Still haven't been served over this December 16 item concerning the surprisingly litigious Hiram Walker Royall, a Highland Park developer, so I will proceed further -- but only with the caveat that a mutual friend of ours insists "he's a great guy." So, there -- covered. Anyway, the details behind Royall's courtroom adventures can be found in the earlier item, but in short: Royall's developing a marina in Freeport, which seized some land belonging to a family-owned wholesale shrimp business and gave it to the HP oil heir. A whole mess of suits ensued, one of which finds Royall suing author Carla Main, who documented the affair in the 2007 book Bulldozed: "Kelo," Eminent Domain and the American Lust for Land.
In recent days Royall's name has surfaced in a couple of your larger media outlets: Forbes and the National Review. The former sums up the whole sordid affair in its headline: "The latest twist on eminent domain: Seize someone's property, and if he cries foul, sue him." The National Review's short subscription-only take is even more straightforward. It's after the jump, but, first, the spoiler: "In this diminished age, Texans' traditional methods for dealing with varmints of this variety have fallen into disfavor, but the Institute for Justice, a public-interest law firm, is taking up its cudgels for free speech and private property."
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H. Walker Royall is a Dallas real-estate developer who ought to be ashamed of himself twice over -- once for trying to abuse eminent domain to seize property from its rightful owners for his purposes, and again for trying to silence those who have criticized this low tactic. Among those in Royall's crosshairs is our friend and National Review contributor Roger Kimball, the publisher of Encounter Books, which brought out Carla Main's Bulldozed, an exposé of Royall's project in Freeport, Tex. Royall has filed lawsuits against the publisher and the author, and has even gone to the ludicrous length of suing a professor who wrote a back-of-the-book blurb and a newspaper that published a positive review. In this diminished age, Texans' traditional methods for dealing with varmints of this variety have fallen into disfavor, but the Institute for Justice, a public-interest law firm, is taking up its cudgels for free speech and private property.