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Homeowners sue Mount Pleasant over land for Foxconn

A dozen people slated to lose their homes to Foxconn are suing the Village of Mount Pleasant and Village President, Dave De Groot. The civil lawsuit was filed Monday in United States District Court.

Twelve people are suing over seven properties in the Foxconn development area.

All together Rodney Jenson, Michael and Mary Schmidt, Roger Sturycz, Alfredo and Erlinda Ortiz, Todd and Tracey Blodgett, Joseph and Kimberly Janicek and Constance and Richard Richards own over 18 acres of land. The entire Foxconn project will be 2,900 acres.

According to the lawsuit, the land these homes are on will be used for the Foxconn plant, future use, or roads and utilities.

The complaint references Wis. Stat. § 32.03(6)(b) Property that is not blighted property may not be acquired by condemnation by an entity authorized to condemn property under s. 32.02 (1) or (11) if the condemnor intends to convey or lease the acquired property to a private entity.

The document states the staute "was intended to prevent government from taking private property for the direct benefit and convenience of private enterprise."

The lawsuit lays out four reasons the dozen plaintiffs are suing:

First, the Plaintiffs' land and homes are being taken by the Defendants for the benefit of a private corporation which intends to build an electronics factory on part of the land taken from the Plaintiffs, and the factory will be served by expanded roads and utilities built on part of the land taken from Plaintiffs. Second, the private corporation, which has a history of polluting, has been exempted from fundamental environmental requirements, such as creating an environmental impact statement and wetland permitting. Third, the Defendants propose to pay the Plaintiffs a fraction of the compensation that is being paid, or has been paid to Plaintiffs' similarly situated neighbors. Lastly, the Plaintiffs' property is being taken for a nonpublic purpose.

The lawsuit says all four violate the equal protection clause and due process clause of the fourteenth amendment.

The plaintiffs say they are not being offered a fair financial compensation for their properies, saying some of their neighbors were offered 7 to 10 times the amount they're being offered.

The complaint states in October 2017, most plaintiffs recevied letters from the Village of Mount Pleasant indicating their land would be acquired for Foxconn, and it claims the village would not expand roads or utilities if not for Foxconn and the Foxconn project size and type make it a de facto private purchase.

The lawsuit also says Foxconn will harm the environment by disrupting the area and likely polluting it. Even if they're displaced, the plaintiffs plan to live in community. It states they will still be affected, causing possibly harm to health and the environment. The document goes on to describe the plaintiffs use the land to snowmobile, boat, garden, walk dogs, hike, have outdoor family events, swim, fish, hunt, and enjoy simple things like sunsets.

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