Many Private Use Condemnations Go Unreported
Connecticut apparently is the only state that breaks the total condemnation numbers down in a meaningful way by separately reporting redevelopment condemnations. Redevelopment condemnations are almost always condemnations for private development, so it is a good proxy for private use condemnations.1 For fiscal years 1998-2002, Connecticut reported that 543 out of a total of 1,819 condemnations were for redevelopment. Of those 543, only 31 appear in published reports or in court documents we received. In other words, at least in Connecticut, there were 17.5 private use condemnations that went unreported for every one that appeared in the newspaper.
Redevelopment designations make up 29 percent, or just over one-quarter of Connecticut’s total condemnations. Only 23 states report any information on total condemnation case numbers. Taken together, those 23 states reported a total of 46,213 condemnations of all types between 1998 and 2002. One-quarter would be 11,553 just for those 23 states. Of course, some states may have no private use condemnations at all while others may have more than one-quarter. But Connecticut’s numbers provide a small window showing that the numbers in this report really are just the tip of a very large iceberg.
State Highway 1,189
Other State and Municipal 27
Public Utilities 4
All Other 56
1 It is possible that some redevelopment condemnations could actually be for roads or public buildings, and it is also possible that a few private use condemnations are sprinkled in the “other” categories. Still, redevelopment condemnations are a likely approximation of Connecticut condemnations that benefit private parties.