Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Few Bucks Extra for Marvin Pratt

Were you 'redlined'? Better speak up now, or your settlement may be gone.

The U.S. attorney in Milwaukee has launched an investigation into the improper distribution of $300,000 worth of settlement money in a landmark redlining case.

According to court documents, trustee Harold B. Jackson wrote checks to himself and others without authorization. Among those who received checks were former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt and longtime NAACP President Felmers Chaney, who each were paid $60,000 earlier this year.

In 1990, the NAACP and seven African-American homeowners sued the insurance company, accusing it of discrimination. ...American Family did not admit wrongdoing but agreed to pay a $16.5 million settlement.

The settlement called for the original named plaintiffs [Pratt among them] to receive $10,000 each. Jackson was not authorized by the court to give them more, nor was he authorized to give any money to Chaney, who was not a plaintiff.

When fewer class members than expected came forward to claim settlements, a "class committee" consisting of the named plaintiffs and others decided it should be put in a trust fund. Money from that fund was to be distributed to a list of 20 approved community groups whose missions support the African-American community.

Although the attorneys who obtained the settlement stated that they have asked Pratt (and others) to return the unauthorized payments, Pratt said that he had not been asked to return the money.

No comments: