Property Battle Heads to Court

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A land grab situation in Knox County has been put on pause.

It’s a story we told you about earlier this year that pits a couple against Vincennes University.

Wednesday, both parties were in court and so was our Rebecca Brumfield.

Court began a little after three on Wednesday.

VU is trying to acquire the Daffron’s property through eminent domain.

The university has offered to buy it, which sits next to its current diesel mechanics building.

The Daffron’s don’t believe they’re offering a fair price.

“It just don’t seem right sitting in court and listening to the defense say that they understand, which brung tears to my eyes because no one can understand it unless they’re in their position,” says Butch Carson, a close relative.

Family, friends and supporters of the Daffron’s embraced after court concluded in the Knox County court house just after four.

Butch Carson is Leroy Daffron’s cousin, not only that, he’s something more.

“Him and I both were in the Marine Corp together,” says Carson. “We’re both vets. And that’s what I wanna let everyone know that this is a vet they’re doing this to.”

Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge Sherry Gregg Gilmore took all evidence and objections under advisement for 10 days.
   
“It’s been tough from the start,” says Leroy Daffron. “A lot of sleepless nights. A lot of tears shed. I don’t know how.. I don’t know how we’re going to make it. I really don’t.”

Though the path to the inevitable may be a hard fought battle, the support from friends and family keep both Leroy and his wife hoping they’ll somehow make it through.

“I just think it’s wrong,” says Rita Brown, a close family friend. “Leroy and Michelle are the nicest people in the world. They’d give you the shirt off their back if they could. They’re not out for money. They’re not out for blood.”

“We are not in this to get rich,” says Leroy Daffron. “We are in this to get a house that is similar comparable to what we have. That’s all we’ve ever wanted. Cause we know, the law states, that eminent domain…you’re gonna lose your property.”

Once court was over, I did ask Phil Rath, who’s the vice president of finances for the university and his attorney to comment but they both declined.

Leroy Daffron says he and his wife feel that VU hasn’t dealt with them in good faith.

They also hope to pursue a jury trial, pending on what the court decides.

Eminent domain law says the next step would be three independent appraisals of the property.

But, the court has not required that yet.

We will continue to follow this story as it becomes available.

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