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Saugus Attorneys Continue with Eminent Domain Litigation as Revere City Council Rejects Wonderland Site for New High School

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  Saugus attorneys Peter E. Flynn and Jason R. Scopa are now handling the litigation stemming from the City of Revere’s eminent domain taking of the former Wonderland racetrack property.

  The City took the property in November of 2022 for the location of the new Revere High School. However, in a stunning development on Monday, February 27, 2023, Revere’s City Council refused to approve the site as the new school location. Attorneys Flynn and Scopa represent the landowners, one of whom is Joseph O’Donnell, a well-known concession king, real estate developer and philanthropist. He is one of the local businessmen involved with CBW Lending, LLC, the company that owned the property at the time it was taken.

  The total land area taken was more than 33 acres. The City approved the taking for $29.5 million but, according to the Complaint recently filed in Suffolk County Superior Court by Flynn and Scopa on behalf of CBW Lending, the property was worth far more. According to Attorney Scopa, the owners do not intend to challenge the validity of the taking. Rather, the lawsuit seeks money damages only.

  According to Attorney Flynn, “This is potentially the largest eminent domain case in the history of the Commonwealth.” The city has engaged outside counsel to defend the lawsuit, and the City’s Answer has been filed – asserting that CBW received full and fair compensation.

  Flynn and Scopa point out that Amazon recently paid $355 million for the former Necco plant as well as $50 million for the former Showcase Cinema property, both of which are fairly similarly situated commercial properties in Revere and not far from the Wonderland site. Comparable sales such as these will be shown to a jury when the current litigation goes to trial. According to Flynn, the valuation process is not yet complete, but his team’s market data indicates that the value of his client’s property on the date of the taking [which is the date of valuation in all eminent domain cases] “could run anywhere from $50 million to $120 million.”

  The potential cost and exposure to the City is clearly ruffling feathers inside Revere City Hall, with several city councillors openly questioning the selection of the CBW site for the high school, the hostile taking of the site and the massive monetary exposure the City of Revere now faces in this lawsuit in which the landowner will be seeking tens of millions in additional compensation. The City Council vote earlier this week only exacerbates the problem for the City. Despite the fact that the city now intends to find another location for the high school, it is now stuck in litigation over the amount it paid for the Wonderland site it now owns. The litigation over value continues despite the fact that the city will now look to locate the high school somewhere else.

  Attorneys Flynn and Scopa, of Law Offices of Peter E. Flynn, P.C., specialize in eminent domain and have handled numerous high-profile cases throughout the North Shore and much of Massachusetts. In eminent domain cases in Massachusetts, according to Scopa, the statute requires that the taking authority pay the landowner the highest price that a reasonably prudent buyer would have paid in the open market at that time. Scopa adds, “It appears the City of Revere paid CBW only a small fraction of that value.” Scopa and Flynn indicate that they have a very good relationship with counsel for the City, and they are hopeful about a thoughtful and amicable resolution.


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