Property Thieves and Legal Plunder


Legal Plunder

Imagine this:

A thief steals your property deed, makes improvements to your property, sells it, doesn’t make back his cost plus 10% for profit, then sends you a bill for the difference … and a judge orders you to pay it.

Sound preposterous?

Well, if a proposed bill in South Carolina’s General Assembly passes, you will be legally responsible to pay the bill.

Only, the thief will actually be called a “receiver” and he will legally take control of your property if it doesn’t meet the local codes and ordinances.

The receiver will be required to make improvements and will be allowed to sell the property to recover his expenses plus 10% profit.

If he doesn’t recover his money and profit, he can charge you the difference.  And you are legally responsible for it!

That’s what Representative Garry Smith of Greenville proposes with H4628.

Crazy?  Yeah, it is!

But it is reality.

Garry has a good reputation as a conservative member of the House, but he has gone way off the reservation with this.

Because he is the bill’s sponsor, I’ve corresponded with Garry in an effort to convince him to kill it.

He says this bill is a good free market solution to a problem of abandoned and dilapidated buildings.

Really?  Free market?

It’s not any free market I recognize.

I suggested that instead of pushing this bill, he work to get government out of the way of the free market by reducing taxes, eliminating burdensome regulations, and the like.

But those suggestions didn’t seem to stick.

Maybe you can help him change his mind.

Garry SmithPlease contact Garry Smith at  or at (803) 734-3141.

Tell him that government cannot enact a free market solution.  It’s a contradiction.  Government can only get out of the way of the free market.

Besides, whatever happened to private property?

Since when did people begin to think it was okay for government to take over abandoned and dilapidated buildings without the owner’s consent?

As justification for the bill, Garry told me of a problem with an abandoned hotel in Aiken in the early 1980s.

Wow!  Do YOU think a problem that existed more than 30 years ago is reason enough for a bill that smashes and grinds personal property rights into itty bitty bits and sprinkles them to the four winds?

Okay, so according to the bill, there are some limitations on what kinds of property the local government can steal from you.  For one, it can’t be owner occupied.

Does that make you feel safer?  Not me, because once they’ve justified taking private property that is not owner occupied, it’s not a far leap to then take property that IS owner occupied.

The thievery is also limited to property that is a “serious and imminent public health or safety hazard.”  But the bill never specifically defines what that is.

To me and you, it may seem clear.  But when judges and lawyers get in the mix, it could mean just about anything.

With this left open to interpretation, you are at the mercy of whatever a city attorney can convince a judge that it means.

I’d be willing to bet that when a receiver is guaranteed a 10% profit over his cost, the threshold of what constitutes a “serious and imminent public health or safety hazard” will become lower and lower.

Besides, no matter what the definition, do we really think the solution to the problem is for the government to steal your property? 

I don’t think so!

I hate the idiom because it is used way too often, but it IS a slippery slope to start down.  Once rights are lost it is nearly impossible to gain them back, and much too easy to lose more.

I won’t accept anything that takes away more of our private property rights. Will you?

So please contact the bill’s sponsor today, before this bill goes any further.

Contact Garry Smith at or at (803) 734-3141.

Tell him to protect our private property rights, not attack them!

They’ve already held subcommittee hearings in which “improvements” to the bill have been suggested.

For me, the only improvement is to bury it six feet under.  The entire premise of the bill is wrong to start with.  You can’t fix it.  It needs to die an immediate death.

Another thing Garry Smith told me was that this bill is better than the current situation, where the local government can simply steal the property and bulldoze it.

Really? So it would be better to steal the property, improve it, then bill the original owner for any unrealized profit up to 10%?

Mr. Smith thinks that’s preferable to just plain bulldozing it.

I think both are preposterous!

What do you think?

Tell Garry Smith today at or at (803) 734-3141.

Our private property rights are under strong attack this year in the South Carolina Statehouse.  Thank you for helping to defend our rights.  You are making a difference!

Best regards,

Talbert J. Black, Jr.
Palmetto Liberty

P.S.  If the new bill that State Representative Garry Smith is proposing becomes law, your local government will be able to legally steal property that doesn’t meet codes and ordinances and give it to a receiver, who will then make improvements.  The receiver will then be able to sell the property and if he fails to recover his costs plus 10% profit, he can bill the original owner for the difference.

Crazy, I know!  Whatever happened to personal property rights?  Please contact Garry Smith at or at (803) 734-3141 and tell him to kill this bill and protect our private property rights, not attack them!


About Talbert Black

Talbert Black Jr is the founder of Palmetto Liberty PAC. His education in state politics & citizen lobbying began in 1999 with his membership in GrassRoots GunRights SC. In 2008 he joined the Campaign for Liberty and within a year he was the Interim State Coordinator for South Carolina. His goal for Palmetto Liberty PAC is to change to composition of South Carolina’s General Assembly so that it consistently supports conservative principles.

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