Poetic Justice : Supreme Court justice faces boot from home?
Developer wants 'Lost Liberty Hotel' built upon property of David Souter
WorldNetDaily | June 28, 2005
By Ron Strom
FREEPORT - With Thursday's Supreme Court decision, Freeport officials instructed attorneys to begin preparing legal documents to seize three pieces of waterfront property along the Old Brazos River from two seafood companies for construction of an $8 million private boat marina.
The court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that cities may bulldoze people's homes or businesses to make way for shopping malls or other private development. The decision gives local governments broad power to seize private property to generate tax revenue.
"This is the last little piece of the puzzle to put the project together," Freeport Mayor Jim Phillips said of the project designed to inject new life in the Brazoria County city's depressed downtown area.
Over the years, Freeport's lack of commercial and retail businesses has meant many of its 13,500 residents travel to neighboring Lake Jackson, which started as a planned community in 1943, to spend money. But the city is hopeful the marina will spawn new economic growth.
"This will be the engine that will drive redevelopment in the city," City Manager Ron Bottoms said.
Lee Cameron, director of the city's Economic Development Corp., said the marina is expected to attract $60 million worth of hotels, restaurants and retail establishments to the city's downtown area and create 150 to 250 jobs.
A private developer contacted the local government in Supreme Court Justice David Souter's hometown in New Hampshire yesterday asking that the property of the judge – who voted in favor of a controversial decision allowing a city to take residents' homes for private development – be seized to make room for a new hotel.
Logan Darrow Clements faxed a request to Chip Meany, the code enforcement officer of the town of Weare, N.H., seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road, the present location of Souter's home.
Wrote Clements: "Although this property is owned by an individual, David H. Souter, a recent Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London, clears the way for this land to be taken by the government of Weare through eminent domain and given to my LLC for the purposes of building a hotel. The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare."
The Kelo v. City of New London decision, handed down Thursday, allows the New London, Conn., government to seize the homes and businesses of residents to facilitate the building of an office complex that would provide economic benefits to the area and more tax revenue to the city. Though the practice of eminent domain is provided for in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, this case is significant because the seizure is for private development and not for "public use," such as a highway or bridge. The decision has been roundly criticized by property-rights activists and limited-government commentators.
According to a statement from Clements, the proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, "featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America." Instead of a Gideon's Bible in each room, guests will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," the statement said.
Clements says the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site – "being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans."
Souter has claimed Weare as his home since he moved there as an 11-year-old boy with his family.
"This is not a prank" said Clements. "The town of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."
Clements says his plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise additional capital for the project.
While Clements currently makes a living in marketing and video production, he tells WND he has had involvement in real estate development and is fully committed to the project.
"We will build a hotel there if investors come forward, definitely," he said.
Clements is the CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, which is dedicated to fighting "the most deadly and destructive force on the planet: abusive governments," the website states.
The activist says he is aware of the apparent conflict of someone who is strongly opposed to the Kelo decision using it to purposely oust an American from his property.
"I realize there is a contradiction, but we're only going to use it against people who advocated" the Kelo decision, Clements told WND. "Therefore, it's a case of retaliation, not initiation."
Clements says some people have already offered to put money into the project.