Eminent Domain Land Grab Would Wipe Out Small Business Owned For Over 25 Years

Nasrin Kholghy and her family could soon lose their carpet store to eminent domain abuse, after 25 years at their prime location in Glendale, Colo. To rally opposition to this government land grab and to support the Constitution, Nasrin’s family will host a “Blighted” Block Party on June 13 from 3pm to 6pm at their store, Authentic Persian and Oriental Rugs, located at 550 S. Colorado Boulevard.

The Kholghys’ property is not for sale—but the city wants to give it to a Houston-based developer for an entertainment district. Earlier this month, over 100 people protested this land grab, and packed a city council hearing to show their opposition. Despite this public show of support for the Kholghys, the council voted unanimously to give the Glendale Urban Renewal Authority the power to take their land.

Read More: Denver Suburb Drops Eminent Domain from Redevelopment Plan After Citizen Outcry

For about a decade, Nasrin and her family have wanted to redevelop their property—but the city stopped their efforts, claiming they wanted to collaborate on a development with the family. Now the city has chosen a different developer for the property. “I want the city to leave us alone, let us develop our own,” Nasrin said. “That’s all I want.”

Glendale wants to turn the family’s and surrounding property into a $175 million, 300,000–square-foot entertainment complex known as Glendale 180.

The very much not blighted Kholghy family business.

The very much not blighted Kholghy family business.

Back in 2013, the city designated the targeted area as “blighted” to exploit a loophole in state law. After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld condemning a neighborhood for private gain in Kelo v. New London, over 40 states, including Colorado, reformed their eminent domain laws. But in Colorado, the state allows the government to seize properties declared “blighted,” while the criteria for blight can be vague, opening the door for abuse.

Read More: What are the Eminent Domain Laws in Your State?

One of the loudest backers of Glendale 180 is Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon. Dunafon is a self-proclaimed Tea Party politician who even quoted the libertarian writer Jim Bovard on his Twitter feed: “Democracy should be more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”

During the hearing, one of the Kholghys’ customers threw those remarks right back at the mayor: “I would like to suggest that’s exactly what two or more wolves are doing here, looking at the Kholghys as if they’re sheep for dinner.”

Working with the Institute for Justice and grassroots activists, the Kholghy family will not rest until Glendale respects their constitutional right to keep what they’ve worked so hard to own.

— Nick Sibilla

Nick Sibilla is a writer at the Institute for Justice

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