RICHMOND, Calif. -- Richmond will become the first city in the nation to bail out homeowners by using eminent domain.

The city council approved the plan last night to acquire mortgages with negative equity in a move to keep local residents in their homes.

The city can now seize private properties if their offers to buy the loans at the current appraised prices are rejected. 

Opponents of the new legislation tell "Reuters" that the plan will put Richmond at risk of expensive lawsuits that could destroy the city's finances.