Douglas Holdings Inc. of North Little Rock, whose property is located near the site where the North Little Rock School Districts wants to build a new high school, denies the district has the power to exercise eminent domain in its attempt to take the company’s property on North Main Street.
In court filings made to the Pulaski County Circuit Court on Oct. 7, Douglas Holdings also disagrees with NLRSD’s contention that its principal place of business is 2305 Main St., North Little Rock.
“The principal place of business is known as 2300 Main North Little Rock which is the present location of Law Offices of Lisa Douglas, Inc. Lisa Douglas is the registered agent for Douglas Holdings, Inc. in Cabot, Arkansas,” reads Douglas Holdings’ answer to the district’s original motion.
Douglas Holding also disagrees that the district must acquire a portion of the property.
“Plaintiff seeks to take ‘18 parking spots’ from Defendant because the members of the school board simply allege Douglas Holdings, Inc. possesses too much property and therefore they feel entitled to take what they want under the auspices of “eminent domain” what they deem
as “excess.” It’s still defendant’s property, and the plaintiff cannot take it.”
Douglas Holdings states it disagrees with the district’s complaint.
“This taking is unnecessary to the NLRSD’s expansion plans,” according to Douglas Holdings.
The issue is a topic that should be taken up by a jury, according to the business.
“If defendant takes before trial, it does so at its peril subject to restoring the land and damages in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S . Constitution,” according to Douglas Holdings court filing. “Moreover, NLRSD must show this taking is ‘necessary,’ and they cannot.”
Douglas Holding also says NLRSD is wrong to say that both parties have been negotiating for months.
“Defendant denies that there have been months of negotiation as alleged,” Douglas Holdings states. “Initially, before their condemnation action against the Waffle House, a representative for the NLRSD approached Douglas and asked if the Waffle House might purchase the parking lot for their new location. Then Douglas was approached by this same person who allegedly represented the NLRSD school district in land acquisitions and was handed an appraisal and was told the school district needed to acquire more land so they would be eligible for more grant monies. At this time this representative presented an offer to purchase the entire one acre at 2300 Main St., North Little Rock. Douglas countered their offer and no one responded back.
“Then months after this encounter, this same representative approached Douglas and offered to purchase the parking lot of 2300 Main St. North Little Rock, Douglas countered their offer and no one responded back. Then months later, approximately two weeks ago, counsel for Plaintiff met with Douglas in her office and she was given yet another appraisal, this one diminishing the value of even the first appraisal and was essentially told they have the right to take the property under ‘eminent domain’ and they (the North Little Rock School District) will get the property. Douglas was told she had one week in which to respond, reject the offer outright or counter or suit would ensue. A counter offer was made and ignored.”
Douglas Holdings also contends a $50,000 offer isn’t just compensation.
“Defendant denies that plaintiff be given a right to enter and take Defendant 18 parking spots because they have not and cannot establish any necessity for the taking,” continues Douglas Holdings.
Douglas Holdings added that NLRSD has been limiting her options to rent out parking spaces to school personnel.
“This school year, employees of the plaintiff have prevented plaintiff from renting spaces on this parking lot to anyone who would be crossing the street to the school, and she claims damages from that. Essentially, the NLRSD has been attempting to assert control over this parking lot before attempting this taking.”
Douglas Holdings’ attorney in this case is John Wesley Hall of Little Rock.