Visalia loses eminent domain case: Central Valley Business Times, Stockton CA, 1/3/07

Jury verdict ends years of litigation
Must pay $600k for seized building

A Tulare County Superior Court jury has decided that the city of Visalia overstepped its bounds when it seized a downtown building housing the Main Street Theater and paid the owners about half of its market value.

The city had used its powers of eminent domain to acquire the building for $385,000 in 2004. But the jury this week said it must pay owners Jerrold Harrah and Lillian Martin $600,000 for the property.

That’s the amount the owners had been offered for the building by a church before the city stepped in to acquired the property.

Appraisers for the owners had put a $650,000 value on the property which has been the location for a Visalia children's theater group known as Enchanted Playhouse.

The cost of lawyers and other legal fees could add another $300,000 to the price the city pays.

Central Valley Business Times, Stockton CA: http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com