8/16/2007

City granted control of A.B. Fall Mansion: KVIA-TV7, El Paso TX, 7/27/07

The city [of El Paso TX] has finally gained control of the A.B. Fall Mansion through eminent domain on Thursday.

For over a year, the city has been trying to take over the historical mansion to keep it from falling deeper into disrepair.

The mansion, located at 1725 Arizona, has been owned by the Abraham family for over 20 years. The city set aside over $630,000 dollars to pay the Abraham family in return for taking over the mansion.

Earlier this year, an independent judge assigned a three-member commission to determine the value of the property.

Billy Abraham, the owner of the property, tells ABC-7 he disagrees with the ruling and will not accept the money. He stated he has restored the property throughout the years and is planning to continue to fight the city against the use of eminent domain.

City officials tell ABC-7 they are not pursuing any other properties through the use of eminent domain. The Abraham family owns several properties downtown. City Representative Beto O' Rourke said the buy-out of the property was meant as a strong message to Abraham.

"He can say that we don't have a right... the city can say we do have a right and an independent Judge found we do have a right... that's why we've taken possession of the property... demolition by neglect," said O' Rourke in regards to Abraham's handling of the property.

O'rourke said the city is trying to determine the structural damage and estimates for the property because he would like for it to serve some sort of public purpose.


KVIA-TV7, El Paso TX: http://www.kvia.com