Fridley page 49

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Farmers Talk of Moving Back Into Homes In The TNT Area
Great Indignation Shown by Land Owners After Government Announces Options To Be Cancelled

            Farmers of St. Charles county who have not been paid for their land in the TNT area and are now threatened with condemnation proceedings, are “hot under the collar” and plan to ask for a showdown at a mass meeting scheduled for Wednesday night at Weldon Spring.
            Groups of farmers assembled Sunday at various places and talked over the condemnation report. The general opinion was that the work on the project be stopped and property owners move back into the area until a definite settlement is reached whereby they are paid for their land.
            More indignation arose when land owners learned some of the buildings, for which payment has not been received, have already been taken down, some of them being burnt as a speed measure. Major C. R. Dutton explained recently the only property that was being burnt down was that where there was no salvage.
            Property owners are not blaming R. Newton McDowell of Kansas City, who optioned the land but the Government itself. They contend they made a valid contract with the government and are entitled to the full amount of the option.
            McDowell, Major Dutton and other high officials of the TNT plant have been invited to the Wednesday night meeting which will be held in the Weldon Spring Community Hall. The meeting will be at 8:30.
            The 147 unexercised options were taken for $1,519,475. Payment had already been made on 121 options, amounting to $1,073,802.  Land owners have indicated they will go to court to fight the condemnation proceedings. They base their claim on a similar case which was upheld in favor of the property owner in the United States Supreme Court.
            More than 100 farmers are faced with heavy financial loss if payment on the options is delayed or refused. About two-thirds of the 147 farmers have bargained for new homes and farms, paying about ten per cent of the amount down as earnest money, with conditions the balance would be paid within 30 to 90 days. The farmers depended on the money from the Government within ninety days and that time will expire shortly.