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  • Eminent Domain Stunt?

    Posted by demimasque on June 28th, 2005 (All posts by )

    Recently, a report has been circulating all over the blogosphere that Justice David H. Souter, one of the Justices that voted in the majority in Kelo vs. New London, may soon fall victim to the ruling. The press release from Freestar Media seems tongue-in-cheek:

    Press Release

    For Release Monday, June 27 to New Hampshire media
    For Release Tuesday, June 28 to all other media

    Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter’s land.

    Justice Souter’s vote in the “Kelo vs. City of New London” decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

    On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter’s home.

    Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

    The proposed development, called “The Lost Liberty Hotel” will feature the “Just Desserts Café” and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon’s Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

    Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

    “This is not a prank” said Clements, “The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development.”

    Clements’ plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise investment capital for the project. Clements hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice and participants in the Free State Project among others.

    # # #

    Logan Darrow Clements
    Freestar Media, LLC

    Phone 310-593-4843
    logan@freestarmedia.com
    http://www.freestarmedia.com

    The fax request to Chip Meany reads as follows:

    day, June 27, 2005

    Mr. Chip Meany
    Code Enforcement Officer
    Town of Weare, New Hampshire
    Fax 603-529-4554

    Dear Mr. Meany,

    I am proposing to build a hotel at 34 Cilley Hill Road in the Town of Weare. I would like to know the process your town has for allowing such a development.

    hough this property is owned by an individual, David H. Souter, a recent Supreme Court decision, “Kelo vs. City of New London” clears the way for this land to be taken by the Government of Weare through eminent domain and given to my LLC for the purposes of building a hotel. The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare.

    I understand it your town has five people serving on the Board of Selectmen. Therefore, since it will require only three people to vote in favor of the use of eminent domain I am quite confident that this hotel development is a viable project. I am currently seeking investors and hotel plans from an architect. Please let me know the proper steps to follow to proceed in accordance with the law in your town.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Logan Darrow Clements
    Freestar Media, LLC

    Something seems out of sorts here, so I decided to investigate a little bit. First of all, what is Justice Souter’s relationship to the Town of Weare?

    DAVID HACKETT SOUTER was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, September 17, 1939, the only child of Joseph A. Souter and Helen Hackett Souter. Although he lived with his parents in Massachusetts, Souter spent much of his youth, including most summers, at his maternal grandparents’ farmhouse in Weare, a small New Hampshire town twenty miles southwest of Concord, the state capital.

    After his grandparents had passed away, Souter, age eleven, and his family moved to the farmhouse. His father was a banker with the New Hampshire Savings Bank in Concord. He died in 1976, but Souter’s mother still lives near the family farmhouse in a retirement community.

    Souter has called Weare, which borders Hopkinton Lake, “a town large in geography [and] small in population,” where everybody “knew everybody else’s business or at least thought they did. And we were, in a very true sense, intimately aware of other lives. We were aware of lives that were easy and lives that were very hard.” It is, indeed, a typical small town in rural New England, still governed by a town meeting. Souter learned many “lessons in practical government” by sitting in the back bench of the Weare Town Hall and watching the town meetings.

    A quick Google map of the given address shows, indeed, that such an address exists. Moreover, once you zoom out a bit on the map, you’ll see that it is indeed not far from Hopkinton Lake.

    Returning to the press release, I was intrigued by this Logan Darrow Clements character. Who is he? A Google search revealed that he was a candidate for California Governor in the 2003 recall race which catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger to the forefront of state politics. A report by Hank Willow for Hollywood Investigator describes Clements as “a self-described Objectivist and admirer of philosopher Ayn Rand”, whose Atlas Shrugged figures not only on his campaign site, but as part of his request to Chip Meany.

    Who is Chip Meany? A reference to him was made in meeting minutes of the Weare Board of Selectmen on 21 June 2004. He is also the current Building Inspector of the Town of Weare’s Building Department. The information given by Freestar Media as Mr. Meany’s fax number is, indeed, correct.

    All of this, so far, is publicly available information. Given all this, as well as the fact that the instigator is located in California, across the continent from New Hampshire, I would conclude that the press release is probably a publicity stunt by Logan Darrow Clements, designed to bring attention to what many feel is an egregious ruling on the part of Justice Souter in Kelo vs. New London.

    [Cross-posted at Between Worlds]

     

    20 Responses to “Eminent Domain Stunt?”

    1. Richard Heddleson Says:

      Since it’s someone from Caliphornia, I’d conclude he’s a big time real estate developer. Souter may be out one house once the selectmen speak with the developer who can probably be persuasive in the way developers usually are. At least there seem to be lots of people who want to help them be persuasive.

    2. Sandy P Says:

      I’ll throw in some money, it’d be worth it.

      1 down, 4 to go. Then on to Malibu, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Hyannisport, and give me time.

    3. GUYK Says:

      Yeah, what the hell. If he’s selling shares in the project I’d be glad to be a stockholder.

    4. Steve Says:

      Justice never felt so good! If this is real, not just a public point-making exercise, I’ll check my family into the hotel for a full week.

      Weare, here we come!
      -Steve

    5. Chapomatic Says:

      Okay, This Is Teh Funny

      Update: Unlike me, one of the Chicago Boyz has something to add to the story.

      Via Drudge, the joke we made last week has come true, as someone’s trying to use eminent domain to yank Justice Souter’s house in New Hampshire:
      On Monday June 27, Logan …

    6. Steven G. Erickson Says:

      I blogged this story on FreeSpeech.com

      Well, I think Supreme Court Justices SHOULD have the law applied to them.

      Fat, Lazy, and Stupid aka the Average American may have just woke up and then kick some ass.

    7. Alan Anderson Says:

      I’ll invest a few pence. Maybe put co-op apartments above the commerical area. Then we could meet consider allowing Souter to live in the old homestead.

    8. Sam_S (ShenzhenRen) Says:

      Of COURSE it’s a stunt, Demi. A damn good one, too. What would be truly hilarious, of course, is if the town follows through on it. “Lost Liberty Hotel”, indeed!

    9. Kevin Says:

      Stunt or no, this is a wonderful idea. “Just Desserts” indeed. It is the private property version of “definition of a conservative: a liberal who got mugged”

    10. Pseudo-Polymath Says:

      Morning Links 6/29

      Morning link roundup.

    11. Sandy P Says:

      If you’ve haven’t seen Instapundit, you can buy Thomas’ or Sandra’s Kelo quotes on a shirt.

      What fitting 7/4 wear.

    12. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Yes, its satire, and a good one at that, It still brings a smile to my face. Byut why pick on Souter, why not Stevens, or is now living at the old folks home.

    13. Gus Van Horn Says:

      Further evidence for your stunt hypothesis comes from the horse’s mouth.

      Not only did he run for Governor of California, you can go to the the second hyperlink in the PS of this post to find a link to a letter by Clements himself in which he as much as admits that his run for California governor was a publicity stunt to promote the ideas of Ayn Rand.

      That was a stunt. This is a stunt.

      Gus

    14. LotharBot Says:

      another post on the topic

    15. dick Says:

      As someone who used to live in Weare, NH I think this is a great stunt. Maybe it will make the point to Souter that he made a mistake.

      BTW the reason he probably picked Weare to do this is that Weare is a small town of about 5000 people with a total town staff of about 10-15 people. The rest of the staff is volunteer. The other reason is that all decisions are made at town meetings and if someone in that conservative town got the word out about the results of what the local boy did, the town just might take action.

      Weare is actually located just west of Manchester and Concord and is right on the path from southern NH to Lake Sunapee vacation center and the Vermont vacation areas as well as also right on the road that goes right up to where Dartmouth is located. Lovely old town, almost all country. Souter’s property is an old farm with a very old farmhouse in not too good shape. Someone might just make a good B&B from it.

    16. Rico Says:

      This is absolutely fantastic. Cheers to Mr. Clements and his associates for thinking this up! I’m sure Souter thought that it wouldn’t hurt anyone to bulldoze trashy apartments in New London, CT, but — and this is inexcusable for a Supreme Court Justice — this law sets a horrendous precedent, giving the government truly tyrannical powers! The little guy doesn’t stand a chance: almost anybody’s home would bring more tax revenue and economic development if converted into commerical property! Souter needs to be taught a lesson.

    17. JeffDurbin Says:

      I gave the idea to Doug (Logan Darrow Clements’ real name) over the weekend and he has ridden with it. To some extent, it is a stunt to draw attention to his real business which is trying to get an Objectivist TV show on the air.

      BUT, having said that, we should not underestimate his effort. Doug has never had this much success before on any of his ideas and now that he has something that’s taking off I could see him sticking it out. BUT, here’s the problem. One of the 5 selectmen in Weare has said that although he relises the point Doug is making he won’t vote to use eminent domain against Souter because he thinks it was a wrong decision. That means Doug needs to battle it out in court and he doesn’t have the resources to do that. I’ve referred him to some people who have the skills to assist him and we will see what happens.

      The real goal is not to get Souter’s home but to get the Kelo decision reversed.

    18. JeffDurbin Says:

      One more thing, the reason I suggested Souter is that I knew he lived in NH, a bastion of free marketers who might be inclined to help us make the point. Stevens or Kennedy would have been my first choices but I don’t know where they live.

    19. Anonymous Says:

      As someone who is fighting to keep their property due to this very problem, I say MORE POWER to you to teach these people a lesson. Dont just stop at one though, make sure you get them all until this assinine decision is reversed!!!!

    20. Barbara J. Houk, M.D. Says:

      In 1910 we were given the income tax. Our then representatives played the rich against the poor to convince the people to approve an admendment for an income tax. But the 16th admendment has no special conditions. It has no limitations. So this is when every man, woman, and child’s income could be taxed. Often I wondered how our representatives have come to think of a tax cut as costing the government. After I revisited the admendments to the USA Constitution and read the 16th, I realized that broadly all of us could come under a 100% income tax.
      We have not had 100% income tax and some citizens have chosen to store thier wealth (life’s savings) as a home to live in. Now comes along the USA SCT and states if that home does not make enough money for a city and someone else can convince the local government they will make more for the city, the city government can Eminent Domain (which then plumets the value on the price of the citizen’s property as evidenced by observation over the past 25years around the country, so there is no ‘fair market value’ and this was the exact reason the developer went to the city government in the first place). Now nearly all the stored wealth of aged citizen is erroded. If s/he fights this in court, all of the wealth is gone. What happened to Liberty?