State evicting veterans from American Legion post

State evicting veterans from American Legion post

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by DIANNE GALLAGHER / NBC Charlotte Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @DianneG

WCNC.com

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 5:47 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 5:39 AM

SALISBURY, N.C. -- The Samuel C. Hart American Legion post has been volunteering and hosting fundraising in Salisbury since World War I.

"We're one of the longest active posts in the state. It's like a close-knit family," said Commander John Taylor.  The state of North Carolina, though, is now telling the Hart Post 14 family to find a new home.

The Department of Transportation is set to build a new bridge over the land where Hart Post 14's homebase currently sits along Highway 29. The DOT approached the American Legion post about the plan and made an offer, but the members said there was never an agreement.

"It wasn't anywhere near close to fair market value, not enough to buy another piece of property and they gave us until just May 8th to get out. Now, they are citing eminent domain. We thought we had 90 days, we never accepted their offer, we never signed a document," said Taylor.

The members said they tried to negotiate with the DOT but have had a difficult time getting a response.

"They don't return my phone calls. We got a lawyer, they don't return his phone calls or emails. The number they gave us on the eviction notice is disconnected," explained Taylor.

"You would think they would want to work with you, being a veterans' organization. You would think you'd get some respect, but there's not any.  We can't even get a phone call back," added member Chad Morefield.

Hart Post 14 has identified a new building, but said there is simply not enough time to work out a deal, potentially close on the property and move in before the DOT deadline.  Plus, Taylor said he still believes they deserve more money.

NBC Charlotte contacted the NCDOT, but has yet to receive a response.  The department does grant extensions in some eminent domain cases.

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