On The Money: Rancho Dumps Redevelopment

Taxpayers Still On The Hook

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

  • Spike Murdock

    So the city is complaining. The taxpayers are on the hook for something they had no say in (a vote would have been nice!). Perhaps the people of Rancho Cordova should band together and get rid of their “local government”..

    • JusticeWarrior

      Agreed, the city should be footing the bill out of its OWN wallet.

  • New Blood

    Linda Budge…it is time for you to go. You have no vision.

  • Dayo Hagan

    Two words for those who really seek accountability: Curt Haven

  • G. Anderson

    This property owner is far from being a hero. He’s a slumlord who has abused the citizens and taxpayers of Rancho Cordova for far too long. Fong and the Lily company are disgraceful. This property has been a slum-like wreck for decades, polluting the local environment (literally). He should be in jail, not getting rewarded for his misdeeds.

    Thanks the incompetence of the State Legislature, and their need to steal local dollars to fund their unbalanced and bloated budget — these local tax dollars will now go to the slumlord as well.

    Great Work State Legislature! The bad guy wins agains!

    Credit belongs to the City for trying to make something positive out of this chronic mess and to those involved citizens who have backed this effort all along.

    • KarenTeague

      Excellent citizen viewpoint, that was not given equal voice in the original article which did gave voice to the writer’s opinion, the anti-eminent domain voice and City of Rancho Cordova Voice.

  • KarenTeague

    1 of 3: To Spike, JusticeWarrior, NewBlood, and people who feel Rancho Cordova City Hall’s leaders and government process have failed [referring to the eminent domain parcel on Folsom Boulevard and La Loma (a block west of Mather Field Road) across from the Mills Crossing Light Rail station]:

    Did you live near–or much less see–the parcel referenced in the CBS Channel 13 News piece (1-6-12, 6p post online) when the long-past-their-prime shopping center/building’s stood? I do. Did you see the hidious, 1960’s style, fire engine red, and sunburst yellow Weinerschnitzel building that stood on the corner of Folsom & La Loma with incredibly pathetic landscaping? I have. Ditto for the unmistakable Long John Silvers stand alone store/landscape; that, no matter how many times it changes commercial use, it still looks like a fast food building dropped out of the 70’s like a Wizard of Oz scene. The trifecta of ghettohood is complete with the ancient, self-serve car wash. Did you ever have to have a conversation with your teen daughter explaining that a portion of neighborhood she lives in is not safe for her to walk at night? I have.

    Cordova can not be taken as a serious contender for modern, desirable, chain restaurants like Romano’s Macaroni Grill (which our citizens voice frequently to their city newspaper and leaders), when Cordova parcels like this CBS News piece references don’t even look modern. If Cordova can’t attract quality retail, then how can Cordova even expect to attract quality home owners? It is a proven fact that quality residents generate quality schools, which in turn generate desirable neighborhoods.

    If the owners of the now embroiled eminent domain property took responsibility for keeping up with 21st century times in the first place, then our city leaders would not have had to act on behalf of the better interest of our city. This in not an undertaking an individual citizen can initiate, that is why we voted to become a city, and voted for the city council who make decisions–and acts–on our behalf.

    Cordova’s trustworthy civic leaders have instilled a man of impeccable character, accountability, and accessibility from the beginning, Curt Haven, Director of Economic Development. From personal citizen experience, his door is open, emails returned, and phone calls answered–even made! The same is true of my experience with the dedicated civil servants of Rancho’s City Council Members (& rotating mayors) David Sander, Linda Budge, Robert McGarvey, DanSkoglund, and Ken Cooley.

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