Bradley Schrager, attorney, Wolf Rifkin Shapiro Schulman & Rabkin
BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- Attorney Bradley Schrager says that there is almost no government power more “sacred, important or dangerous” than the power to seize properties by eminent domain, and that the current plan by the city of North Las Vegas to rescue underwater homeowners doesn’t meet legal precedent. He and his client Gregory Smith are taking a stand against the procedure on Constitutional grounds.
According to Smith, eminent domain very specifically states that the property seized has to be put forward for a public use – but the plan put forth by the city of North Las Vegas would actually benefit individual homeowners.
He also says that eminent domain can potentially be used to protect neighborhoods from blight, but at this point whether the city would face blight as a result of homeowners failing to pay loans is purely speculative.
“Eminent domain has traditionally been used in instances of actual blight, rather than feared blight,” says Schrager.
Schrager says that North Las Vegas motives in helping homeowners may be “laudable” but their intentions have nothing to do with the legality of the case.
The city of North Las Vegas is working in partnership with Mortgage Resolution Partners to execute the plan. According to the deal, city officials would seize the bad home loan as they would seize a blighted property. Approximately 5,000 homes in North Las Vegas are eligible for the program, according to the lawsuit.