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Group upset with Clayton's eminent domain use


By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – A group in Clayton is speaking out against the city's planned use of eminent domain for a corporate headquarters expansion.

The health care company Centene wants to re-develop a block of Forsyth Boulevard downtown.

Attorney Laura Dierberg Ayers is with the Clayton Committee to Stop the Abuse of Eminent Domain. The group represents several business owners on the block, including the real estate management company Kohner Properties, which has its headquarters there.

Ayers said the Board of Aldermen pushed through the plans before the state legislature could make changes to eminent domain law.

"There was clearly an attempt to slide through the passage of these ordinance in order to beat the clock on expected statewide reforms," Ayers said. "Clayton officials thought no one was watching. They thought no one would care. They were wrong."

Ayers' group has gathered petition signatures with the hope of putting the issue before voters in the spring.

Clayton city officials said in a statement they solicited public input at every stage of the project.

They also said Centene must pay 105 percent of fair market value for the buildings it buys.


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