'A little guy can win': Atlantic City homeowner wins fight against eminent domain

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ATLANTIC CITY -

An Atlantic City homeowner scored a final knockout in his effort to save his family home.

Charlie Birnbaum is a well-known piano tuner who continues to make music in his childhood home. The home is where his Holocaust survivor parents who fled Poland found the American dream 50 years ago in a thriving inlet neighborhood.

That same neighborhood later faced issues. His mother was murdered by a burglar.

But the same home to which Birnbaum felt so strongly strong connected -- the state tried to seize in through eminent domain in 2012 to build a future, unplanned project.

Birnbaum fought back, enlisting the Institute for Justice, a national organization that fights eminent domain, for help.

Finally last month, after nearly seven years in court, a state appellate court rejected the state's last attempt to take his home. An appellate panel upheld a lower court's ruling that the CRDA has overreached in its use of eminent domain, partly because the agency has no evidence that any development would happen in the foreseeable future.

"It shows a little guy can win. You need a lot of luck. I don't have to worry that tomorrow a bulldozer is going to come tear this place down," says Birnbaum.

Birnbaum says he is convinced his parents were there with him, making sure their home was protected through the whole process.

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