Today, August 28, 2014 at 9:30 a.m., the Supreme Court of New Jersey will have a conference hearing on an eminent domain case between Atlantic City and homeowner Charlie Birnbaum. Birnbaum is represented by the Institute of Justice (IJ).
The battle to save Birnbaum’s home from eminent domain abuse at the hands of New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority will continue with a case management conference scheduled to take place this Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. at the Superior Court of New Jersey before The Honorable Julio L. Mendez at the Atlantic City Civil Court Building, 1201 Bacharach Boulevard in Atlantic City, NJ.
On Monday, September 1, 2014, Atlantic City’s Revel Casino Hotel will close its doors, marking the end of a two-year multi-billion-dollar experiment in government-backed casino development. Despite the closure, however, the New Jersey state agency—the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA)—continues to press forward with a cruel, ill-advised and totally unnecessary plan employing eminent domain in a scheme hatched back when the Revel first opened. Even though it clearly never needed his land, and certainly doesn’t need it now that the Revel is closing, CRDA refuses to abandon its plan to take and bulldoze the longtime family home of Charlie Birnbaum, an Atlantic City piano-tuner.
Two years ago, CRDA authorized itself to condemn a chunk of property in Atlantic City in the hopes of encouraging development that would “complement the new Revel Casino and assist with the demands created by the resort.” Now, even with no Revel to complement and no demands being created, CRDA continues to press forward with its condemnation claims. It continues to do this even though it has no particular use in mind for Charlie’s property.
“CRDA had no plan for this property two years ago, and they have no plan now,” concluded IJ Senior Attorney Robert McNamara. “CRDA is taking Charlie’s property merely because they think they can. CRDA should demonstrate some common sense and common decency and announce that it will once and for all just leave Charlie alone. That’s all he is asking for: to be left alone to enjoy what is rightfully his.”