Pittsburgh provokes property rights confrontation, Vote threatens Pittsburgh Wool Company

John Kramer
John Kramer · August 11, 1999

Washington, D.C.-The City of Pittsburgh today moved closer to provoking a heated legal fight when the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority authorized a declaration of taking to take the property of Roy and Jeff Kumer, owners of the Pittsburgh Wool Co. in order to provide a new warehouse space for the H.J. Heinz Company. The declaration of taking can be issued anytime after today. The Kumers will have 30 days to respond to any declaration of taking.

“The city’s resolve to take the Kumer’s property demonstrates its lack of respect for the rights of small property owners throughout Pittsburgh ,” said Chip Mellor, president of the Institute for Justice, which is representing the Kumers. “I’m surprised that the Heinz Co., which depends on such customers to buy its products, would want any part of this.”

“The declaration of taking could bring three generations of growth, success and contributions to the community to a screeching halt,” said Dana Berliner, senior attorney at the Institute For Justice.

“This sends a bad message to businesses wanting to relocate to Pittsburgh and it is going to have a ripple effect,” said Jeff Kumer, “This will certainly handicap our governor as he attempts to persuade other global businesses to move to Pennsylvania.”