UTICA -- Gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe visited Utica, Friday, to share his thoughts on possible eminent domain.
Sharpe met with downtown property owners, and the public, at Wilcor International Showroom, a business in the hospital footprint.
Sharpe doesn't have an issue with the downtown hospital, but he doesn't agree with the process of eminent domain.
He described eminent domain as theft, saying it shouldn't be used unless absolutely necessary.
Sharpe says after his first visit to Utica, in early April, he learned about the downtown hospital and eminent domain.
He says he immediately felt that the issue of eminent domain was wrong and immoral.
In his speech, he noted that if he were to become governor, eminent domain would be out of the question.
"This is an inethical and immoral action by the government,” Sharpe said. “There are other ways of fixing this problem. Eminent domain is not the answer. It is immoral and inethical and if I have to put state troopers on this land, I will. Without question. It's not going to happen via eminent domain. Will not happen.”
Currently, only 10 of the 35 downtown property owners have signed purchase agreements. The rest of the businesses are either in negotiations with Mohawk Valley Health System, or are refusing to sell their business.
Sharpe says he will be back in Utica in the future to continue addressing eminent domain and other issues in the area.