Fridley pages 44-46

[no source, no date]

Decision Expected Some Time Next Week After Washington Official Studies Report
[Handwritten: March]
Land Owners Say Failure to Receive Payment Indicates Step By the Government

            A recommendation that the Government acquire by condemnation proceedings a part and possibly all of the 16,000 acre site for the Weldon Spring TNT plant was made Thursday by United States District Attorney Harry C. Blanton to the Attorney General’s office in Washington.
            Blanton declined to say what recommendation he had made after a conference with Ewing Wright, a special attorney from the Department of Justice who visited the site and assisted in the investigation.
            Property owners involved expect condemnation proceedings because of the failure to get payment checks, under the options, since February 7. However they point to the test case from Southeast Missouri which the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the land owner who received the full option price and not the proposed condemnation figure. Some of the land owners do not seem much disturbed over the proposed action.
            In Washington John J. O’Brien, War-Justice Department official in charge of land acquisition, said a conclusion would be reached there Wednesday or Thursday on the method to be used.
            The land was optioned for approximately $2,600,000 after the Government had anticipated the tract would cost about $2,000,000 R. Newton McDowell stated.
            The three appraisers will complete their work on the ten tracts today and will file a report with Blanton in St. Louis.

[no source, no date]

Agent Who Acquired Options Points Out Cost of Condemnation Proceedings to Property Holders.

            R. Newton McDowell, Kansas City contractor who acted as the War Department’s agent in obtaining options on 16,300 acres for the TNT plant at Weldon Spring and refused to accept any reduction in his 5 per cent commission, today wrote the owners of 146 parcels of land suggesting that they accept a lower price.
            The Government accepted option on the land, but later said the 146 tracts would be taken by condemnation because the option prices were too high. Owners of 121 other parcels of land in the site have been paid the option prices.
            In his letter, McDowell inclosed a telegram from Under Secretary of War Robert M. Patterson asking him to co-operate in negotiating lower prices for land on which options had not been exercised. McDowell reminded land owners that condemnation proceedings would be instituted shortly.
            “Condemnation proceedings will impose on you the burden and expense of lawyers’ fees, expert witness fees, and possible appeal by the Government,” his letter said. “All this is utterly unjust and a matter for which neither you nor I are responsible.
”Realistic View.”
            “I am not urging you to do anything. You know the state of your own affairs. It may be better for you to take a realistic view of this thing and determine in your own mind whether you can afford to carry on this legal fight, or whether it would be advisable for you to offer the Government a reduction of 10 or 20  per cent, provided you are paid within 10 days.
            ”This is not a trading affair. You will have to determine your percentage and stand on it.”
            Those who were willing to accept reductions were urged to telegraph McDowell’s St. Charles office, authorizing him to notify the War Department of the suggested price.
            The amount of McDowell’s fee would be decreased with any reduction in the purchase of the land. Options entered into by McDowell totaled about $3,000,000.

[no source, no date]

United States District Attorney Makes The Announcement After A Visit To Washington
Three Tracts On Which Options For TNT Land Not Obtained Included In Group

            United States District Attorney Harry C. Blanton announced today in St. Louis, on his return from a week of conferences in Washington with War and Justice department officials, that he was preparing to file condemnation suits in District Court on 149 of the 270 parcels of land in the 16,300-acre site for the Government’s TNT plant at Weldon Spring.
            The War Department had announced last week that it was contemplating condemnation proceedings because of “grossly excessive” prices fixed in option for some of the parcels.
            Blanton said the Government had exercised its options on 121 parcels and that he would file condemnation suits on 146 parcels on which there were unexercised options and on three parcels on which no options had been obtained.
            The controversy over acquisition of the land was touched off two months ago when United States Senator Bennett C. Clark complained that some of the prices fixed in the options were excessive and that the 5 per cent commission to be paid to the Government’s agent, R. Newton McDowell, was too high. The Government originally expected to acquire the site for about $1,000,000. Under the options it would cost about $3,000,000.
            Blanton said he did not think the fact that the Government already had placed options on almost all of the parcels would interfere with the condemnation proceedings. At the same time that he files the condemnation suits, he said, he will file a “declaration of taking” and deposit a sum of money with the court, which will permit the Government to take immediate title to the land.
            The price to be paid will then be determined later, after condemnation commissioners have examined the land and made their recommendations.
            The following article appeared in the Globe-Democrat Sunday:
            “Army officials say the War Department is [?] of purchase [?] ing condemn [?] force St. Cha [?] ers to transfe [?] government, [?] dispatch from [?] night.
            Maj. C. J.  [?] Lands Divisi [?] partment th [?] the TNT lan [?] It wants an [?] and represen [?] regardless of [?] he added.
            If purchas [?] on this bas [?] condemnatio [?] at numerous [?]
            The Harro [?] indication th [?] still dicker [?] Spring land [?] of March 8 [?] exercised op [?] Newton Mc [?] Mo., and wo [?] on the land [?] cised options [?]
            Harrold a [?] percent of [?] has been ac [?] figuring in [?] negotiations [?] land.
            St. Charl [?] week, claim [?] not been pa [?] mately 270 [?] TNT site. [?] them facin [?] cancellation [?] pealing to [?]