Corporate: Success Story
Our constitution promises to Fortune 500 companies the same property rights it guarantees to the smallest homeowner. Getting judges and juries to focus on the fundamental rights of a business entity, and not its balance sheet, is Waldo & Lyle’s biggest challenge. Such was the case when the U.S. Government swooped in and condemned for a courthouse expansion Marathon Development Group’s $250 Million high rise after it had already laid the foundation. (In attached video, Buddy Gadams describes what happened next.)
This was also the challenge when the Commonwealth of Virginia condemned a Fairfax County Taco Bell for a road project. The highway department agreed to pay for the land but, following longstanding policy, refused to pay for tens off thousands of dollars worth of restaurant furnishings and equipment, arguing it could be salvaged and moved to a new Taco Bell.
The company policy was only to install new equipment. The county judge sided with the state against Taco Bell. Waldo & Lyle took the case to the Virginia Supreme Court. The court ruled unanimously that the state’s longstanding policy was contrary to long established law. It ruled that the state had deprived Taco Bell of its rights to just compensation. The state surrendered and made a fair settlement with Taco Bell. But even more importantly, Waldo & Lyle’s argument, having prevailed at the Supreme Court, set a precedent. By resurrecting a property rights principle that had been ignored for decades to the detriment of property owners across Virginia, Waldo & Lyle ended the state’s systematic underpayment of just compensation to businesses and corporations.
Buddy Gadams, President of Marathon Development