Eminent Domain Fight Heads to Hartford

Waterbury homeowners are taking their fight over eminent domain to state lawmakers.


A Waterbury man claimed his own city took his home and ripped him off.  Now a state representative decided to step in, and wants to change eminent domain laws to make sure this won’t happen again.

“Sometimes guys in suits don't listen, but they need to listen to this one,” said Ray Thompson.  He wants state lawmakers to know what happened to him and his neighbors on Birch Street in Waterbury.

“It’s unfair, it’s very unfair for people who work hard every day,” Thompson added.  A few months ago the city said it was taking his home by eminent domain to build a school here. 

It agreed to pay Thompson nearly thirty thousand dollars less than what his home was worth.  The city’s amount was based on an assessment, not on the actual tax bill.  “It's happening in Waterbury, it can happen anywhere, Groton, New London, New Haven,” Thompson said.

A Waterbury lawmaker told NBC Connecticut people on Birch Street should not lose tens of thousands of dollars over their homes.  On Friday he will take his fight against this to the Capitol, hoping this would never happen to anyone again. 

“In this market, it has devastating effects on families,” said State Representative Larry Butler.  Butler is proposing a new eminent domain bill, and he will bring a long list of signatures with him to show he has a lot of backing. “Everyone from the Mayor to the Board of Education Commissioners,” Butler explained. 

The bill would force all cities to pay homeowners based on the actual property tax, instead of an assessment.  That way homeowners would get compensated fairly if they’re forced out. “It's a bill I believe they need to pass. It’s going to protect the homeowner in the future,” said Roy Thompson.  He wants lawmakers to take his story into consideration when they decide if this bill moves forward Friday morning.

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