Since 1977, the City of Montgomery has owned a significant portion of the front yard of Alabama Democratic powerhouse Joe Reed.

Reed has been a figurehead in the Democratic Party for years. He currently sits as the Alabama Democratic Conference chairman and is the father of Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed.

Reed sat on the Montgomery City Council from 1975 to 1999. He also served as associate executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association from 1969 until 2011.

According to land records obtained by 1819 News, Reed purchased his home in 1975.

On April 22, 1977, during the time Reed sat on the Montgomery City Council, the city purchased approximately 555 square feet, covering a large portion of Reed’s front yard.

The city purchased the plot 10 days after the then-president of Montgomery City Council, Emory Folmar, won a special election for mayor after Jim Robinson resigned due to a scandal involving the Montgomery Police Department.

1819 News obtained the warranty deed of the transaction. The portion of land was sold to the city by another party, Anne Blackwell, for a total sum of $10. The current land value of the small plot is listed at $9,600.

Joe Read house plot Alabama News

It is unclear who the third party is who sold the plot or how she was able to facilitate the sale. However, she was not the previous owner, nor does she appear on any other paperwork.

The deed does not say for what purpose the city purchased the land, only that the city did not condemn it. A California-based notary notarized the deed.

The patch of land may seem small, but it comprises the majority of a roundabout driveway located in the front yard, as seen below.

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1819 News contacted Reed to ask why the city owned his front yard and the circumstances surrounding the sale.  

According to Reed, the portion of his yard was left over from when the road was "cut in" in front of his house.

When clarification was sought on why the city needed a small portion of land it did not use for the street, none was given.

"The city owns a portion of that land that was left over from when we put a street through there. And under the law, the city can't use it; nobody can use it, that's why I use it," Reed said. "... If the city owns it, it ain't mine. You ain't got to be no genius to figure that out... I ain't never worried about it. I been there 48 years. I don't know what in the hell you worrying about it for."

Reed said he could claim the land "tomorrow" through the state's adverse possession laws but said it "ain't your business" when asked why he had not.

"When the city condemns property, you can take no more than what you use," Reed said unsolicited.

When asked to clarify if the city had condemned the land portion since the deed explicitly states that was not the case, Reed quipped, "I ain't gonna do your homework for you."

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