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Homeowners within Foxconn development site could soon be selling their home

Kim and Jim Mahoney are the last homeowners left in a subdivision that used to have 13 properties

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Kim Mahoney
Kim Mahoney and her family have not accepted an offer from the village of Mount Pleasant, Wis., to sell their new home and property to make way for the Foxconn plant. Mahoney says several of her neighbors were pressured into selling their homes for road widenings that are no longer planned. She is seen in the kitchen of her home on July 1, 2019. Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch

Kim and Jim Mahoney had lived at their Mount Pleasant home for less than a year before they learned Foxconn was coming to town.

Now, five years after the Foxconn plan was announced, the Mahoney’s remain in their house — but not for long.

On Monday, the Mount Pleasant Village Board discussed the sale of their property, 10640 S. Prairie View Dr., during a closed session. The board didn’t take any action, but it’s the first time the sale has been discussed since the massive and ultimately ill-fated development was announced in 2017.

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The couple said they’ve made attempts to sell the home in the past, but they accused the village of giving them low-ball offers.

“We have been willing to sell since day one, but we were unwilling to allow them to abuse their eminent domain authority for the benefit of a wealthy foreign corporation,” Kim Mahoney told Wisconsin Public Radio in 2019.

The village has maintained that they’ve paid $50,000 per acre of land and 140 percent of appraised value for homes in the development area.

The Mahoneys, who live in Foxconn project area one, used to live in a subdivision that had 13 houses.

Kelly Gallaher, a spokesperson for local watchdog group A Better Mount Pleasant, said she believes the sale was “long overdue.”

“We don’t know the details of the offer yet, but I congratulate the Mahoneys for persevering until they received what they believe is fair,” Gallaher said in an email.

The Mahoneys and village officials declined to comment for this story because of the pending sale.

Kim Mahoney's home near Foxconn
Kim Mahoney’s house on Prairie View Drive is the only house still standing in her subdivision, out of an original 13 properties. All other property owners sold to the village of Mount Pleasant, Wis., and their homes have been demolished to make way for the Foxconn plant. A building on the Foxconn site and the Foxconn construction area are seen in the background. Drone photo taken on July 1, 2019. Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch

In January, the village settled the last eminent domain lawsuit filed in 2018 by homeowners whose land was taken by the municipality to make room for the manufacturing facility — which has never fully materialized.

Village officials said the land, owned by Rodney and Catherine Jensen, was needed for road expansion. But the Jensens refused to move, instead filing five federal lawsuits.

State law says municipalities have the power to acquire private property using eminent domain as long as there is fair compensation and the property will be used for a public purpose. This is typically for road improvements, or sometimes to take control of dilapidated property.

Records obtained by WPR and analyzed by Wisconsin Watch show the village threatened eminent domain against some homeowners, saying their property was needed for road improvements. But in some cases, those plans changed or were dropped even before the homes — some of them newly built — were bulldozed, state records show.

The lawsuit claimed the road project being used as the reason for eminent domain was a pretext to make the Jensens sell land “which will not be directly utilized for the road and utility expansion project so that it can be conveyed to Foxconn, or held for Foxconn’s benefit.”

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