Pfeifer v. City of Little Rock
Pfeifer v. City of Little Rock was a Pulaski County Chancery Court lawsuit filed by Eugene Pfeifer III in 2000. Pfeifer argued that park revenue bonds could not be used to purchase the site of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park because the land had not been zoned as parkland by the City of Little Rock. Pfeifer at the time owned 2.944 acres of land to be condemned and repurposed for the Library. Tom Carpenter represented the City of Little Rock in the case. The city had already sold $4 million in bonds through Stephens Inc. and anticipated selling another $16 million. Some of the funds yet to be raised had been earmarked for the Little Rock Zoo, which had lost its National Zoological Association accreditation. Pulaski County Court Judge Vann Smith rendered a judgment in favor of the city in November 2000 and awarded Pfeifer $400,000 as fair market value for the condemnation.
Pfeifer's attorney's appealed the case in May 2001. In their 148-page Arkansas Supreme Court brief filed in October 2001 attorneys for the plaintiff argued that the City of Little Rock had improperly exercised its powers of eminent domain to seize Pfeifer's land for the Clinton Presidential Center site because it was not destined to become a public park. Said Pfeifer's attorney Christopher Parker, "An archive building is not a park."
City attorney Tom Carpenter responded saying, "We have a master plan from the 1800s that shows city leaders have always planned to build a ring of parks around the city, including one where we're building this park. It doesn't matter what the triggering mechanism was. ... Pfeifer recognizes the city already has all the property needed for this park. Now his is the last piece -- the focal piece of property in the Clinton park. I believe he thinks it's a potential gold mine. He's trying to line his pockets under the guise of doing something for the public good -- and I think that's disingenuous and unfortunate for the people of Little Rock." He also said, "After all, War Memorial Park has a stadium on it -- does that make it any less a park? I think this is a pretty straightforward case. I expect that we will win it."
On November 1, 2001, the Supreme Court of Arkansas returned a unanimous verdict on behalf of the defendant in the case, ruling that the City of Little Rock's action in taking the land was proper.
- Elizabeth Albanese, "Appeal of Ruling Filed in Little Rock Presidential Park Suit," Bond Buyer, 336 (May 2, 2001): 32.
- Elizabeth Albanese, "Clinton Library Park Suit Won't Be Hastened," Bond Buyer, 336 (June 4, 2001): 41.
- Elizabeth Albanese, "Eminent Complaining," Bond Buyer, 338 (October 30, 2001): 47.
- Elizabeth Albanese, "Little Rock Faces Legal Hurdles On the Way to Clinton Library," Bond Buyer, 333 (July 13, 2000): 1.
- "Arguments in Clinton Library Case," New York Times, October 26, 2001.
- "Clinton Library Gets Day in Court," American Libraries, 31.5 (May 2000): 26.
- "Clinton Library Gets Green Light," American Libraries, 32.11 (December 2001): 22.
- David Firestone, "A Fight Over Land for Library," New York Times, May 2, 2001.
- "Judge Okays Clinton Library," American Libraries, 32.1 (January 2001): 26.
- "Land Dispute Delays Clinton Library," Architectural Record, 189.2 (February 2001): 31.
- Mickey O'Connor, "Little Rock Landowner Stalls Clinton Library," Architecture 89.6 (June 2000): 32.
- Kevin Sack, "Clinton Library Lawsuit Rejected," New York Times, November 2, 2001.
- M.H. Stiegler, "Land Condemned for Presidential Library," The Appraisal Journal, 70.4 (October 2002): 357.
- "'Twixt Little Rock and a Hard Place," The Economist, 355 (April 22, 2000): 26-27.