Author Archive | Michael Rikon

Condemnation Award of $669,00 Made for Staten Island Wetlands

The Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed an award of $669,00 made by Justice Wayne P. Saitta.  Matter of City of New York, New Creek Bluebelt (Galarza). This condemnation case involved the taking of a vacant 21,000 square foot lot in Staten Island which was designated 100% wetlands. The former property owner Ivan Galarza retained Goldstein, Rikon, Rikon & Levi, P.C.  The Manhattan law firm was founded in 1923 and limits its practice to eminent domain – condemnation matters. Wetland cases present difficult legal and valuation issues. As Justice Saitta wrote:… read more

Posted in Increment, Valuation, Wetlands
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Did You Hear About the One Where a Group of Squatters Were Given Title to the Buildings They Occupied?

I read a story in a newspaper published by Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., a well known and very successful real estate attorney.  Adam related the story of a group of building squatters that had broken into abandoned buildings on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and made them livable enough for small groups.  Mr. Bailey banned the word “Squatter” after beginning to work with them, “as they had a right to be living there – brought certain skills to bear.”  But there is no explanation of how these squatters “had… read more

Posted in Squatters, Title to Occupied Property
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Paying Big Bucks in Colorado – No Sheep

The Town of Vail wants to protect its bighorn sheep.  It seems two were recently struck by vehicles. Meanwhile, the toney Vail resort wants to build workforce housing on land that it owns in East Vail, but the Town is not in favor. What to do?  Well, condemn the 23 acres to prevent any development.  This is not the first ski resort condemnation.  Telluride stopped development.  Telluride condemned 572 acres to block development of proposed luxury homes.  The Town offered the developer $26 million.  The developer wanted $51 million.  A… read more

Posted in Bighorn Sheep, Highest and Best Use, Vail
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Chaining Yourself to a Tree Just Won’t Work: Relocating Condemnees.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s announcement to construct two new toll roads as part of a $5 billion expansion of the turnpike system brought pledges of refusing to cooperate if the Authority is awarded the land.  Residents are considering chaining themselves to tress, bulldozers or simply refusing to leave. According to an article published in “The Noman Transcript,” Oklahoma: Before an eviction order, if a landowner does not cooperate with the court’s ruling, the OTA could seek an injunction to order the person from “interfering with their (OTA’s) property rights,” Gray… read more

Posted in Eminent Domain, Eviction, Writ of Assistance
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Independent Appraiser Does Not Mean Biased Assessor

Matthew Clifford, Esq., an outstanding condemnation and tax cert lawyer, was enough to send a recent Putnam County Supreme Court decision, LAK 3, LLC v Board of Assessors, et ano of Town of Carmel, Index No. 501685/2019 Filed 02/14/2022. The case involved a tax reduction petition to reduce the assessment on 41 Averill Drive, a single-family residence near Lake Mahopac.  In 2017, the property had an assessed value of $1,011,000.  In 2018, the assessment was increased to $2,816,500.  In 2019, that assessed value was increased to $2,934,000.  The Petitioner retained… read more

Posted in Court Rules, Credibility, Independent Appraiser, Tax Assessment
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