Gilbert Plans Use of Eminent Domain

Released at: September 22, 2018
Contact: William Gilbert
401.932.8364

Raimondo and Mattiello have loaded and aimed their political gun at every tax-paying property owner in RI; using money never appropriated by the voters to confiscate a person’s land and give it away to billionaires via their PawSox deal is governmental thuggery at its worst!

In return, if elected I will work with the State Properties Committee to acquire Raimondo’s and Mattiello’s real estate for the public use and public good. I will convert these areas to public parks and open space forever named after each of them.

Here’s why:

The deal that Gina Raimondo signed into legislation Friday is not an appropriate use of the State’s power of eminent domain. The new legislation allows eminent domain to be used to forcefully take various properties that lawmakers’ billionaire friends want for their proposed new ball field.

Not only is it inappropriate on its face, but Raimondo and Mattiello by announcing such a tactic have removed all protections for Rhode Island taxpayers for a fair and affordable deal by effectually eliminating the ability to negotiate a fair price. Why would the PawSox owners negotiate at all when they can just have the property taken by Gina’s law and then have the taxpayers pay for it?

The law hand-crafted by Mattiello and signed into effect by Raimondo expands current eminent domain practice and severely erodes private property rights by allowing the condemning agency to enter a taxpayer’s property without permission and without any financial compensation. The exact language reads:

“45-32-24.2. Power of eminent domain with respect to recreational redevelopment 28 projects which create and/or preserve jobs within the State. (d) As part of an agency's diligence in determining whether it is necessary to acquire certain real property, whether for immediate or future use, the agency may enter said real property and conduct environmental testing upon giving the owner not less than two (2) weeks written notice.”

This use of another person’s land is a “taking before the taking” and is usually done via a temporary easement or by agreement. What limits are placed on this testing? Can this testing block or prevent entry by the true owner? What happens if a business or property owner refuses to allow entry? What is the definition of environmental testing? What is the duration these investigations can last?

Mattiello’s and Raimondo’s sweetheart PawSox deal also does an end run around Article VI of our State Constitution. This law shows disdain for the taxpayers and the taxpayers’ wishes as they refused to allow a referendum to be voted upon. This is the same thuggish tactic that was used in the famous 38 Studios debacle. We must make it clear to our current officials that using a sham quasi-governmental entity to end-run Article VI is unacceptable.

Bad-acting, disingenuous government officials like Raimondo and Mattiello will continue to profit and taxpayers will continue to be robbed by law, until there are consequences and ramifications for their bad-faith acts.

Voters can fight back! Every law these politicians pass for the masses to follow should apply equally to them. They should be required to use the same health insurance as the minimum they mandate. They should get no greater pay raise than seen by the general population. Most of all they should be equally subjected to every political action that affects taxpayers - this will drive the truest and swiftest change. Therefore, I aim the same threat of eminent domain squarely at these two powerful individuals and any other official that works to implement their PawSox deal.

Taxpayers, citizens and business owners need to have faith and trust in their officials. They should not fear that their business may be commandeered and given away to a politically-connected operative, the Speaker’s buddy or the Governor’s largest donor. Politicians acting in contravention to Article VI should feel the same consequences they’re dishing out to taxpayers.

Bill Gilbert
Candidate for Governor 2018

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  • William Gilbert
    published this page 2018-09-22 23:59:10 -0400