These days, Carl Paladino is talking about using eminent domain to keep an Islamic Cultural Center out of Lower Manhattan.
This stance puts him at odds with most of his Tea Party supporters, who view eminent domain as an over-reach by the government.
But as a developer, Paladino was not against using hard-ball tactics to get what he wanted. An April 28, 1999 story from the Syracuse Post-Standard (sorry, no link) about “urban dwellers..across the Northeast who are being swept up in a David and Goliath struggle that pits city residents against corporate drug store chains” details how, as a developer, Paladino build the first large-scale Rite-Aid in the Syracuse area that was designed to compete with an Eckerd across the street.
To get the store built, Paladino “had to knock down five buildings, including a floral shop, an Asian grocery store, a car wash, an apartment building and a bar widely despised by neighbors for its fights and drugs.”
To get another 11,000 square feet Rite-Aid built on the other side of town, the article says that Paladino wanted to bulldoze eight buildings, leading to a mini-revolt in the neighborhood.
He offered one resident in the building’s path $70,000 to sell, far more than his house was worth. The home-owner, 85-year-old Alexander Hunter, refused.
“I told him I didn’t care if it were $100,000. I’ve been in this house for over 50 years and I don’t want to sell,” Hunter is quoted as saying.
The article goes on to say that after that point Paladino tried stronger tactics:
After Hunter refused to sell, Paladino submitted a plan to the city planning commission that made Hunter’s house an island surrounded by asphalt. On one side of Hunter’s house was a parking lot. On the other was the drive-through lane.
In the end, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied the proposal, ruling that lots zoned residential are not suitable for commercial use.