December 23, 2015

Fox News draws attention to PLF case in Palo Alto

By Larry G. Salzman Senior Attorney

Fox News featured a live report today from the Buena Vista Mobilehome Park in Palo Alto, Calif., drawing attention to PLF’s ongoing major property rights case against that city.

Last month the Jisser family, owners of the park, joined with PLF to file a federal constitutional challenge to a Palo Alto ordinance that requires the Jissers to pay millions of dollars to their tenants before being given permission to close the mobilehome park they’ve operated for the past 30 years. The money is called “relocation assistance,” but includes extraordinary sums–approximately $8 million dollars–including for the purchase of all mobilehomes in the park at inflated prices and the payment of future rent subsidies for tenants. The ordinance imposes an unconstitutional choice on the Jissers: pay the tremendous sum demanded or be forced to forever run a business they simply want to close.

The Fox News video report (posted online, along with a related story) calls the lawsuit “the kind of property rights case that could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

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Jisser v. City of Palo Alto, California

The Jisser family owns the last mobile home park in super-expensive Palo Alto, California. They wanted to retire, leave the business entirely and close down the park, but the city demanded that the Jissers pay $8 million to the tenants to obtain the required permit. Representing the Jissers, PLF sued on the ground that the city’s demand was nothing more than extortion prohibited by the Fifth Amendment. A federal district court judge dismissed the case because he erroneously believed that the Jissers had to pursue state court remedies first. While the appeal was pending, the city agreed to give up the fight and purchase the mobile home park itself. The appeal is stayed pending resolution of the settlement.

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