Former city official angry about city's plans to grab his land - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Former city official angry about city's plans to grab his land

A Memphis insurance salesman and former city council member is fighting tonight for a piece of land the city may take from him.

The lot is on Looney Street in Uptown Memphis.

Right now, Fred Davis owns the land, but could lose it to the city if he doesn't sell it outright.

Davis has owned this land nearly 20 years. Tonight, the City of Memphis is threatening to take it from him if he doesn't do something with it.

Davis was a charter member of the Memphis City Council and served on the housing and community development committee.

The city recently sent him a letter telling him he needed to either clean up the property or sell it to them.

But Davis, who bought the land for $53,000 in 1989 is angry that the property assessor now appraises it at just more than $16,000.

If Davis doesn't sell, the city is threatening to seize it under the eminent domain law.

That law allows the government to take property for public use.

"Eminent domain, many times, has been legitimately used. But when you're gonna use the power of eminent domain in order to acquire the property to give it to somebody else to develop and then sell to somebody else, I've got a problem with that," said Davis.

Housing Director Robert Lipscomb says the city has invested nearly $200 million and ten years revitalizing the Uptown area and they need to continue bringing investment to the area.

While today was Davis' deadline to respond to the city's order, he says he honestly doesn't know how he can resolve this problem.


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