Sorry to keep coming back to the Kelo story, but the whole thing continues to get more and more strange. AP is now reporting that the City of New London has voted to sever ties with the New London Development Corporation and to order the NLDC to turn over the affected properties to the City:
New London severs ties with development authority October 18, 2005, 6:37 AM EDT
NEW LONDON, Conn. — The city council has voted to sever ties with the quasi-public development authority at the center of a national debate over eminent domain powers.
The council voted 6-0 Monday night to revoke the designation of the New London Development Corp. as the city's "implementing agency" for its Fort Trumbull development. The agency has guided the $73 million state-funded project since its inception in 1998.
State officials had asked municipalities to hold off on property seizures until the legislature considers changing the state's eminent domain laws.
City officials asked the development authorities' two leaders to resign, but they declined. They did rescind the orders to vacate under pressure from Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
But council members said they could no longer deal with an agency that disregared the city's rights as a development partner and the wishes of the community.
"I don't think you can continue a partnership where there's only one partner saying, 'I'm willing to go back and forth,' and the other's saying, 'I've heard you, but I'm going the other way,"' Councilor Rob Pero said.
The council also voted Monday to demand the agency transfer title to all its real estate in the project area to the city of New London. That includes the former Naval Undersea Warfare Center at Fort Trumbull, which was transferred by the U.S. government to the development authority, not the city.
Tom Blumer has another amazing update on this story, "State Upset With City's NLDC Vote":
State development officials reacted angrily Tuesday to the City Council's vote the previous night to strip the quasi-public New London Development Corp. of its control of the Fort Trumbull project, saying the action took the state by surprise.
….. Meanwhile, the holdouts of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, while cheered to hear what the council had done, were skeptical as to its motives.
"It should have happened a long time ago," said Byron Athenian. "Let's face it, the NLDC has never done anything right since the beginning."
But Athenian said he thinks the whole thing may come down to politics.
"It's election year," he said. "Maybe they did it because of that. You don't know who to believe. You don't know that you can believe the City Council, either."
Bill von Winkle said the council's decision was "certainly long overdue."
For his part, he said, he has taken comfort in Rell's interest in the case.
"I've just signed the contract to put a new roof on my house, so I'm pretty confident that we're staying," he said. "The governor is going to protect the homeowners of this state. She's stated she's interested in keeping the homes and working around us. With the arrogance of the NLDC gone, maybe that can happen."
Michael Cristofaro, who is challenging the incumbent council members with his One New London political campaign, was more skeptical, saying the council acted because members were "running scared" weeks before an election.
He also doubted that the solution to the problem was as simple as the current council seems to think it is.
"The NLDC has weaved themselves a nice little web, and I think to unweave that web is going to be a disaster," Cristofaro said. "How do you get the property out of the NLDC's name? It's a great concept to say you're fired, but are they really fired?"
Interestingly, when I spoke to the Georgetown Federalist Society about Kelo, I mentioned thr ongoing civil war between the city council and the NLDC, and one of the pro-Kelo panelists observed that it would be a problem if the NLDC was acting in a manner so contrary to the wishes of the city's elected officials, but expressed skepticism that this was plausible.
This whole story really just continues to get more and more bizarre every day.