Roanoke's Eminent-Domain Shame; Government Land Grab Undermines Private Property
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
If only we could abolish corporate greed and replace it with caring government programs and public-spirited non-profit service providers, our health care problems will be solved. That's the plan anyway, but those who are depending on it might need to remember one thing: Corporations aren't greedy. People are. And unfortunately people are a necessary ingredient in all the intricate plans being hatched in Congress and shaped by the White House.
Western Virginia's Roanoke provides a perfect example of how health care, non-profits and government can run amok in ways that feature all the ills Democrats blame on corporations.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Roanoke's nonprofit Carilion Clinic launched mergers to increase market share, gave a multimillion lump sum retirement package to one executive and million dollar salaries to others just like a for-profit company, only Carilion's activities benefited from a nice tax exemption worth around $50 million a year. Carilion's clout grew just like a big business as it became a top regional employer and expanded dozens of subsidiaries as far from nonprofit health care as a venture capital group.
And that expansion brought in the government. With a billion dollars in assets, Carilion is just the kind of powerful corporate citizen to which local governments often cater. So when Carilion decided it wanted to expand into an area surrounded by other businesses, the city was willing to do almost anything to help them do it. Launched in secret meetings code named Andy's Warehouse, the city put in motion plans to hijack the land using the power of eminent domain.
With the scheme in place, an independent consultant conveniently declared the land blighted so that the city housing and redevelopment authority could start stripping property from more than two dozen of its rightful owners. …