Legal scholar Marc Edelman argues that the Orlando taking is consistent with Florida court decisions holding that sports stadiums are a legitimate “public purpose.” But he ignores the fact that Florida, like many states, sets tougher public use requirements for the use of eminent domain than for the appropriation of public funds; the cases he cites upheld the latter. Edelman also does not consider the relevance of Florida’s tough post-Kelo eminent domain reform law.
As long-time VC readers know, I am a big sports fan myself. Unlike some more traditional US sports fans, I even like soccer. But professional sports teams should pay for their own stadiums, and should not rely on government subsidies – including the use of eminent domain to take property from unwilling owners.
NOTE: I am grateful to Orlando Sentinel reporter Mark Schlueb, who has been covering this issue, for providing me with information about the planned ownership status of the stadium, and about the property owners’ failure to contest the public use issue.