By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
In a significant judgment against the City of SeaTac, Washington in a property rights case a King County Superior Court judge awarded Gerry and Kathy Kingen $18.3 million after what the court described as “a pattern of deception that lasted years.”
The trouble for the couple began in 2003 when they purchased land in the vicinity of Sea-Tac Airport with the intent to develop the land into a Park-and-Fly garage. Immediately after bringing notice to the city of their plans the city council declared a moratorium on the construction of these garages and engaged in tactics to hinder the couple’s investment until, according to court documents, they were forced under duress to sell the property to a “phantom buyer” who was later determined to be a surrogate for the city.
After learning of the surrogate buyer, the Kingens decided to pursue legal action against the city.
The couple and their development company filed a lawsuit in 2012. After a three-week trial the jury awarded the pair $9.6 million in damages. The judge added to the award by increasing the damages to include attorney fees and interest, bringing the total to $18.3 million.
The Kingens stated the ordeal was very costly in terms not only financial in nature but personal.
They robbed us of our lives, literally it became all-consuming for a long period of time.”
To add to the city’s troubles the Court concluded that the City also violated the Public Records Act which attracted the attention of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, an NGO that has sued government agencies for such violations. Coalition President Toby Nixon stated: “They tried to sneak around in the shadows and tried to take the property in an inappropriate way. You have to do it in the right way, you have to do it openly and [in an] accountable way that builds trust, that holds public trust and not abuse the trust.”
Of course, the City appealed the judgment. But there are many other forms of justice that likely will rain down. The City’s insurance carrier fled paperwork with the court countering that it is not mandated to indemnify the City since the court found that there was deception involved on the part of city officials.
Surely the matter will continue for years to come given the past behavior by the City. But it is a victory for property rights nonetheless.
By Darren Smith
The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.
55 thoughts on “Court Awards Couple $18,000,000 For City’s Land Grab. Largest In State History”
Nope, blood not boiling. I’m having too much fun watching the DNC implode and the RNC being brought to heel by the Donald. Oh, and organizing for Jill Stein and Tim Canova. Power to the People!!!!!!!!!!
re: “Autumn, BTW Jake Tapper is on CNN.” thanks for correcting. All those anchors on MSM are interchangable to me — all owned and instructed by the DNC and their corporate owners. The only ones I know are Maddow – she wrote an excellent book called “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power” some years ago before she turned to the Dark Side. The other one I’m familiar with is Fox news slut Megyn Kelley.
All of the discussion here of eminent domain is irrelevant, as that never came into play. If it had, there would have been public actions by the city taken in the light of day where debate could take place, newspapers report, debates could be held as to whether such action was necessary and/or appropriate, and voters could respond as they see fit to the actions of the City Council. Here, the city avoided any such public proceedings by sabotaging any attempts at developing the property privately until the owners had to sell.
Hey Autumn, this ought to make your blood boil. Tim Cook(CEO at Apple) is going to have a fund raiser for Hillary. A couple of months ago he had one for Paul Ryan. Like I’ve said, the Democrat’s need the Republicans and the Republicans need the Democrat’s, but they don’t need anybody else.
If anyone is interested:
Autumn, BTW Jake Tapper is on CNN.
you’ll enjoy this….
Here’s a quote from Mr. Fisher upon his election loss in 2011 regarding his opponent.
““She has both her husband and daughter working for the city and soon her liberal and progressive neighbors will be running city government.” Fisher added.”
It wasn’t an endorsement.
P.S. Party affiliation is difficult to ascertain because council members are non-partisan positions. Nonetheless, I’m confident Mr. Fisher is a Republican.
I wish you were right – unfortunately Liberals listen to her. But luckily those people are 55+. The young don’t even know who she is. And Progressives loathe her.
This is a pretty interesting story.
Sounds like the number one criminal was the mayor, Gene Fisher. Mr. Fisher lived in the neighborhood and feared that the Kingen’s proposed garage would lower his property value. He also wanted to develop the very same piece of property with some high end condos. Seems that Mr. Fisher was worried about Somalis that also lived in the neighborhood and felt the high end condos would effectively stop growth of the Somali neighborhood.
Now it is hard to determine Mr. Fisher’s political affiliation, but judging from some Facebook posts after an ugly election in 2010, it is looking to me like he was a Republican – maybe even Teaparty. Lisa N might want to reconsider her assertion that the Seatac liberals were the scoundrels.
I think it is worse than Darren states. The Kingen’s property went into default and was sold in foreclosure. Sounds like they didn’t get any money at all. It was not taken through eminent domain.
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