Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Atlantic City agency still out to take piano-tuner's home

   File photograph shows the three-story, long-held family home, center, of Charlie Birnbaum  (Mel Evans, AP)
A court fight continues over a development agency's attempt to take an Atlantic City piano tuner's house through eminent domain, even after a judge recently ruled that it doesn't have a viable plan to do anything with the building in the shadow of the closed $2.4 billion former Revel casino.

Josh Cornfield reports for the Associated Press:

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has spent at least $184,700 on outside lawyers in its more than three-year effort to take Charlie Birnbaum's family home, which it once tried to buy for $238,500, according to data provided to The Associated Press through an open records request.

The lawyer representing the agency says the battle is about more than just the one house and goes to the core of the authority's responsibility to redevelop the city, but Birnbaum's lawyer says there's no reason for the agency to continue trying to get the house.

"Charlie wouldn't take a million dollars for this piece of property," said Robert McNamara, of the nonprofit Institute for Justice. 

"At this point, this is just a struggle about the limits on government power. ... They believe their power is unlimited and are willing to spend any amount of money to try to prove their power is unlimited."

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