Maryland vows eminent domain to seize “House of Cards”

by Walter Olson on March 28, 2014

Kind of like Venezuela with Old Bay seasoning: “Responding to a threat that the “House of Cards” television series may leave Maryland if it doesn’t get more tax credits, the House of Delegates adopted budget language Thursday requiring the state to seize the production company’s property if it stops filming in the state. … Del. William Frick, a Montgomery County Democrat, proposed the provision, which orders the state to use the right of eminent domain to buy or condemn the property of any company that has claimed $10 million or more credits against the state income tax. The provision would appear to apply only to the Netflix series, which has gotten the bulk of the state credits.” [Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, earlier citing David Boaz]

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Maryland backs off eminent domain to seize TV show - Overlawyered
04.17.14 at 1:00 pm

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1 CTrees 03.28.14 at 5:23 am

How is this legal? I know eminent domain gets used for flimsy, profit driven reasons too often, but for purely punitive action, in retaliation for business decisions which are legal? Is that really something they can do?

2 No Name Guy 03.28.14 at 11:42 am

I think this is a brilliant idea. The producers should let, nay, encourage the state to seize the show. Then, since the talent will be working for faceless, idiotic political masters, have the talent make the production both very expensive and incredibly horrible, thereby showing said idiotic political masters the folly of their ways in a very expensive manner. /semi tongue in cheek

3 great unknown 03.28.14 at 11:50 am

This would not even be punitive. For physical property, the company would be compensated; and it’s hardly like the property is unique and irreplaceable.

If they go for the intellectual property, there’s a whole lotsa lawyers who are going to make a whole lotsa money as the State of Maryland goes bankrupt. Even if HBO didn’t contest that ridiculous concept, MD couldn’t afford just compensation.

Maybe they mean to acquire the actors via condemnation? After all, Maryland has a long history of slavery. Ask any taxpayer in Baltimore.

4 Jerryskids 03.28.14 at 1:24 pm

I’m not sure if this is an Onion article or if someone has confused a story about House of Cards with a story from House of Cards. Is William Frick even a real person?

5 jwmellott 03.28.14 at 8:35 pm

Maryland tried this with the Colts in 1984. Bob Irsay just loaded the stuff up and moved late at night. These guys should, also. Anyone thinking of locating a business in Maryland should beware. As for the government handout, the state should insist on contract language providing repayment of any handout if a company leaves the state. Don’t take away our freedom just to keep a TV show.

6 JohnC 03.29.14 at 7:17 am

“‘I literally thought: What is an appropriate Frank Underwood response to a threat like this? Eminent domain really struck me as the most dramatic response,’ Frick said to The Washington Post.”

No opponent of eminent domaine has ever so well and succinctly explained the unavoidably sinister nature of eminent domaine as Rep. Frick has now done (albeit ironically).

7 DensityDuck 03.31.14 at 12:14 pm

Please make sure you read the article before you get any squishy sorry feelings about the poor little artists getting pushed around by the big mean politicians. The HoC production team pretty much said “stop charging us any taxes of any kind at all or we’ll leave”, and this is the state’s response.

8 Ed G 04.01.14 at 12:23 pm

DD,

While the production company is obviously being avaricious, that still does not give the State the right to seize property unless the right to do so was previously included in the appropriate paperwork…

The State made a major boner when it provided the tax break at all…what, did they expect a lovely liberal-leaning Hollywood company would be anything other than avaricious when push came to shove?

Politica is one thing, money another…

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