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On The Money: Rancho Dumps Redevelopment

Taxpayers Still On The Hook
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RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — Rancho Cordova is believed to be the first California city to abandon a project after the California Supreme Court has ruled that Redevelopment Agencies can be abolished.

The property is a 9-acre lot located on Folsom Blvd. in Rancho Cordova, near the Mills Crossing Light Rail station. The city wanted to put a community college there.

los rios2 On The Money: Rancho Dumps Redevelopment

Instead, taxpayers will get nothing but a projected million dollar legal bill. Rancho Cordova used eminent domain to take over an empty lot owned by Sam Fong. The city was prepared to spend millions of dollars to purchase the property, but now is walking away

“The Supreme Court decided the case for us,” said Troy Holt, a public information officer with Rancho Cordova. He added, “We have no other option but to abandon that legal action.”

That means abandoning the property – but not before sticking taxpayers with a big legal bill.

The bill must be paid to the Lily Company, the legal entity that owns the property and took the city to court, on behalf of Sam Fong.

“His legal costs are up to a million dollars and that means the taxpayers of Rancho Cordova are on the hook,” stated Marko Mlikotin of the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights.

Taxpayers are on the hook for a redevelopment project that could have produced a new community college – but with the abolishment of redevelopment agencies, this project – and others are suspended.

Did the taxpayers get a good return on their investment?

“The Supreme Court decision made sure that did not happen,” Troy Holt said.

The city is blaming the mess on the Supreme Court decision – a ruling that private property rights activists are celebrating.

“This is a big victory for all Californians,” said Marko Mlikotin. “It protects taxpayers. And it protects property owners from this kind of eminent domain abuse.”

Rancho Cordova says it’s still committed to the idea of landing a community college – it will just have to be elsewhere.

Send your story ideas to onthemoney@kovr.com. You can also follow On The Money stories in progress via Twitter at https://twitter.com/mikeluery and via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CBS13OnTheMoney

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