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Letter: SCDOT Bridge Project Destroying Small Business

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Dear Editor,

I live in Aiken, S.C. and have a business located at 218 York Street SE. On February 18, 2016 the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) closed the York Street bridge. My business (Thru Time & Ages, LLC) was opened on September 4, 2015.

After the bridge was determined to be unsafe and closed by the SCDOT, my business
dropped by 98 percent.

Construction on this project began two-and-a-half months ago. The disruption caused by that is very severe, causing a further loss of business. The streets are dug up, my driveway is blocked, and the street is barricaded.

This situation is discouraging and preventing people from coming to my store.

My wife and I purchased the building. The downpayment was $75,000 and we put over $35,000 for upgrades and repairs (this is an 1854 building).

We now have monthly payments with almost no income.

I am 74 years old and we put all that we had into starting this business. Now we are trying to see how we can survive.

It is impossible to sell or rent the building with the current situation.

Since this started I contacted the SCDOT, S.C Senator Tom Young, and U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson and many attorneys concerning the situation. The SCDOT and the representatives tell me that nothing can be done for me regarding reimbursement for losses.

The attorneys I have spoken with tell me there is nothing that they can do or it would be too expensive and I would need a pro-bono attorney.

Here is a link to a news article about the situation.

This is a very serious and costly situation.  If I had caused for any government agency all of the problems they are causing me, I would be in jail and fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do you know of anyone – or any agency – that I can contact that would be of help to me for obtaining reimbursement for the loss of business?

Sincerely,

Thomas Misiag
Aiken, S.C.

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SIC SEZ

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Thomas: First of all, I hate to hear what you and your wife are going through – especially after you invested so much into this business.  It certainly seems unfair.  It sounds like you have already taken a lot of the steps I would recommend to someone in your situation, but hopefully bringing this matter into the court of public opinion will be beneficial.  I am no expert on eminent domain – nor am I familiar with the specifics of the takings clause in South Carolina and whether your situation could potentially trigger a claim.  Lots of lawyers read this website, though, so you never know who might reach out to you with words of wisdom (or an offer to help).  All I can say is best of luck and please keep me in the loop on the latest regarding this situation.  You and your wife will be in my prayers.

Wanna sound off? Send your letter to the editor HERE …

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