Peoplestown residents return to court on Wednesday Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. before Judge Schwall seeking a rehearing based on newly discovered evidence. According to the Housing Justice League, that evidence, an email authored by a City of Atlanta engineer, allegedly establishes that the City of Atlanta knew, before it demolished 21 of 27 homes on the block, that it did not need the property for its proposed flood mitigation project. This email was produced by the City in response to a discovery request three days after Judge Schwall ruled that the City needed the property.
“Despite having produced more than 200,000 documents, the City has failed to produce evidence rebutting this internal Department of Watershed communication,” the Housing Justice League released in a statement.
“We are going to fight until the end, we are not tucking our tail and taking their money and running, we want to stay in our neighborhood,” Peoplestown homeowner Robert Darden told Fox5Atlanta.
The watershed department has previously said the proposal was the only way to fix the flooding, but the engineer hired by the Dardens said the problem can be fixed without taking their home and the city exercised “reverse engineering.”
“What I mean by that is they started with the end in mind,” said engineer Jeff Moran in response to an earlier review of evidence. “It was not backed up by engineering practice, transparency or integrity, it was convenient to take an entire block.”
The outcome in these cases will create a precedence that will either protect residents against these types of land grabs by the City, according to the Housing Justice League, “or it will give the green light to city officials, authorizing them to steal peoples’ homes without following the law.”