The Other Side of Eminent Domain

“Ah, irony,” Scott Bullock, a senior attorney with the group that fought eminent domain in the [Kelo] case.

The linked article is a little disingenuous, in that Pfizer was not a party to the Kelo (the Supreme Court case that gave birth to the phrase “Eminent Domain Abuse”). But it was Pfizer’s relocation to New London, Conn. that was the direct impetus for the City’s acquisition of property in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood that resulted in Kelo. So without Pfizer, there would be no Kelo.

Pfizer has announced that it is closing up shop in Williamsburg (where the company was founded, in 1849), putting over 1,000 people out of work. Assemblyman Vito Lopez is looking to having Pfizer’s extensive holdings on either side of Flushing Avenue acquired by eminent domain, in order to create affordable housing and job incubators. Pfizer, of course, would like to sell their property on the open market. As the first step in that process, the company has supposedly issued an RFP to solicit bids. Pfizer says that affordable housing is a “key priority” in its RFP.

We’ll have more on the merits of Lopez’s bid at a later date, but for now, we’ll enjoy the irony.