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'The Supreme Court Kelo decision gave government massive new power to take private property and give it to corporations. Conservatives have fought this disaster. What's Donald Trump say? ‘I happen to agree with it 100 percent.' Trump supports eminent domain abuse because he can make millions while we lose our property rights.”
Source of claim
Television ad from the Right to Rise PAC now airing in Iowa
The PAC supporting Republican Jeb Bush for president isn't the first group to accuse GOP front-runner Donald Trump supporting eminent domain. Such supporters argue Trump's record should preclude him from receiving the GOP's nomination for president.
We're checking whether Trump indeed supports the practice of forcing the sale of private property for private redevelopment.
As the ad states, conservatives tend to disagree with the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed New London, Conn., to force the sale of private homes for a private redevelopment project.
Under the Constitution's Fifth Amendment, the government can take private property for public use if it provides fair compensation to the land owners. But in the Kelo decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in 2005 that private redevelopment could qualify as a 'public use” if the public would benefit from the planned project.
In 2005, Trump agreed with the high court's decision, telling Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto: 'I happen to agree with it 100 percent, not that I would want to use it,” the National Review reported in 2011.
'The fact is, if you have a person living in an area that's not even necessarily a good area, and government, whether it's local or whatever, government wants to build a tremendous economic development, where a lot of people are going to be put to work and make area that's not good into a good area, and move the person that's living there into a better place - now, I know it might not be their choice - but move the person to a better place and yet create thousands upon thousands of jobs and beautification and lots of other things, I think it happens to be good.”
Before the Kelo decision, Trump tried to use eminent domain to his advantage in the mid-90s for a private project.
One example, often used when Trump and eminent domain are the topic of conversation, occurred in 1997 when he tried to use eminent domain to seize the home of Vera Coking, along with two nearby businesses, to build a limousine parking lot for a hotel in Atlantic City.
Trump sought the assistance of a government agency, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, to take her property. The agency offered her $250,000 for the property. When she turned down that offer, the CRDA went to court to claim her property under eminent domain. Though the case took several years, she won.
Given Trump's previous comments following the Kelo decision about supporting the ruling, we give Bush's PAC, Right to Rise, an A for claims that he supports eminent domain. Although Trump tried - and failed - to use the Kelo decision for his benefit in the 1997 limo park case, his reasons for supporting eminent domain can't be verified.
The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate/office holder or a national candidate/office holder about Iowa, or in advertisements that appear in our market. Claims must be independently verifiable. We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.
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This Fact Checker was researched and written by Jessie Hellmann.