it’s just infuriating that if you’re rich enough you can hold the city hostage for years and get what you want. There’s something really wrong with that.”
Mr. Bennet is fighting back. He has filed a lawsuit against Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD).
UPDATE From SOTT:
The land was originally purchased by Bennett’s grandparents in 1955. Bennett does not want the pipeline to damage his family land or interfere with the wildlife refuge on it. He attempted to speak directly with the TRWD board, but they refused to see him. In order to protect his land, Bennett has constructed a cemetery on his property. Under Texas Law 711.035 cemeteries are exempt from “taxation, seizure by creditors and eminent domain.”
Bennett has the full support of Henderson County Commissioner Precinct 4 Ken Geeslin who is upset by the project’s burden on his constituents. “First off, I am not in favor of eminent domain,” Geeslin said in an interview with the Athens Review. “The government can come take property that may have been in a family for generations. I just can’t see that being right.”
Video: City Council…
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