Agency in Kelo Case to Change Name

What do you do when too much bad publicity hinders your company from doing any legitimate business? Well, change your name of course! The New London Development Corporation, the agency involved in the Kelo v. City of New London land-grab is seeking to do just that - change it's name to whitewash the bad rep.

Name changes are nothing new in the world of bad publicity. Some of us may remember when the now popular company "Nissan" went by "Datsun" in the U.S. during WWII to avoid public resentment that came with association of military manufacturing. Altria, formerly known as "Philip Morris Companies Inc." changed it's name to avoid the often negative image associated with previous tobacco endeavors. It wasn't so long ago that the Blackwater scandal was all over the news about possible criminal activities and abuses of its connections with the military. Blackwater quickly adopted a name change from "Blackwater Worldwide" to Xe Services.

The New London Development Corporation (NLDC) seeks to change its name to Renaissance City Development Association (RCDA). The real question is, will this name change allow NLDC to recover its business and prosper as a company? Most of those affected by eminent domain (as in the case of Susette Kelo) will most likely never forget the real identity of RCDA, however I have this gut feeling that the public will care less about the history of the company as time passes by.

Perhaps it would be less insulting if the name change didn't provoke comments by the NLDC's president Michael Joplin such as "Everyone in this room knows we’ve got baggage, and it’s spelled K-E-L-O", yet we just couldn't be spared the self-pitty. Perhaps it is better to let the past be just that - the past, but try convincing a homeowner who has lost his or her house to eminent domain.