Gyrodyne Investors Criticize Eminent Domain Defense

According to Newsday’s James Bernstein "Investors Seek Leadership Changes" http://www.newsday.com/services/newspaper/printedition/tuesday/business/ny-bzgyro275477752nov27,0,5643938.story, Gyrodyne Company of America faces a challenge from a hedge fund to put new directors on the board.  Bulldog Investors of Saddle Brook, New Jersey holds 17% of Gyrodyne stock.

Bernstein shows the integral part that the eminent domain sought by the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in setting the stage for this fight for control of Gyrodyne

"Bulldog said Gyrodyne has made "no progress" in its attempts to receive "fair market value" for a 245-acre St. James parcel of Gyrodyne’s that the State University of New York seized under an eminent domain claim in 2005.

The state offered Gyrodyne $26.3 million for the property abutting the Stony Brook University campus. Gyrodyne rejected the offer, and the state seized the land. Stony Brook is proceeding with plans to develop a Center of Excellence in Wireless Information Technology."

I find this mystifying.  How is it Gyrodyne managment’s fault that the state exercised its "despotic power" of eminent domain?  Aren’t Gyrodyne’s management and shareholders the victims of the Flowerfields land grab.

As a Libertarian Party leader and activist against eminent domain, I found this doubly interesting as I had spoken out against the taking of Flowerfields.  See http://www.cablevisioneditorials.com/content/LI/2004/LI_2004-09-21.html  "The Libertarian Party opposes eminent domain weed in Flowerfield. Once again, the state is being called upon to condemn private property and turn it over to others in the name of a public purpose. We reject this aggrandizement by S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook, which sits on a vast campus. These high-tech centers should be funded by the corporations they benefit, not the taxpayer. The centers seem to be fronts for particular firms. Libertarians oppose such corporate welfare. If they want to acquire land, they should buy it from voluntary sellers in the marketplace at the market price. The state should defend private property rights, not assault them. Without property rights, no one has property values."

Currently, my alma mater, Columbia University seeks to acquire land for a new science and biotechnology campus in the West Harlem section of Manhattan, a neighborhood known as Manhattanville.  See on www.groundreport.com "Columbia University Eminent Domain In Harlem Condemned By Libertarian Alumni"  http://www.groundreport.com/article.php?articleID=2835310

In the Columbia versus Harlem eminent domain case as in so many others, some people fold and take the offer with the threat of eminent domain hanging over them.  I cannot fault them for not fighting a long and uncertain fight.

It seems to me that the Bulldog investors in Gyrodyne are not being fair.  I am familiar with the Eminent Domain Procedure Law in New York State.  It is not easy for property-owners  to prevail.