Arlington, Va.—Today, Joy Gamble, who with her husband, Carl, successfully fought before the Ohio Supreme Court to save their home of 35 years from eminent domain abuse, announced that she and Carl have agreed to sell their home in Norwood to Rookwood Partners, the redevelopment group spearheaded by Cincinnati-based developer Jeffrey Anderson. Carl’s serious health problems will not allow them to return to their home. The Gambles owned their home since 1969 but were forced out under the threat of eminent domain in February of 2005. Since then, the Gambles have been living in Northern Kentucky, first in their daughter’s finished basement, then in a small, one-bedroom apartment. Since late December of 2006, Carl has been hospitalized; he is being treated for, among other things, cancer and heart and lung problems.
Joy issued the following statement through her attorneys at the Institute for Justice, which represented the couple in their fight:
“All Carl and I ever wanted to was save our home and move back into it. It was the first and only home we’ve ever owned. Unfortunately, during our long battle, both Carl and I have endured serious medical problems. I was diagnosed with cancer, and am still being treated. Carl has also been diagnosed with cancer, and has serious heart and lung problems that have kept him hospitalized since the beginning of the year.”
Joy continued, “The main thing that’s kept us going these past couple of years is the thought of moving back into our home. Now, however, Carl will never be able to go back there because of his health, and I just can’t go back there without him. Fixing up the home would be difficult even if we were both in the best of health: since we were forced out two years ago, there has been tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to it. At this point, all of my energy is devoted to taking care of Carl. My only immediate plans are to keep taking care of him.”
Joy concluded, “I want everyone to know that we fought our battle because we deeply believe that it’s wrong for cities to force hard-working people from their homes just so politically connected developers can make money. We fought not just for us, but for every home and small business owner in Ohio and the rest of the country. If the City of Norwood and Anderson hadn’t forced us to leave our home, we’d still be there today, and facing the hardships of the past couple years would have been much easier.”
Bert Gall, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, said, “If Carl and Joy could go back home, they would do it in a heartbeat, but Carl’s condition doesn’t allow it. It is tragic that Anderson and the City needlessly made them leave the home they loved so much.”
“Carl and Joy Gamble courageously fought to save their home from eminent domain abuse, and they are true American heroes,” said Scott Bullock, an Institute for Justice senior attorney. “Because of their fight, Ohioans now have much stronger protections against eminent domain abuse.”
On July 26, 2006, in Norwood v. Horney, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously held that Norwood’s attempt to take the Gambles’ home for Anderson’s private development project violated the Ohio constitution. The Court specifically rejected the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, which held that cities may condemn property and give it to a new private owner who can make more money with the land. Norwood v. Horney was the first private use eminent domain case to be argued before and decided by a state supreme court in the wake of the Kelo decision.
Under the terms of the agreement, Rookwood Partners is paying the Gambles $650,000 for the purchase of their home. Any further litigation regarding the damage to the home caused by Rookwood during its possession of the property will be terminated. No agreements have been reached regarding the rental home of Joe Horney and the small business of Matthew and Sanae Ichikawa Burton.