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Land Grantors v. United States

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20097
Nos. No. 93-648X, (Fed. Cl., 04/18/2008)

The Federal Claims court recommended that $34.3 million be awarded to former Kentucky landowners whose farms were taken during World War II (WWII) for a military training facility. When the federal government condemned the land, it paid only for the surface rights, not for the underlying mineral rights, and promised to resell the property back to the original owners after WWII was over.  Instead of selling the land back, the federal government kept it and sold off the mineral rights to third parties. The recommended award represents the amount the government received for the lease and sale of coal, gas, oil, or other mineral rights on the former training facility since 1957. The entire amount of revenue that the government received for the lease and sale of these rights is unknown because the government failed to produce or destroyed relevant documents that would verify the correct amount. In addition, the government has avoided paying at least an additional $91,709,844.5439 in interest on the national debt as a consequence of having the benefit of these revenues. Therefore, the $34.3 million represents only 27% of the total benefit ($126,013,824.96) actually received by the government.