ON-Lion Letter
In perhaps the most-striking example of a disturbing national trend, Dallas developer H. Walker Royall has launched a lawsuit spree to silence any media or public-affairs commentator who dares expose his attempted abuse of eminent domain.  Similar suits have been filed in Tennessee, Missouri, and elsewhere by developers and governments looking to silence critics of eminent domain for private gain. 

Royall worked with the city of Freeport, Tex., to try to condemn a generations-old shrimp business owned by the Gore family to make way for a luxury marina.  The project became the subject of the Encounter book, Bulldozed: "Kelo," Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land, authored by veteran legal journalist Carla Main.  Bulldozed tells the story of Freeport’s plan to take the Gores' waterfront property for Royall's luxury marina development project. 

Only hours after the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Kelo v. City of New London decision on eminent-domain abuse, the city instructed its attorneys to redouble their efforts to seize the Gore family business.  Bulldozed unravels why, after years of litigation, the threat of condemnation continues to hang over the Gores.  The book was reviewed in many newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, was nominated for the Texas Historical Commission's annual T.R. Fehrenbach Book Award, and won a highly competitive independent-press award for political-science writing.

After journalist Main wrote her book exposing the Freeport land grab, Royall sued her and Encounter Books for defamation.  He even sued nationally renowned University of Chicago Law School professor Richard Epstein, who wrote a blurb for the book’s dust jacket.  When someone reviewed the book, he sued him.  When a newspaper ran that review, he sued the newspaper.

In December, the Institute for Justice Texas Chapter filed a notice of appearance with the Dallas County District Court in order to vindicate the right of Main, Encounter, and Epstein to freely debate eminent-domain abuse.

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, as is the Institute for Justice.
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