Mackinac Center Files Legal Brief in Toyota Land Case

State law to sell land in 2004 was “not just bad policy; it was unconstitutional”; expediting the case would “reinforce a negative message”

For Immediate Release

Contacts:

Patrick J. Wright, Senior Legal Analyst
Phone: (517) 518-0339

Christopher F. Bachelder, Director of Communications
Phone: (989) 631-0900

MIDLAND — The state of Michigan’s approach to selling the former Ypsilanti State Hospital site in 2004 was "not just bad policy; it was unconstitutional," said Mackinac Center Senior Legal Analyst Patrick J. Wright today after filing a "friend of the court" brief yesterday in DPG York v. Michigan, a court case concerning the sale. The state’s efforts to sell the land to Toyota Technical Center USA have stirred public controversy and prompted a lawsuit from DPG York, a Michigan development firm that had earlier offered $25 million for the property. Toyota’s initial and final bids for the land were $9 million and $11 million, respectively.

"DPG York was correct to challenge the state law passed in 2004 to facilitate sale of the land," said Wright. "It’s clear that the state Legislature’s broad, open-ended delegation of authority to the State Administrative Board and the Department of Management and Budget to sell the property violated both the separation-of-powers and due-process clauses of the Michigan Constitution."

Christopher F. Bachelder, the Center’s director of communications, responded to calls by state legislators and Gov. Jennifer Granholm yesterday for the courts to expedite the case: "The state’s argument that the delay of the sale is hurting the economy has it exactly backwards. In fact, the state’s discriminatory process in attempting to give this land to Toyota has told entrepreneurs that high-profile competitors will receive preferential treatment. Expediting the case will only reinforce this negative message." Wright added, "I can understand the state’s desire to resolve this case quickly, but the dispute involves fundamental constitutional concerns, and if the courts need time to settle those issues correctly, they should take it."

The Mackinac Center is a Midland-based research and educational institute that has provided frequent analysis of the state’s programs for economic development and has previously questioned the Legislature’s delegation of important public policy decisions to unelected government officials.

The Center’s legal brief is available at www.mackinac.org/7535.

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