June 27, 2006

Kelo on Long Island

By Kelo on Long Island

New York Newsday columnist Raymond Keating writes that Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri Jr. is leading an effort to condemn the Swezy's Building and replace it with a hotel, condos, and stores.

Pontieri said he thought a deal had been struck between the current owner of the property, Joel Furman, and Hersha Hospitality. But, according to Pontieri, "Mr. Furman, for whatever reasons, has made some decisions that the deal wasn't what he wanted it to be."

Imagine a property owner making decisions about his own property. How annoying. What's a mayor to do? Take the property through condemnation, of course.

Pontieri declared: "This eminent domain is about the possibility of acquiring that building with purposes of redeveloping it." Ah, Kelo casts its dark shadow.

Regarding Kelo, Pontieri said, "From where I sit, it affords us an opportunity. Do I believe you take property for the sake of somebody else making money? Absolutely not." But, of course, officials in New London wouldn't say they were doing that either. It's always about what politicians call the greater good.

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