10/13/00 MM Letter to EM
Notes: Ref M's Nightmare 9/5 thru 10/13/00. At the time, it seemed that there was no stopping the "TAKING" of my property & that I could only try to get the right price. It was one of EM's three secretaries that told me she was one of three & that he was vacationing out of the country. The 900 sq ft stated below should be 928. Agonizing over the gov't "stealing" one's property & livelihood, gives a new perspective to flood-clean up.
October 13, 2000
Mr. Eric Martin
Valley Park City Attorney
1795 Clarkson Rd., Suite 210
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Re: Acquisition of #8 Arnold Drive in connection with the Lower Meramec River Basin (Valley Park), Missouri Flood Protection Project
Dear Mr. Martin:
I was told you were out of the country on vacation. I hope you enjoyed it and feel refreshed. Since I couldn't talk to you, I decided to write. Maybe this will serve as a bit of reading material to help you get back into your work routine.
You and others involved in this case, have probably become quite immune to landowners' personal hardships and legitimate grievances like mine. Although I've been advised to skip the "tears and guilt trips", I just cannot. I am compelled to characteristically speak my mind, even if only to make myself feel better.
I have worked very hard over the last 35 years to earn my tiny piece of the American Dream on Arnold Drive, in the heart of Valley Park. It is now a nightmare for me. It is depressingly ironic and despicable that instead of enjoying the result of my labor, I must now fight vigorously to defend it from my own government. If I hire an attorney, s/he will take a very big part of it. So, overwhelming and stressful as it is, I am handling this matter myself, plan to hire my own expert witnesses, etc., etc. However, if I must, I will hire an attorney.
My rental property at #8 Arnold Drive is a nice, well-built, 3 bedroom house. The house totals approximately 900 sq.ft. and has a full basement, a detached 4-car garage with windows on all 3 sides, 3 man-doors and a double-wide asphalt driveway of approximately 3200 sq.ft. The land is almost a 1/2 acre. It is zoned Planned Development Commercial. Its highest and best use is commerecial and it is only a few minutes from Highways 141/44 and 44/270. Floods have not been nearly as bad as most think, in fact, I haven't even bothered with flood insurance for many years.
I have already informed you about the $100,000 sale contract I have for #8 Arnold from a developer, signed and dated 2-1/2 years ago, and that I have separate rental agreements on the house and garage totaling $950.00 per month. So, I'm quite proud of my wise, profitable investment, need it desperately and treasure it dearly!
I also have a copy of the sales contract from the same developer, signed and dated 2-1/2 years ago for property adjacent to mine. It also is advantageous to me, as well as my own forthcoming appraisal.
For many years now, owners and renters on Arnold Drive have been told several times, that the levee is coming through there real soon. This has been detrimental to me since I put off some property improvements and lost renters and income due to these various "evacuation drills".
As we have discussed, I AM NOT ESTIMATING values, or consequential damages/disruption, etc. at this time, but only stating that I am willing to settle for $125,000. You have offered me a pittance of only $40,000.00. It's bad enough that I have already lost income and am now forced to sell-out my livelihood. Is there a law that says Maureen Morris must pay more than her fair share for the levee?
I apologize for being so naive regarding the complexities surrounding this confiscation of my livelihood; I've been too busy earning and maintaining it. I must and will learn all about politics, environmental issues, property rights, taxes, accounting, government financing, TIF, etc.
You really scared me, Mr. Martin, when you told me that if this goes to a jury trial which usually takes 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 years, I would receive NONE of my $950.00 monthly rental income! This will be an enormous hardship for me, surely you realize that. However, I have been assured that a jury will be a positive for me. By then, I'll know better how to handle my case too. I feel confident that if and when this goes to a jury, they will be empathetic, not allow Big Brother to be Big Bully, and ensure me accurate just compensation.
Aren't juries allowed to nullify laws? If so, are they informed of this power, and in time to do so in my case? I ask because I believe there are laws allowing government officials to take unfair advantage of individuals. For example, eminent domain/condemnation laws say I must be paid fair market value. Please feel free to correct me at any time, if I am wrong. Your letter to me dated 7/11/00, states "Fair market value has been judicially defined as the price the property would bring in a sale between a willing seller and a willing buyer, neither being obligated to act." Since I am NOT a willing seller, and I AM OBLIGATED BY LAW to act, the law is allowing me to be taken unfair advantage of.
Ordinarily, when a seller is not willing or obligated, the buyer must pay a higher price than fair market value in order to persuade the seller to be willing and therefore, self-obligated.
You said that the only thing we would fight about would be the fair market value. I consider it ludicrous to be fighting over something that is unethically applied, illogical, unfair & unjust to begin with, but that's evidently what we'll do.
Most Sincerely Yours,
copied to: Mr Dave Cusack, Col Lee McKinney, Ret, Mr Jim Halamicek, Mr Jerry Kroll, Mr Dan Adams, Mr Don Smith, A.C.L.U.