For Immediate Release
November 24, 2014
NJ Libertarian Party Urges Vineland
Residents Not to Seize Judge’s Home
A Faulkner Act Petition has been created that will use eminent domain to seize the Vineland home of Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez for the purposes of erecting a hotel with a restaurant with the name of “Just Desserts.”
Judge Julio Mendez recently decided that eminent domain can be used by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to seize the property of Charles Birnbaum despite no public use threshold or specific plans for the property.
The original rationale the CRDA gave for wanting Mr. Birnbaum's property was to “complement the new Revel Casino and assist with the demands created by the resort.” The Revel Casino has closed, yet the CRDA has continued with their proceedings against Mr. Birnbaum’s property. Charles Birnbaum runs a piano repair workshop out of his property in Atlantic City and rents the other two floors to longtime residents. Judge Mendez's decision may very well result in Mr. Brinbaum losing his property and his business.
Block 4501, Lot 25 in Vineland NJ is the home of Judge Mendez and his wife. They have owned the home since 2002.
Judge Mendez has ignored constitutional issues in allowing the seizure of Mr. Birnbaum’s property. After years of eminent domain abuse, the Supreme Court of New Jersey in Gallenthin v. Paulsboro has required “blight” to be proven before seizure of property. No evidence of blight was presented by the CRDA.
Our Constitution restricts government redevelopment to "blighted areas." N.J. Const. art VIII, § 3, ¶ 1. That limitation reflects the will of the People regarding the appropriate balance between municipal redevelopment and property owners' rights. The New Jersey Constitution does not permit government redevelopment of private property solely because the property is not used in an optimal manner. – Supreme Court of NJ, Gallenthin v. Paulsboro
The New Jersey Libertarian Party stands against all forms of eminent domain. While “The People of Vineland Seeking to Develop Block 4501, Lot 25” may, according to Judge Mendez, be legally justified in seeking the seizure of Judge Mendez’s home they are not morally justified. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
The NJ Libertarian Party urges both the CRDA and “The People of Vineland Seeking to Develop Block 4501, Lot 25” to abandon their immoral efforts.