New York officials probably won’t take my advice, since seizing Trump’s property might appear partisan. (Manhattanites voted against Trump by about 10 to 1.) But, according to almost every eminent-domain scholar and land-use lawyer I consulted, if the city tried my strategy, courts would probably uphold it.
The city doesn’t need to prove that Trump Tower is derelict to declare it “blighted”; the mere fact that it’s hindering traffic, impeding commerce and draining the public fisc could be sufficient. Then officials just need to find some alternate use for the property — perhaps a Hamilton memorial? — that they could reasonably believe better serves the city’s interests.
Finally, if the city were especially cheap (and cheeky), it could declare Trump’s active residence in Trump Tower a “public nuisance.”
Lots of liberal elites believe our president-elect is a nuisance. In this case, though, the term has a specific legal meaning: any activity or physical condition that “obstructs, damages or inconveniences the rights of a community.” Crackhouses, brothels, foul smells and blocking of rights of way are common examples. So too might be scuppering one of the world’s top shopping destinations and placing a big ol’ terrorism target on its back.
The best part about this “public nuisance” strategy (besides its name)? The city could condemn Trump Tower without having to pay Trump “just compensation.” It wouldn’t owe him a dime, in fact.