Judge Awards $34-Million To Former Land Owners

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A federal judge awarded $34.3 million to a group of former landowners in western Kentucky whose property was taken to create a World War II era military training post.

Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., recommended that Congress appropriate at least $34,303,980.42 in restitution for land and mineral rights lost by the landowners when the government appropriated their land to create Camp Breckinridge.

Braden issued a 53-page ruling late Friday, saying the amount represents only 27 percent of the $127 million benefit the government received from taking the land and mineral rights.

"In considering this recommendation, Congress should be mindful that the entire amount of revenue that the Government received for the lease and sale of these rights is unknown, because the Government failed to produce or destroyed relevant documents that
would verify the correct amount," Braden wrote.

The long-running dispute over Camp Breckinridge involves more than 1,000 former landowners and their families in western Kentucky brought against the U.S. government in 1993.

The former landowners and their heirs, some of whom are in their 80s, are seeking a share of more than $30 million in profits as compensation for the mineral rights under what used to be their farmland. The case was filed in 1993 on a referral from Congress.

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