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Re: “Making Room for the Oakland A's?

Concerning Step 4 of the Order of Immediate Possession process, I forgot to mention that as a practical matter, the property owner has NO DEFENSE to the obtaining of ownership of the property by the city as long as the judge thinks the procedures in the law have been properly followed.

That means two seemingly logical defense are ignored by the judge: Any claim that the property is worth more than the money deposited by the city. Any claim that the city's potential use of the property is not for a public purpose.

The bottom line is that if a small business owner is standing in the way of a big municipal project, he will be crushed by the law. Only big property owners, who are major campaign donors to city councilmen, have the political clout to prevent the super-majority of a City Council from voting to use the Order of Immediate Possession process.

Bottom line: If the league approves a stadium site, and if the City of Oakland wants to build a stadium there, the affected property owners don't have a prayer of stopping the taking of their property. That's legal fact, not opinion.

Posted by Alan2009 on 02/11/2010 at 12:13 PM

Re: “Making Room for the Oakland A's?

Eminent domain is NOT a drawn out process, in terms of a city getting ownership of a piece of land.

Many years ago, the Legislature created an expedited procedure, called an "Order of Immediate Possession". A short practical summary:

Step 1: City gets appraisal of property it wants to buy.

Step 2: City get cashier's check in the dollar amount of the appraisal.

Step 3: City deposits the cashier's check with the Alameda County Superior Court clerk, and simultaneously files both a condemnation lawsuit complaint, and an application for an Order of Immediate Possession. One of the exhibits to that application is the appraisal the city obtains.

Step 4: The judge assigned to the case holds a hearing, on an expendited basis, and checks to make sure the city has followed each requirement of the Order of Immediate Possession statute. If yes, the judge is forced, by the law, to IMMEDIATELY issue a court order stating that the city INSTANTLY owns, and gets possession of, the real estate condemned. That order is called the Order of Immediate Possession. Its effect is to immediately evict the former property owner.

Step 5: The city records the Order of Immediate Possession just like a deed, and if necessary gets law enforcement help removing the former owner and its business from the property.

Step 6: The former owner has two choices: (A) Accept the cash deposited with the court clerk as full payment for his real estate and the good will of his business locations, or (B) Hire a lawyer and fight for several years, at the owner's own expense, to prove that his real estate and the good will of his business is worth more than the dollar amount deposited with the court clerk. While that litigation is going on, the former real estate owner DOES NOT get to withdraw the money held by court clerk. Under Alternative B, the former property owner is entitled to a jury trial.

All during the process described in (B) above, the former property owner has the opportunity to negotiate with the city for a price increase over and above the appraised value which the city deposited with the court clerk.

So, for a city, the taking of real estate for a municipal improvement like a stadium can be quick. Their main risk is that if they used a low-ball appraisal for their deposit with the court, they will have to pay the former property owners attorneys fees. For a resistant owner who is UNREALISTIC about the value of his land and business, the process of getting any cash is long and painful.

Posted by Alan2009 on 02/11/2010 at 12:07 PM

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