Small Business Owners Sue City Lawmakers, Send Scary Message

Jun 5, 2024

Three small business owners in Brentwood, Missouri, are suing their local government for allegedly making a deal that could financially cripple mom-and-pop shops.

Lawmakers in Brentwood are threatening eminent domain to force businesses out of a major roadway to make way for a multimillion-dollar development plan that could allegedly bring in “new revenue” while destroying small businesses, according to Fox News. The developer behind the project is Green Street, whose members have allegedly estimated that the new project could generate $266 million in new revenue over the coming 25 years, despite financial projections being impossible to track that far ahead.

“All the politicians say every day on the news how great we are, but when we’re in their way, we’re not so great,” the President of Feather-Craft Fly Fishing, Bob Story, told Fox News. “You can be a part of a community for 30-plus years and be treated like you’re worthless.”

American Legacies

“The business is my heart and soul,” Story continued. “I’ve been working with my dad since my earliest memories. It’s just been a dream come true for me as a lifelong passionate fly-fisher.” Story’s business tracks back to 1955, before moving to the major roadway location in 1989. Over the 35 years it has been at the location, Story’s family has “invested tens of thousands of dollars and long work days into the store, which has grown exponentially since moving to its current location. The shop originally only occupied half of the building it’s in, but now takes up the whole space, and the business even started an online retail store in recent years,” Fox wrote in their coverage. (LEARN MORE: Nearly 1 in 3 US Retirees Considering Work As Economy Drops)

“I can tell you, there was a lot of 70-, 80-hour weeks working nights to build out, particularly the warehouse and the shop,” Story explained. “The investment and time is huge.” Duplicating his business elsewhere seems “daunting” for both financial and practical reasons. It would also be a huge interruption to Story’s course of business.

It Could Happen Anywhere

Green Street is ready to grab some 40 acres on both sides of the road where the businesses are located. Its members plan to build apartments, condos, a hotel, and other establishments throughout the area. The current owners seem to have been told that they can either sell willingly or be forced out by eminent domain, a highly political-legal process.

“If it hasn’t happened to you yet, just wait,” Convergence Dance and Body Center owner Roxanne Maier said of the situation. “We have to care about this, because this will not change unless we do something about it. This will not change unless we stand up.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 5-4 favor of cities using eminent domain in the Kelo vs. New London case, but some states have taken the initiative to provide residents with freedom from private corporate takeovers. (LEARN MORE: Democratic City Alderman Says Open Border Caused Crime Surge)

Protecting Your Freedoms

State law in Missouri allows local governments to seize privately-owned property that lawmakers deem “unsanitary or unsafe conditions, deterioration of site improvements” and for factors that present “economic or social liability.”

The proposed development site underwent a massive revamp in 2019 with a $95 million flood mitigation project. “They beautified a long stretch of Manchester Road,” Convergence Dance and Body Center co-owner Carter Maier noted. “That low area of Manchester Road was in a floodplain, and they did a huge amount of work mitigating the flood.” (LEARN MORE: 55% Know Biden’s Policies Will Make Economy Worse)

But the lawmakers in Brentwood want to label the entire city as “blighted” despite this likely not being wholly true. Business owners say that these decisions from lawmakers made “no sense.” “It also made us feel extremely vulnerable and powerless,” the same business owner noted.

Bad Politicians Hurt Us All

Our nation is at a crossroads, dealing with pivotal issues that directly impact your daily lives – from ensuring fair and secure elections to fighting against inflation and advocating for secure borders. The strength of our community, the rights of our parents, and the protection of girls’ sports are not just political issues; they are the fabric of our society. It’s time to take a stand against crime, reform our institutions, and ensure the prosperity and security of our nation. (LEARN MORE: State Finds County Violated Election Law In 2022)

Did you know that you, your family, and friends can send letters directly to your elected officials today? We can tell your leaders what you want from their time in office, and what you expect from our federal government. Letter-writing campaigns, or even just a single letter, can be enough to sway policy and create positive change. And if your lawmakers aren’t doing what you demand of them, you can vote them out of office and out of your life forever.

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