Critics protest L.A. eminent domain sale: Science Daily, 1/14/06

United Press International

Los Angeles officials want to sell land — originally seized from a furniture maker by eminent domain for use as an animal shelter — to a private developer.

That company is also a furniture maker.

After three years of wrangling, Vaughan Benz, a furniture manufacturer doing business in South Los Angeles, settled on a sales price with the city.

Voters approved a $5.8 million bond issue to fund construction of a sorely needed new animal rescue building in the area.

The Los Angeles Times reports some city officials now want to sell the land to a new business instead of building the animal rescue there. The shelter would be built down the block.

The furniture maker Cisco Bros., now vying for the land, has executives who have donated more than $17,000 in campaign funds to elected city officials, the newspaper said.

A local taxpayers advocacy group and the owners of Vaughan Benz called the move an "abuse" of property taking powers by the city. Vaughan Benz has since moved to the Chinatown area of Los Angeles.

With the delay in building a new shelter, the project's price tag could rise an additional $5 million.

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