Apple Valley to pay $13 million in legal fees for failed takeover attempt
Earlier this year, Truth from the Tap published a condemnation case study that featured Apple Valley, California and the condemnation battle that ensued when activists and local politicians tried to use eminent domain to take the infrastructure from the system’s owner, Liberty Utilities.
The newest development in this failed takeover attempt is going to end up hitting Apple Valley residents hard in the wallet. Just last week, as part of its final ruling, the Court ordered the Town of Apple Valley to reimburse Liberty for more than $13 million in legal fees and expenses caused by the erroneous takeover attempt. With a population of approximately 77,000, that translates to about $171 for every single resident – or about $500 for each household.
Apple Valley residents will also pay their own legal bills. The Town’s takeover attempt likely required millions of dollars – if not tens of millions of dollars. This money will either come from new taxes or transfers from existing government funds, potentially requiring cuts in local services.
The experience in Apple Valley serves as a cautionary tale for other communities considering condemnation efforts. The case study is available in the TFTT toolkit and in the TFTT condemnation microsite.