Sunday, November 2, 2008

State Appeals North Key Largo Verdicts

On October 30, 2008, the State of Florida filed Notices of Appeal on the two Judgments totaling $6.9 Million (not including costs & attorneys' fees) rendered by 16th Judicial Circuit Judge Luis Garcia on October 8, 2008. The State's lawyers obviously believe the landowners' Condemnation Blight defenses raised in this case (filed in 1995!) will be employed by other landowners in the Florida Keys -- raising the cost of stealing property in the Florida Keys by several hundred percent.

Can you just imagine! Landowners demanding Fair Market Value for their property, when the State has been getting away with grand theft for the past 12 to 15 years! Heaven Forbid! It looks like the Florida appellate courts are going to get another opportunity to explain, to the State property thieves, that they cannot get away with driving property values down with regulations -- so they can steal the land for pennies on the dollar.

A Florida District Court appeal often takes a year to reach a decision, and two years is not at all unusual. At 11%, however, this appeal -- presuming we prevail -- will cost the State about $2,400 per day (nearly $900,000 per year) in interest alone.

Unfortunately, a million dollars a year is a small price to pay if the State can bamboozle more landowners to "voluntarily" sell their land to the State for 15% of Fair Market Value. At $40,000 per parcel, which is what the State has been paying, it would cost only $8 million to buy 200 Florida Keys parcels (which is what it bought in the past two years). If it had to pay Fair Market Value -- as it will for the two parcels now on appeal -- 200 parcels would cost on the order of $50 million!

In order to put a stop to this highway robbery, we will be mailing a special issue of our Voice of Reason newsletter to every owner of undeveloped Florida Keys property. We will urge these landowners to demand full Fair Market Value for their property. Enough is enough!

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