The eminent domain abuse continues, this time in Houston. Glenn Seureau had his property taken from him via having it "condemned" so that the Houston port could build the Houston Cruise Terminal. He initially was given $1.9 million for the property which he didn't accept as a fair value and felt was low. The property has been in his family for 150 years.
Having failed to steal the property in this way for way under it's value, it was taken to court at which time Harris County Civil Court Judge Lynn Bradshaw-Hull decided that since the man wasn't cooperating with the port he should only be given $1 for the 105 acre property. In addition he should be forced to repay the initial $1.9 million at 5.75 percent interest and court costs.
While some may say "well he took the initial money" I understand that point of view, but he shouldn't have been forced into this in the first place. They strong-armed him. At the time of the offer Seureau was planning a housing development on the property.
The conflict began in September 2002, when a special commission held a hearing regarding the Port's request to condemn Seureau's land. Seureau did not attend the hearing, and the commission ordered the Port to pay him approximately $1.9 million for the property.
The Port deposited the funds into the registry of the court, taking constructive possession of the land, but Seureau refused to take the money or relinquish the title to the property.
"I didn't think (the Port) had the right to take the property," he said, adding that the Port's need for the land seems to be based on private rather than public interests.
He was later advised by an attorney that he did not have the right to contest eminent domain and withdrew the $1.9 million to pay for further appeals regarding the market value of his land.
Seureau, who lives in his 180-year-old family home next door to the recently condemned property, said that although he is not familiar with the judge's intentions, he sees Bradshaw-Hull's ruling as a "punishment" for trying to challenge the Port.
"I was forced to settle for less than market value," he said.
Tipped by: Rhymes With Right who is also outraged and notes that the judge is up for re-election under the GOP ticket.
Searchlight Crusade breaks down what the true value of the property should be (and it's not 1 stinking dollar).