WHO: Susette Kelo
WHAT: The notorious New London, Conn., acreage that established the principle of giving cities the right to use eminent domain to take property for private development remains a weedy and junk-strewn vacant lot five years later. The promised building boom that was supposed to create 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenue never materialized.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Kelo, the lead plaintiff in the landmark property rights case, fought for years all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to save her quaint pink cottage. In 2005, justices ruled 5-4 against her and six other homeowners. “I don’t think this is what the United States Supreme Court justices had in mind,” Kelo said about the empty eyesore.
WHY IT HAPPENED: Supporters of the ambitious failure blame the economy. Kelo and other opponents call it “poetic justice.”