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Despite Threats, Interest in Using Eminent Domain to Stop Foreclosures Grows

Since it announced a plan to combat foreclosures by using eminent domain, Richmond, CA has been beset by opposition from Wall Street and Washington. Despite the threats, other cities are exploring using the controversial tool.
November 20, 2013, 8am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Wall Street, real estate interests, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and members of Congress have been applying "intense pressure" to try to head off a plan by Richmond, CA to use eminent domain to keep its residents in their homes. 

"Still," writes Shaila Dewan, "cities hard hit by the housing crash are showing interest [in using the tool]. Yonkers, just north of New York City, will soon take up a resolution to study the use of eminent domain to reduce debt, and support is building in Newark as well. In California, Pomona and Oakland are moving forward."

“'Things seem to be picking up steam in Minnesota, and I’ve just been contacted in the past couple of weeks by two cities in Pennsylvania as well,' said Robert Hockett, a Cornell University law professor and one of the architects of the strategy. Nationally, housing prices have begun to recover, but about one in five homeowners still owes more than the home is worth, and in cities like Richmond as many as half do."

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Published on Friday, November 15, 2013 in The New York Times
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