Dozens of interested citizens from the Utica-Rome area gathered at the headquarters of the AHI on Saturday afternoon, 4 October, to hear Carla Main speak on the abuse of eminent domain. Ms. Main, a lawyer and journalist, began by recalling her days as a lawyer, working for New York City in condemnation proceedings, during which she witnessed up close and personal the testimony of those people whose property was being seized, often as a result of an unholy alliance between government officials and developers.
In her prize-winning book Bulldozed (Encounter Books, 2007), Ms. Main centered her discussion on a case in Freeport, Texas. She recounted the story of Freeport’s Gore family, model citizens whose patriarch Wright “Pappy” Gore rose from poverty to build the Western Seafood Company into a prosperous business. In 2003, city officials in league with a prominent Texas businessman attempted in the name of economic development a taking of the Gore’s property, crucial to the operation of Western Seafood. The developers wanted the property for the construction of a multi-million dollar marina on the Freeport waterfront.
Arthur Lee of Virginia spoke for many of the founders of this country when he said “The right of