Eminent Domain Abuse: Jersey Joust

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: We continue our series tonight about eminent domain abuse across the United States. Now over the past few months we have told you about stories from California to Florida to Michigan and everywhere in between where American citizens are fighting to hold on to their own homes and businesses.

Now tonight's story takes us to Long Branch, New Jersey where dozen was residents are fighting a redevelopment plan that could leave them homeless. But, make no mistake, if it can happen to them, it can happen to you:


ANNA DEFARIA, LOSING HER HOME: I'm 80 years old. My husband's gone nine years already. The Lord took him. And I have a problem with the eminent domain abuse. I think it's criminal. I think it's unfair, unjust and I don't know where I'm going to go.

DENISE HOAGLAND, LOSING HER HOME: My first reaction was very devastating because at the time I had a brother in Iraq. And my first response was here I have a brother fighting for the rights of other people, and his sister's rights are being taken from her.

It's the government and the city. They can do what they want. Well, you know, no, they can't do what they want. They can't just take your property and hand it over to a private developer in order to fund their interests. It's ludicrous.

AL VIVIANO, LOSING HIS HOME: I'm 93 years old --within another couple of days or a week. --This house means I would have grandchildren and great grandchildren and we have at least, oh, maybe 60 or 70 nieces and nephews who's all enjoyed this here.

Eminent domain can come in and take our house. It was brand-new. But eminent domain according to the court, the Supreme Court there in Connecticut. It's not right. I'm here 75 years. Now all of a sudden at my age I got to get the hell out of here because a developer come in and put that.

LOUIS ANZELONE, LOSING HIS HOME: I lived in here since the first time I bought it. I renovated. I winterized it I did everything. And I will bless this house — because I'm able to be 89 years old.


ANZELONE: And my wife is 89. Now the city decides that this is a nice place for someone else. So they are throwing us out. I don't want to leave it. They're going to have to fight to get me out.


HANNITY: We also heard from the mayor of Long Branch, who has been pushing this plan. Here's how he tried to defend the city's position.


ADAM SCHNEIDER, MAYOR, LONG BEACH: They can't stay in their house now. The legal fight is going to take place. I believe they're going to lose. When that happens it's only going to be a valuation issue.

I'd like to see them, before that legal fight, agree to take a condominium and we'll make it affordable to them.

Nobody is arguing that moving somebody out of a home that they've lived in for a long time is not a harsh remedy, but our point is that the problems we were dealt with are too large for the city to do it any other way.

And we're prepared to prove that. We've proven it politically in this town. We've have been reelected several times telling people this is what we are doing and we're prepared to go into court and prove it.


HANNITY: And joining us now, Long Branch, New Jersey, residents who are fighting to save their homes. Denise Hoagland is with us, and Lou Anzelone is with us.

Lou, you know what? You bought your home in 1960.


HANNITY: I wasn't even born yet.

ANZELONE: That's right. Neither was the mayor.

HANNITY: Forty-six years. How arrogant of this man. You've owned that home for 46 years.

ANZELONE: I was in World War II...

HANNITY: With my father.

ANZELONE: Yes, sir. I was in the Navy.

HANNITY: My father was, too. You're a great American.

ANZELONE: And I got discharged as a first class petty officer. I had special training in the service. OK.

I went in the service because we were all going in the service. It was an important part of our lives because we remember how well we were treated in this country before.

I had the house, and we went to Long Branch because when I got out of service, I had asthma. So the doctor told me — he says I would suggest...

HANNITY: I want to focus here. And the doctor suggested. This is important. That's your home. Number 32 there.

ANZELONE: That's right.

HANNITY: Forty-six years.

ANZELONE: Forty-six years.

HANNITY: And some arrogant mayor of Long Branch, New Jersey wants to kick you and 80 people out of their homes. Why? What right does he have? — You paid your taxes. You served your country.

ANZELONE: Never...

HANNITY: What is the rational, that beautiful home? "We'll give him a condo. We hope they don't fight us in the legal system." Who the heck is he?

ANZELONE: Let me tell you what they offered me. It's a condo.

HANNITY: You don't want a condo. You've got a beautiful house.

ANZELONE: First of all, he wanted for a condo. I was in front of him and I was talking to them and they looked like I was talking to seven statues.

HANNITY: Tell him what he could do with his condo.

HOAGLAND: We have.

ANZELONE: They didn't even — I didn't even know they were alive.

HANNITY: But wait. I want everybody to understand this. Because you know something, sir? I'm just meeting you tonight.


HANNITY: You represent everything that's great about this country. You served your country. You have obeyed the laws. You played by the rules. You pay your taxes. Forty-six years you own your home and some arrogant official is going to lecture you about your need to stop fighting them for your home and your property and your piece of the American dream so they can stick you in some condo somewhere?

ANZELONE: Right. Right.

HANNITY: Thanks a lot. No thanks.

ANZELONE: I told them, but he says — I says, "I don't want any condo, any condo." I says, "First of all, I don't want those thing that look like a tenement house."

HANNITY: Good for you.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: And by the way, Lou's a liberal, you know.

ANZELONE: I'm not, kid. I'm not.

HANNITY: He is suffering from that disease.

COLMES: Hey, listen, Lou. Thank you for being here. Denise, thank you. God bless you. I can't believe what you're going through. Let me — let's talk to Denise here. OK?

ANZELONE: She's good.

COLMES: All right. Now you, I understand you wanted to raise the roof on your house and in order for to you do that, they wanted you to sign a waiver?

HOAGLAND: Well, first we were denied — denied the permit, at first. And then they alluded to the fact that we needed to sign a waiver stating that we would not seek compensation, should redevelopment come through.

COLMES: So they were already setting you up not to...?

HOAGLAND: Yes. They were setting us up to create a demise, as you say. And basically we, you know, we have been fighting this for 3 1/2 years. And although the mayor, you know, insinuates that, you know, we are going to lose, we are by far not going to lose.

COLMES: You know what I don't like about that? There is a guy in power trying to intimidate you.

HANNITY: Really.

COLMES: Trying to say to you...

HOAGLAND: No doubt. And for what purpose? Where is the purpose? I haven't seen the purpose yet.

HANNITY: Because he wants your land. They want to steal your land.

COLMES: That kind of intimidation is wrong. And for him to say — you know, we're going to take that — we'll put them in condos. How arrogant to say...

HOAGLAND: Exactly. I don't want a condo.

COLMES: Right.

ANZELONE: He's got three...

HANNITY: Even Colmes gets this.

COLMES: Why should every time I agree with you, "Even Colmes gets this"? I mean, you know, what's the matter with him?

HOAGLAND: You know what?

ANZELONE: You guys, I heard it last night was good.

COLMES: All right. But we want — I'm glad you're doing this fight. You're going outlive that mayor, by the way.

ANZELONE: Yes. No, I told — you see, I was born in 1917. I knew my town of Long Branch was the golden days of Long Branch. Ocean front. I saw people coming in by train and buses.

And at that time in 1920. I was born about 1920. 1930, it was jammed with people. They had water for what the people wanted. It was a seasonal thing.

HANNITY: Let me tell you a little thing, Denise. I challenge this arrogant mayor to sit in your seat, and I'll invite you both back.

Mayor, come on the program and explain to America what right you as a government official have to take this man's home of 46 years. Come on this program and try and explain that on this show.

And I'll invite you back if he has the courage to come on. I doubt he'll have the courage to come on.

HOAGLAND: He won't have the courage.

HANNITY: He won't have the courage, because he works behind the scene. He hides in the legal system.


HANNITY: All right, guys. Good luck.

HOAGLAND: Thank you.

HANNITY: We're going to follow your story, I promise you.

HOAGLAND: Thank you both.

HANNITY: God bless.

All right, thank you both.

And that's a story that many of you had e-mailed us about. Keep sending your stories of eminent domain abuse: ItCouldHappenToYou@FOXNews.com. And who knows? You may just see your story right here on TV.

Thank you.

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