Whelan Wins First Battle: Judge Dismisses City's Condemnation Of Property

Apr 02, 2014

Late yesterday Judge Schuller, in the City of Poplar Bluff v Robert J Whelan case, dismissed the City’s case against Whelan. The judge wrote:

“…Defendants claim that the Relator failed to act in good faith by not following generally accepted accounting practices. Relator’s appraiser testified that his appraisal was subject to the LPA Manual. …Clearly, these requirements were not met.”

“…the power of condemnation is such an extreme use of power by the government that the applicable statutes are strictly construed in favor of the landowners.”

The case centers around the intersection of Oak Grove Road and North Westwood Blvd where MoDot and City officials have been planning a much needed upgrade. The first main purchase was for an empty office building and parking lot at a premium of $828,000 and then followed with purchases of an empty office building for $789,000 and then the roughly half (1/2) of the property of the car wash for over $1,000,000:

Location Schalk
(#1 in photo)
Ozark Medical
Car Wash
Sold for $828,000 $789,000 $1,000,000
Appraisal $828,000 $655,000 $425,200

This left the Whelans’ Property (#4 in photo) as the sole, business property remaining un-purchased at the intersection. The city’s strong-arm tactics were to provide a lowball appraisal and attempt to steal the land from Whelan by condemnation. The courts said NO!

The city’s choices at this point appear to Appeal (which will take at least a year to complete with the prospect for similar outcome), start the condemnation process over again and do it properly (which certainly will take more than a year), or pay the Whelan’s what they deserve to be paid.

Here’s the catch, the high property value is the city’s own fault. The city is the one who drove up the property value by overpaying their buddies for their land. Whelan’s property, appraised at less than $450,000, contains more square footage than the Car Wash which sold for over $1,000,000.

Congratulations to the Whelan family. I’m thrilled to see the courts stand up for them and against the grotesque use of public/civic power.


  1. Jr.

    No, property is worth what its worth in the present. It’s not worth what you paid for it 10 years ago or what it’s worth in 10 years.

    Based on your logic I can go down to the car dealership and tell them to sell me a new Corvette for $1000 because that’s what it will be worth at some point in the future.

  2. larry

    If sam gave a damn he would set a high mark and gave the property to the city or sold it to the city for what he had in it
    Maybe a park would have been named after him
    And the price of the car wash and the appraised price almost sounds like it smells bad

  3. Donna

    Property is an investment as property values rise especially when something like 8 points comes in close by it. He deserves more than what it was appraised for based on the future for it. It’s his and if he wanted to sell it for 5 million…or 2 million….so be it, that’s the price!

  4. Maye

    It’s about time someone got some justice around here! What does that say about all of the other deals that smell so bad? Maybe there is a ring of truth to them!

  5. Jane

    Dear Whelan family,

    I do not know you but I hope that you receive fair and decent treatment in the future. God bless and congrats on your successful win! Everyone has been routing for you and you are not alone!

  6. shirley

    WOW! A little justice for one of our citizens who choses not to bow to the crooks… I am sooo glad for them. I also commend the judge for having the honesty to resist all of the pressure you can bet he received. I only hope and pray that we can change the council…. we need to get rid of the heavy set woman who always sits at the left end of the table and constantly nods her agreement with every word flowing from Bagby’s lying lips. Of course, shady deals are not limited to the city council… I am still wondering how the people will react when they learn the number one goal for the levy is not the kids….. it is a new stadium. Our kids can’t read or write… much less count, and our school is only ELIGIBLE for provisional accreditation but we focus on sports. I can’t remember many of our athletes who were able to make a living playing after they graduated. The haves hit everyone’s guilt button saying it is for the kids…. but is those who live on limited incomes who pay the price. Expect to see more and more public auctions for taxes. If it was going to be used to improve learning, I would go all out for it…
    Thanks, Brian for keeping us informed…….

  7. Denise

    This is fantastic NEWS.. Congrats to the Whelans… wonder if Sam is the 1 that sold the property to the city for an outrageous amount ;-)

  8. Brian Becker

    Jerry, for most it’s the morning of April 8th. For the corrupt, it will be the morning of April 9th.

  9. jerry

    just some good ol boys never meaning no harm just trying make extra pocket money. when will poplar bluff mo wake up?

  10. Sam

    How does this concern you. I know what he paid for it now that the city needs it, its all of a sudden worth twice what he gave for it. But again the Big question is how it concerns you? Mr. Becker you kick that **** long enough you will get some on you.

    1. Brian Becker

      Hey Sam, not sure how you got the impression this story was about me. But then again, your kind thinks everything I do is about me. Silly, silly, Sam.

      1. jerry

        so sam lay aside beckers radical stand against the city…. DO YOU AGREE WITH how the city does business ? i have read in the DAR they rejected a low bid and took the high bid. the excuse the low bid was not qualified .. why even allow them to bid if they can,t do the job right. the sale of your cable/internet company owned by tax payers. mind ya i do not live in poplar bluff nor would i want to. your city manager is a coward .it sort of looks like the boss hog on the dukes of hazard t.v show. what say you about the issues ?