Peoplestown Residents Returned to Court With Evidence of City’s Unlawful Use of Eminent Domain to Displace Longterm Residents of Peoplestown
Peoplestown residents returned to court on Wednesday Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. before Judge Schwall seeking a rehearing based on newly discovered evidence. That evidence, an email authored by a City of Atlanta engineer, establishes that the City of Atlanta knew, BEFORE it demolished 21 of 27 homes on the block, that it did not need the property for its proposed flood mitigation project. This email was produced by the City in response to a discovery request 3 days after Judge Schwall ruled that the City needed the property. The delayed production of this highly relevant information is consistent with the culture at City Hall that has prompted the on-going investigation by the GBI.
Despite having produced more than 200,000 documents, the City has failed to produce evidence rebutting this internal Department of Watershed communication. Tanya Washington, a Peoplestown resident, said, “Had I gone to court and been presented with credible evidence that my house was needed for the City’s plans I would take the loss and move on. I wouldn’t be happy with the situation but at least I would know that there was a real reason for taking my home. But when a City employee documents that the homes are my block aren't necessary and there is NO evidence to the contrary I’m ready to go all the way to the Supreme Court for justice, and I SHALL NOT BE MOVED!
The outcome in these cases will create precedence that will either protect residents against these types of land grabs by the City or it will give the green light to city officials, authorizing them to steal peoples’ homes without following the law. The residents are asking "Housing Mayor" Keisha Lance Bottoms to drop the lawsuits against them.
From Tanya Washington:
"The Judge ordered the City of Atlanta to return to Court on Oct. 29 at 2:30 with the former City of Atlanta engineer who documented the lack of "technical data" and "engineering validation" to justify the taking of homes on our block. We are looking forward to this hearing which will establish that THE CITY OF ATLANTA'S USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN IS ILLEGAL!
This is a VICTORY that proves 3 incontrovertible truths: WHEN YOU FIGHT YOU WIN, COMMUNITY IS A VERB & COURAGE IS CONTAGIOUS! Thank you for standing with us!"
Right now as more residents in Washington Park, Vine City, and English ave we are asking folks to continue to call the Mayor and ask her not to use eminent domain to forceably take peoples homes for development projects.