2/16/2007

Homeowner, Arlington settle eminent domain case before trial: Ft Worth TX Star-Telegram, 2/7/07

Associated Press

The city of Arlington and a homeowner's attorneys settled what could have been the first Dallas Cowboys stadium eminent domain case to go to trial.

The city agreed to pay Johnny Johnson $100,000 for his home, said Denise Wilkerson, an Arlington assistant city attorney. The settlement still needs the City Council's approval.

Johnson's attorneys had argued the home was worth $106,000, which they said was the market value set by an appraiser Johnson hired.

The city had offered Johnson $75,000 for his house and land. The Tarrant Appraisal District had valued the property at $24,000 for taxing purposes.

Johnson lived in the house for 16 years before the city took possession in late 2005 along with other property needed for the new Cowboys stadium, scheduled to be finished in 2009.

Several landowners whose property has been acquired for the stadium rebuffed the city's offer and went to court. The city withdrew 10 eminent domain cases, and five lawsuits have been settled since the fall. One is pending in state district court, and 75 are pending in Tarrant County Court.

Johnson, who has not spoken publicly about his case, already had access to the $75,000 the city had offered him. But it is not clear whether Johnson had drawn any of that money before the settlement, reached after a Monday pretrial hearing in which the judge denied the city's request to stop Johnson's appraiser from testifying.

Construction started last year for the 75,000-seat, retractable-roof stadium, two years after Arlington voters approved paying for half of the original $650 million price tag by raising sales, hotel and motel, and car-rental taxes.


Ft Worth TX Star-Telegram: http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram