Eminent Domain

Alan T. Ackerman
Managing Partner, Ackerman Ackerman & Dynkowski PC

Alan T. Ackerman's Eminent Domain will focus on trends in real estate law, especially as it relates to the prospect of public entities buying private land and just compensation.


Eminent Domain of Mortgages to Save Communities?

In many communities, there was rapid over-development and money far too easily loaned. As a result, prior to 2008, properties were simply sold for too much money. A correlation between the availability of the loan dollars and the underlying market demand created a false “post” economy and took the market somewhat away from “fair market value.” It was in the context of so many fraudulent mortgages, fraudulent credit applications, and the overzealous desire to make a dollar that created what has been a tough market for the last 3.5 to 4 years.

On one hand, the market is the market. If the money is available to buy a piece of property and the property buys and sells at that price, that becomes the market. The whole notion of fair market ...

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Is the Proposed Bridge Between Detroit and Canada Off?

We have heard so little about the proposed New International Trade Crossing between Detroit and Windsor since the November 6, 2012 election, and we begin to wonder whether the federal government will approve the crossing.

The answer remains a certain “yes.” However, part of the answer is “yes” only to the extent of asking the next question. When?

There are numerous theories on the cause of the delay. One is that the delay is intended to be retribution to the state legislature for allowing enactment of the Right to Work legislation in Michigan. This is unlikely. Both Michigan U.S. Senators supported the proposal to build the NITC project.

A more likely theory relates to simple international politics. Our dealings ...

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What if Manuel Maroun Succeeds on the Bridge Referenda? Better, an answer for Thomas Jefferson

The Detroit International Bridge Company, owned by Manuel Moroun, is funding a referendum opposing the use of Michigan funds to build the New International Trade Crossing (NITC). He faces opposition from Canada and in the form of the Snyder administration.

The likely result of a successful referendum for Mr. Moroun is years of further litigation. The United States Constitution reserves the power to make international treaties to the national government in Washington. The International Border Crossing Agreement was legislated through Congress allowing the Secretary of State to approve border crossings.

Mr. Moroun will likely take a position that the “Reserved Powers” of the 10th Amendment leave the decision making of these ...

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The Painful Constitutional Referenda Process

The last week has been excruciating in our state. We now have five referenda on the ballot, some approved by Justices who clearly personally oppose at least some of the Amendments. However, voting to put a referenda Amendment on the ballot is a constitutional prerogative that is left to the citizens of our state.

For years, our Justices, without regard to whether they had been nominated by the Democratic or Republican conventions, have stated that there is a clear preference to find statutes constitutional where possible. This is because our republican form of government is one in which we vote for individuals to represent our geographical district in a legislative body. This form of government is what we have always accepted under our ...

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Financial Stability Agreement Speaks Well of Governor Snyder and City of Detroit

The Michigan Department of Treasury’s financial stability is an amazing recognition that the City of Detroit must do well for our state to do well. Possibly because we have a governor who has not been a lifetime politician, we finally have Michigan in a position where all citizens in the state show concern about the progress, development, and redevelopment of the City of Detroit.

One could write dozens of articles about the Financial Stability Agreement. It is available on the Web if one reviews this document on The Detroit News. Incredibly, the appendices, which are a part of the Agreement, offer a clear prioritization and timing process. By example, looking at the need for ...

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Financial Stability Agreement Holds Promise for Detroit’s Redevelopment

The Financial Stability Agreement is more than simply the ceding of control of power from the City of Detroit to the State of Michigan To the contrary, it is recognition by the Michigan Department of Treasury and the City of Detroit that, if the two work together, there will be great improvements in the community and in the state. By example, among the topics of Annex E to the Agreement is a list of supportive activities to be provided by the Treasury Department and state.

Clearly, the city is having an awful time with its infrastructure improvements. At Annex E, Page 2, the Agreement includes a paragraph designated as “Invest in Transportation Infrastructure.” This includes major activity in the community, such as moving ahead with the New ...

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NITC and Implications for Oil

The Detroit International Bridge Company court dispute and the proposed New International Trade Crossing are at the forefront of our media topics all too often.

The best way to obtain a feel for how to handle the bridge crossing issue is to start with a drive to Windsor. Hopefully, the driver will find himself at the terminus of the proposed exit for the new location and then that of the existing bridge. The new location is in a non-residential section far from the University of Windsor. The old bridge bisects the community, making Windsor aesthetically and physically fractured.

Underlying all of this bridge disagreement is the process of international politics. How do we “give in” to Canada? On the one hand, Nebraska is fighting the ...

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Bankruptcy for Detroit?

Normally, this blogger writes about solely eminent domain issues.

In this case, the issue of a potential Detroit bankruptcy does directly relate to eminent domain. Of greater import, the issue affects not only eminent domain, but also every fiscal issue in the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan.

On the eminent domain level, bankruptcy creates havoc with the preference being given to those property owners who have already lost the property, but have not yet received Just Compensation. By example, let us assume the city has offered $4 million for a marine terminal on the Detroit River. When it files, it deposits the $4 million with the court and takes possession of the marine terminal. What happens in six months, when the case evaluators in ...

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The Bridge: The Michigan State Senate Will Get It Right

While everyone feels that Gov. Rick Snyder faced a substantial defeat with the committee vote rejecting the public/private partnership of the Detroit River International Crossing, the reality is that the vote tells us that five senators believe a second bridge should exist. The issue is one of what “public benefits” should be provided to the local community.

This issue is not an easy one. The area in which the bridge is located is the most contaminated in the Detroit region. At the same time, viable industry can and does survive in the area. The residents of the neighborhood want their area “cleaned up” — benefits to be provided to those landowners whose property is not taken as part of the project. This is laudable, ...

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Detroit’s Infrastructure — an Emotional Earthquake

Why waste time writing about Detroit’s infrastructure?

We have a nation in an emotional, fiscal earthquake. The tremors arise in all the states, and the Richter Scale that catches it all is Washington D.C.

A great example of the problem is evident here in Michigan. We have what is a locked in Public Private Partnership, created by the Canadian government’s lending of $500 million, with no recourse, in order to build a second bridge. Canada is a sovereign nation and Ontario is a province of Canada, not a territory of Michigan or the United States. The city of Windsor, Province of Ontario, and Dominion of Canada are adamant that a bridge be constructed so traffic does not travel through the University of Windsor area. ...

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NITC — Governor Supported, Chamber Approved

At its annual Detroit Regional Chamber conference, Michigan’s business leadership received a carefully prepared report by the Anderson Group supporting the financial feasibility and common sense for a proposed publically bonded New International Trade Crossing (NITC). The Chamber has announced that it will back the development of the NITC.

This support may very well carry the day in pushing the project forward. The Detroit Regional Chamber is not a liberal or conservative lapdog, but a body of concerned participants in the overall success of our state.

This Chamber support will and should be carefully reviewed by the Republican Legislature delegation. Clearly, it is up to Republican legislators to decide whether the rights of the community ...

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Downsizing Detroit Part II: Ensuring Equality

Providing his initial contemplated plan, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing noted that certain neighborhoods would receive greater benefits to the detriment of other likely less desirable and certainly less viable neighborhoods, at least in the mind of the city of Detroit administration. The effect of not providing services to those neighborhoods that are likely to not survive assures the total demise of the neighborhoods. The loss of protection and basic public services would be unfair discrimination against the owners and businesses in the neighborhoods receiving less support.

In response, Mayor Bing has justifiably and reasonably concluded that what he really wants to do is provide “more” support to neighborhoods that he believes can be retained and ...

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Are Farmers Pro DRIC?

This blog has discussed the proposed bridge between Detroit and Windsor generally in a favorable fashion. However, Paul Jackson of The Michigan Farm News, has prepared his own independent analysis of the situation, which I think warrants consideration.

The reality is that the positive effects of the New International Trade Crossing, formerly the “DRIC” project, is a proposal that will aid not only the farmers, but also everyone in the state of Michigan. Yet, Paul, a writer from Lansing, looks at the project from 30,000 feet above the ground and recognizes the dramatic possibilities available with a second bridge. Below, please find an excerpt from Paul’s article, which I use with his permission.

Scent of a New ...

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Detroit River International Crossing Problem…Continued

On June 24, 2011, I left the DRIC Post with a final question “In a further blog, the debate about ownership will be raised. The issues at this point are simply this: Should a second bridge be built? If so, how?”

The answer to the question above is not a simple one. Matty Moroun, a responsible businessman, obtained the Ambassador Bridge in a contest with Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, as part of a very publicized stockholder fight.

The bridge is a public utility. It serves the public in general, yet does not seem to be regulated as to quality or toll rates in any substantial fashion. The safety of the bridge has been challenged on a frequent basis, although it is not so unsafe that it has been closed. Therefore, we must assume ...

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Downsizing Detroit: What Are We Waiting For?

Mayor David Bing has as close to unanimous support of this community as any mayor since Coleman Young at the end of his first administration. People in our city and suburbs want to see Detroit work, grow, and flourish. Right now, we are not flourishing. Inaction can disable a city. And yet, the notion of the “Contraction” program or “Downsizing” program, contemplating removal of homes in under populated neighborhoods, has taken a back seat to the other frustrations and instabilities in the city. Money is not the issue for two reasons.

First, the return on an investment of moving individuals from some neighborhoods would be somewhere in the area of 30 percent to 40 percent per annum given the infrastructure maintenance costs required ...

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Proposed Bridge Between Detroit and Windsor — The DRIC Problem

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is accustomed to an entrepreneurial environment where business decisions are made in a rational and expeditious fashion in private industry. The motivation is continued success of an entity and increasing the value and profitability of the private entity.

When it comes to government, we deal with issues that are not necessarily of an economic nature. These issues frequently are created because of the political conflict in the varying interests of citizens of the community. Often, these interests are premised upon religious, moral, and philosophical difference, such as problems with environmental regulation and restrictions. Others are purely economic based, premised upon the notion of different tax apportionment within the ...

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