Elsey: “I just think they’re kind of a little devious and sneaky is the way I personally feel, because rather than getting the whole group of community here that’s involved in it, sitting us down in one room and discussing it with everybody, they’ve kinda of hit each one of us individually, given us a little bit slightly different offers, seems like. And I don’t know, like they’re trying to divide and conquer or weaken us. That’s what it seems like to me.”
Dan Elsey built a custom home just off of North Miller Loop in Nikiski, and last fall the Alaska LNG Project came knocking on his door. Elsey’s not the only one who’s been contacted by the $45-$65 billion project, but he says there’s been little communication between neighbors.
Two other property owners living along the Kenai Spur Highway told KSRM they tried to set up a joint meeting with the Project representatives, but when they appeared together, the representatives refused a meeting.
When we asked about these kind of concerns, Michael Nelson with the Project replied…
Nelson: “We negotiate individually with the land owners and we do honor the confidentiality of those discussions.”
Steve Butt, the official media spokesperson, explained…
Butt: “You know, it’s very important that all the deals are fair and durable. We want to keep the conversations in the right context, so we protect individual’s privacy, and we work with them in a manner that they feel good about.”
But Elsey wasn’t so sure. He said they offered him Borough appraisal, which he says is below market value. He reached out to local lawyers for help, but was given the brush off.
Elsey: “Makes me feel alone and unprotected, because they’ve done this hundreds, if not thousands of times, where they buy out right of ways, and this is my first time through it. I asked them also, one of the questions was, some of the other people in the past that he has bought out, could I have some of those names to speak with some of those people, like references. He said, sure, he’ll get them to me. And then when the second guy came back he didn’t know anything about it. So I told him again, and he said, ‘I’ll get right on that.’ Seems like they’re just wasting time, and I’m hoping it’s not to where they’re getting their ducks in a row enough to just take our property. That’s my fear.”
When a piece of property needs to be taken for the public good, it’s known as ‘eminent domain.’ We asked Butt if the project would consider that direction…
Butt: “Well, eminent domain, it’s a little early for that. We’re probably not at a place where we want to think about that sort of thing.”
Elsey said he was encouraged to make a counter offer. He calculated the hours, materials, and hotel rooms he’d need in order to rebuild his home elsewhere and returned a figure somewhere north of $400,000. He said he’d also settle for a 1 percent share of the project’s proceeds. Neither offer has yet been accepted.