Monday, May 07, 2007

WCPN: Flats Eminent Domain Case to Begin Trial Today

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Flats Eminent Domain Case to Begin Trial Today

Aired May 7, 2007

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's bid to obtain a portion of Cleveland's East Flats under eminent domain is scheduled for trial today. ideastream's economics reporter Tasha Flournoy has more.

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The land seizure would clear the way for developer Scott Wolstein's proposed $230 million riverfront neighborhood in the East Flats. Wolstein has already razed buildings on properties he controls, but has been unable to reach an agreement with several other property owners to purchase their land. So the Port Authority is suing to force the owners under eminent domain to sell the land at a price below what owners are asking. Port Authority attorney Steven Kaufman says the development serves a public purpose, therefore eminent domain applies.

Steven Kaufman: This case involves a multitude of other public purposes, ranging from housing to transportation to all of the parks and green space, public space aspects of the project.

Cuyahoga County Probate Judge John E. Corrigan will hear arguments in the trial. If the judge decides the port has the right to take the properties, a jury trial would then decide fair prices. The trial is expected to last at least two weeks. Tasha Flournoy, 90.3.