NFIB Members Fear Eminent Domain in Colorado

Date: August 18, 2015

City officials want the Kholghy family's property to make way for a new development.

NFIB members in Glendale, Colorado, are still hoping to hold on to their rug store amid a fight that has involved the possibility of eminent domain.

The City of Glendale is planning a $175 million entertainment and dining area for an area that includes Authentic Persian & Oriental Rugs, owned by Nasrin and Saeed Kholghy.

The city council voted in May to allow the city’s urban renewal authority to use eminent domain to seize the needed properties, if necessary. Governments often use eminent domain to acquire private land for public highways, utilities, railroads or government buildings, but in this case, the City of Glendale wants the land for what’s expected to be more profitable businesses.

“We think every independent business in Colorado should be concerned about the fact that eminent domain is being used far too freely,” Nasrin and Saeed Kholghy wrote in an email to NFIB.

Nasrin—the oldest of the Kholghy siblings—came from Iran in the late 1970s to study at the University of Colorado. Her younger siblings joined soon after. When the Iranian Revolution broke out in 1979, the Kholghys’ parents weren’t able to send money for tuition. Instead, they sent rugs, and Nasrin went into business selling the rugs to pay for school.

More than 30 years later, Authentic Persian & Oriental Rugs is still a family business. Four Kholghy siblings and their mom co-own the store, and they have three assistants. They’ve always made an effort to hire refugees looking to get a start in America—and many of them have gone on to open their own businesses.

So when the Glendale City Council passed the eminent domain resolution in May, the Kholghys fought back immediately. They gathered the support of other Glendale citizens, who began making phone calls, writing letters and actively protesting what they said was a land grab.

Since then, the city has promised not to use eminent domain to seize the property, but instead tried to buy it. The Kholghys rejected that offer. “They gave us only one week to respond,” they write. “It’s pretty much impossible to get a commercial appraisal done in seven days anyway, but that didn’t really matter. It’s never been about the money for us.”

For now, Authentic Persian & Oriental Rugs remains in business on South Colorado Boulevard, and the Kholghys hope it stays that way.

They have set up an online petition called Stop the Glendale Land Grab. They also want to share their story as much as possible to warn other Colorado business owners of the state’s dangerously loose eminent domain laws.

The Kholghys write, “If it were not for groups like NFIB, plus our wonderful, committed customers, we would be looking at bulldozers in our parking lot by now.”

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