PERKINS EFFORT TO STIFF CITY’S WATER/SEWER CUSTOMERS FAILS
Saturday, April 11, 2020 … 4:07 P.M.
I have not written about this subject – the years of City of Shreveport (“COS”) water/sewer service over-billing – since five days before last Christmas.
The events leading up to that article notably included a surprise stunt by Perkins and City lawyers to effectively kill an earlier ruling by Caddo District Judge Michael Pitman in favor of long-cheated Department of Water & Sewer (“DOWAS”) customers.
In short, while attorneys working in customers’ interest entered into mediation to reach a “universal settlement” of all the subject class action cases, they were unashamedly bamboozled.
The “universal settlement” effort was a deliberate farce from and by City attorneys.
Literally, while attorneys on both sides were (supposedly) working on that “settlement” last December 17th and 18th, attorneys for Perkins / COS had quietly filed an appeal at the Second Circuit Court to reverse Judge Pitman’s original decision in favor of DOWAS customers in the largest – tens-of-millions-dollars – claim.
It is a fact: the City attorneys faked the two days of “mediation,” never mentioning to opposing counsel that their appeal had been filed. (Be that as it may, we can be sure they charged taxpayers some outrageous hourly fee for deliberately doing nothing.)
For all their cheating, however, the Second Circuit Court stuck it to the COS lawyers as they deserved, ruling earlier this week that Judge Pitman’s original decision stands …
… both “declining to consider” and “declining to reverse” him.
Among the lawsuits seeking recovery of customer losses for over-billing by DOWAS, one now nets a settlement of $8,100,000 … with only some $750,000 having been so far distributed to DOWAS users to which that money belongs.
Dogging the COS / DOWAS attorneys throughout all of this is the near-$45,000,000 cash surplus (maintained separately, by law) which it holds from many years of over-billing.
So, when Perkins and City lawyers scream “COVID-19!” as a “new” excuse not to pay-up for their billing misfeasance, no one will be confused: that whopping “surplus” is actually ill-gotten gains.
The remaining and largest category of over-billing remains in contention. Jerry Harper and Anne Wilkes, attorneys for over-billed residents, are now working to set a trial date on a key “too many days / wrong months” issue.
It is more than merely notable, however, that Judge Pitman has already ruled that the City is liable for this over-billing, and the Second Circuit Court has now declined to intervene or reverse that decision.
All else aside, this is certainly a story of just how far Mayor Perkins and his City attorneys will go to cheat we who have for years overpaid our water and sewer bills.
We must all remember this lesson when Mayor Perkins very soon demands that we approve a number of add-ons to our already far too high (property) and other taxes, fees, service charges, etc., etc., etc.
What this mayor and his attorneys did in this caper is just plain disgusting … and something taxpayers should never forgive or forget.
© 2020 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED