Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Part of Rip-Off Central, Connecticut, Eminent Domain is now national

CONNECTICUT NEWS
Plaintiff Sends Angry Holiday Message
1:42 PM EST, December 20, 2006
The Associated Press, The Hartford Courant

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) -- The woman at the center of a national battle over property rights has sent some not-so-joyous tidings to people involved in taking her house to make way for private development.

Susette Kelo's holiday cards feature a snowy image of her pink house and a message that reads, in part, "Your houses, your homes, your family, your friends. May they live in misery that never ends. I curse you all. May you rot in hell. To each of you I send this spell."

The cards were conceived and produced by a friend of Kelo's and sent to city officials and members of New London's development agency.

Kelo said she also considered sending the cards to five U.S. Supreme Court justices who ruled in June 2005 that New London had the right to take homes in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood to make way for a riverfront project slated to include condominiums, a hotel and office space.

Kelo, one of the last holdouts, earlier this year accepted a $442,155 settlement, more than $300,000 above the appraised value of her home in 2000. Her pink cottage will be moved elsewhere in the city. She has until June 15 to move.

"It's amazing anyone could be so vindictive when they've made so much money," said Gail Schwenker-Mayer, a supporter of the development project who received one of the cards.

New London Development Corp. member Reid Burdick said he put the card on his mantel with his other Christmas greetings.

"I think the poor woman has gone around the bend," he said. "I haven't gotten any mail from her in years. I still feel bad for Susette. The sorry part of this is that the things she's angry about were not done to be mean-spirited toward her personally."

Fellow NLDC member George Milne, a former top executive at Pfizer Inc., called the card "immensely childish."

"It's sort of sad she elected to do this," Milne said. "We were trying to do things for the city. It was nothing personal."

Kelo, a nurse who handles lead paint and lead poisoning cases for the city of New London, said the card was her idea.

"This all could have been solved and ended many years ago," she said. "They didn't have to do what they did to us, and I will never forget. These people can think what they want of me. I will never, ever forget what they did."

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Information from: The Day, www.theday.com

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