City of Racine reaches settlement with minority business owners in discrimination suit

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RACINE — Seven former Racine tavern owners have settled a discrimination lawsuit against the city for more than $1 million.

The plaintiffs argued in a federal lawsuit originally filed last February that the city and its officials engaged in an elaborate plot to drive minority bar owners out of the city. The agreement approved Tuesday night, October 6th by the Racine City Council calls for its insurer to pay each plaintiff $15,000 with the remaining $1.2 million going to their attorneys.

The defendants have admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

The Racine Journal Times says Mayor John Dickert issued a statement following the vote, saying the case “was a nuisance to the city and it is good to have it concluded:”

“We were in a very good position in the case. The RICO claims were voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs and we filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the remaining civil rights claims pending before the court. If the case was not dismissed in its entirety on summary judgment, which was a good likelihood, we felt very strongly that we would prevail at trial.”

We are pleased that this matter has been resolved without the risks and time associated with a trial, and without the City having to pay any part of the settlement. The plaintiffs only received very nominal amounts ($15,000 each) and their attorneys only received a very small fraction of their incurred attorneys’ fees and expenses (approximately 15 cents on the dollar). The parties agreed in the settlement agreement that the City and the Aldermen continue to deny all wrongdoing and liability to the plaintiffs and any all claims by these plaintiffs against the City, its Aldermen, Police Department employees, etc., are forever released.”

This case was a nuisance to the City and it is good to have it concluded. Now, it is time to get back to growing our city and continuing to build unity among all of our citizens.”