About six months ago, I wrote a blog post asking whether local governments would use eminent domain to condemn underwater mortgages or homes in Florida. Then, late last year, I updated the August 2012 blog post for the ABA’s Condemnation, Zoning & Land Use Litigation Committee, adding information about the actions of various political players and an analysis of the impact of condemnation of underwater mortgages or homes. In my December 2012 update, I also commented on the decision of the Homeownership Protection Program Joint Powers Authority — the entity created by San Bernardino County and the cities of Fontana, California and Ontario, California to study, develop, and carry out the underwater mortgage condemnation plan — to cancel its October 25, 2012 meeting because of an expected lack of quorum. If you read the post (go on, tell me you did!), then you may well remember that I mentioned that the next meeting of the Joint Powers Authority was scheduled for January 24, 2013.
January 24, 2013 has come and gone. The Joint Powers Authority met…and has decided to abandon any further consideration of the use of eminent domain to acquire underwater mortgages, as reported in The Wall Street Journal on January 25, 2013. But, as also reported in The Wall Street Journal article, thirty communities around the nation are still considering the use of eminent domain to acquire underwater mortgages. Indeed, according to The Wall Street Journal, the mayor of one of the cities that was part of the Joint Powers Authority — Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren — said that the city will continue to consider the use of eminent domain to address its foreclosure situation. As a result, the possibility remains that local governments in the United States will use eminent domain to acquire underwater mortgages or homes. Stay tuned to our blog for developments.