Developers and politicians: Just give us your land and shut your mouth 

It turns out that the same folks who like using government to steal people's land also seem to like using government to silence their critics.

Author Carla Main recently got cleared by an appeals court after she was convicted of defaming developer Walker Royall. Here's the background, from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

"Bulldozed," a non-fiction book published in October 2007, is critical of the government’s taking of private land through eminent domain for private use. Part of the book tells the story of the Western Seafood Co., a family-owned shrimp processing business in Freeport, Texas, that fought the city’s plans to use it and other waterfront property to build a private yacht marina. The book also discusses the city’s agreement with Royall, a commercial real estate developer, to develop and operate the marina.

Main attempted to contact Royall multiple times to give him a chance to tell his side of the story in her book, but he refused comment. After the book was published, Royall filed a lawsuit in October 2008 against Main, her publisher, the newspaper that printed a review of her book, the author of the review and a Chicago professor who wrote a paragraph for the back of the book.

Then there's the City of St. Louis, which was stealing enough land for private development that on landowner put up a big mural on his own building saying "End Eminent Domain Abuse." The City said this sign was illegal because it was too political.

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Timothy P. Carney

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