He saw his land go, and now VDOT wants dough

Imagine losing land to the state so it can build a road, then being told to return $158,000 because, on second look, the government says the property was worth less than it thought.

That’s the scenario facing James and Janet Ramsey in their legal fight against the state highway department. The case, which goes to trial Monday in Circuit Court, highlights what eminent domain lawyers say is a common practice by VDOT to pressure property owners into settling.

What VDOT does is allowed by law. James Ramsey, a retired Virginia Beach city employee, called it appalling.

“You can’t buy something and go back five years later and say you want half your money back,” said Ramsey, 65. “For them to pull a trick like that is just outrageous.”

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