$165 Million Doesn't Stretch As Far As It Used To

September 20, 2006 | By PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION

by Steven Geoffrey Gieseler

We've written before about the common government practice of using eminent domain to take property for sports complexes.  It's happening again, this time at Oklahoma State University.

An interesting side note is that Oklahoma State's athletic program is the recent recipient of a record $165 million donation intended to fund the very project for which eminent domain is so necessary.  The billionaire donor, T. Boone Pickens, has received much criticism for donating to a sports program instead of to other causes (some of the ill feelings look to be less about the donation and more about Pickens being a Republican and staunch supporter of President Bush).  Whatever the motivation for the criticism, it is absurd, as it's Pickens's money and he should do whatever he wants with it.

That said, it's hard to figure why part of the $165 million in found money can't be used to make an offer sufficient to persuade the owners of the targeted property to sell.  Or, if the owners don't want to sell for any price or any reason, to scout other locations and build elsewhere.