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DETROIT-Detroit has one of the highest rates in the nation for eminent domainlawsuits, according to the Washington D.C.-based Institute for Justice,saying that Michigan is one of the most abusive to its residents when tryingto take land for new development.

The group released the first snapshot of nationwide eminent domain casesTuesday, called “Public Power, Private Gain,” detailing the practice wheregovernment attempts to take private property for private businessdevelopment.

According to the institute, at least 311 private-to-private takingsinvolving eight separate development projects were filed or threatened inMichigan from 1998 to 2002. These cases, where a community files a lawsuitto force a property owner to accept a fee in return for the deed, includedDetroit developers such as casinos, relatives of the mayor, and sports teamowners, said the institute.

In addition, Michigan passed a bill in 2002 that revises the state’s eminentdomain laws and makes it easier to condemn individual properties andtransfer them to private developers, the institute said.

Michigan became notorious with the state’s Supreme Court decision in theinfamous Poletown case, in which the court allowed Detroit to hand over anentire neighborhood to General Motors for a privately operated automotiveplant, the institute said.

“That decision is cited nationwide to say that homes and businesses can betaken solely for another business,” the institute said in its recent pressrelease.

More than 3,700 lawsuits for property taking were filed across the countryin the last five years, said the institute.

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