“Kelo” comes to campus
Public Relations - Published: March 30, 2009


From left, Susette Kelo, Jeff Benedict and John Flaherty of Delaware, introducing them


Jeff Benedict and Susette Kelo sign books and autographs after the program.

Susette Kelo loved her house. From the moment she called a real estate agent from the front steps to come show her the property – the same agent who would try in vain to talk her out of buying a place that needed so much work.

Kelo put her heart into making the New London, Conn. property overlooking Long Island Sound a home. Then – after a protracted legal battle she never envisioned the day she moved in – she lost it all in a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said the government may take private property in the name of economic development.

“No one in this country to should have to go through what we did, and live with the wolves at our doors as we did for 10 years,” Kelo told a crowd of about 75 people gathered in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom on Friday, March 27.

Kelo was joined by investigative journalist and author Jeff Benedict, who recently wrote a book about Kelo’s battle to save her home, “Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage.” While Kelo no longer lives in her little pink house, her case sparked public outrage over the potential for government abuse of the power of eminent domain. Supporters have rallied around the country, 40 states have changed their laws to protect people like her and Congress is considering legislation.

“This case started a revolution,” Benedict told the crowd, which included three Delaware legislators, one New Castle County councilman, dozens of interested citizens and members of the law school community. The event was presented by Delaware Citizens Against Eminent Domain Abuse.

Pfizer Inc. and the New London Development Corp.’s plans to redevelop Kelo’s neighborhood with condominiums, a luxury hotel and more have yet to materialize. Today, the area is a Brownfield.

“They put a lot of shovels into the sides of houses,” Benedict said, “but they’ve never put a shovel into the ground.”