Broken Promises, Shattered Trust: Charlestown Files Eminent Domain Lawsuit

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During the most recent special meeting of the Charlestown Common Council, Mayor Bob Hall cautioned the community to “Please watch what the city does and not what our opposition say we are doing” (09/12/2018 meeting audio at 54:33).

A quick review into exactly what the city has done lately reveals another broken promise in what seems to be a growing list of hypocrisies and misleading statements.

On August 15, 2018, city attorney Michael Gillenwater filed a lawsuit in Clark County Circuit Court 2 naming the City of Charlestown as the plaintiff in an eminent domain condemnation case against Richard Wheeler, who owns a tract of land containing approximately 58 acres along the back side of Pleasant Ridge neighborhood.

Mr. Wheeler has rejected the City’s offer to purchase his land and the City is now taking him to court to use eminent domain to force him out so that they can build a park.

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In addition to this case filed last month, the City also recently concluded condemnation proceedings and used eminent domain to take small parcels of land for the Community Crossings Road project into Pleasant Ridge…a road that many people say is unnecessary…

During his statement to the Citizens of Charlestown last Wednesday night Mayor Hall boasted,

I’m glad that we’ve never used eminent domain. This one has puzzled me more than anything. In our redevelopment plan it states clearly that the plan, that eminent domain is not planned to be used” …

“We’ve not done it, we’ve not even proposed it to the City Council or the Redevelopment Commission to use eminent domain” (09/12/2018 meeting audio at 49:32). 

What Mayor Hall SAYS the City has done appears to stand in stark contrast to what the City has actually done

One part of the Mayor’s statement is true. I have provided audio for every Common Council and Redevelopment Commission meeting for the previous year in this blog and you will not find in any of them a mention of using eminent domain to take Mr. Wheeler’s property because the Mayor has never presented it to these bodies in a public meeting.

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This begs the questions…

Who authorized this purchase offer?

Who gave the order to proceed with an eminent domain lawsuit when Mr. Wheeler said he didn’t want to sell?  

 

 


Mayor Hall’s statements are available in the full audio of the 09/12/2018 special meeting of the Common Council located at the end of the entry HERE: Special Meeting 09/12/2018

City of Charlestown v. Richard Wheeler case complaint HERE: Eminent Domain Lawsuit – City vs. Wheeler

All public court documents for lawsuit available HERE. You’ll need to enter the case number in the search box: 10C02-1808-PL-0000098

Author: Treva Hodges

Resident of Charlestown, Indiana. Advocate.

One thought on “Broken Promises, Shattered Trust: Charlestown Files Eminent Domain Lawsuit”

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