Black Farmers will file suit in Montgomery, Alabama to ask the federal judge to resolve federal questions of law concerning the continuing discrimination from The USDA.
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To: The United States Senate Judiciary Committee
Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C 20510
From: The Cowtown Foundation Inc.
P.O. Box 422
Arrington, Tn. 37014
615 308 7787
Re: Federal Judges and moratoriums against foreclosures and offsets of Black Farmers
October 3, 2018
Dear Mr. Grassley and Members of The Senate Judiciary Committee
I am writing you in regards to treatment of Black Farmers by some federal judges that have willfully violated the moratoriums against foreclosures and offsets that have been enacted by Congress pursuant to 7 U.S.C 1981(a) and subsections of the 2008 Food Energy and Conservation Act of 2008, hereinafter known as the “Farm Bill,” further codified as 7 C.F.R 766.358 and section 14012 of the same.
In April of 1999, The USDA and Black Farmers reached a historical settlement agreement in which the Department of Agriculture admitted to systemically discriminating against Black Farmers. The DC District Court retained jurisdiction of enforcement of the settlement agreement. Judge Paul Friedman presided over the case and still presides over all enforcement of said agreement.
There were 65,000 class members, and only 19,000 were accepted. Of the 19,000 members, 6,200 owned farms and were denied relief, even though in some cases the same farmers won NAD hearing in the time periods from 1981-1996, in which the action was based upon. We have evidence that only 3 farmers actually received the farm ownership written off of the 19,000 prevailing class members. As recently as 2016, Judge Paul Friedman denied more than 2,500 farmers the right to be heard in his court for enforcement action, never docketing the cases. Some of those farmers ultimately lost their farms.
A closer look at Judge Friedman reveals some troubling behavior. For example, in Rodney Bradshaw v. The USDA, Judge Friedman delayed the case for 14 years and in the interim, Judge Friedman and the Administrative Law Judge have denied a hearing to enforce the moratorium. The Pigford Settlement Agreement specifically states that the moratorium is in effect until the aggrieved class member has a formal hearing. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals found in Benoit v. The USDA, 08-5434 held that the ALJ must first hold the formal hearing and a subsequent review is available through the District Court.
Currently, Judge Sam Crow, in the District of Kansas, has stonewalled the aforementioned Pigford Settlement Agreement in J and L Brown Family Trust v. Rodney Bradshaw to clear the way for the foreclosure of nearly 1,900 acres belonging to a Black Farmer. In the Western District of Louisiana, Judge Robert James has decided a case in favor of the United States against Black Farmer, Willie Charles Kennedy, a prevailing class member. In the Western District of Kentucky, Judge Joseph McKinley foreclosed on land belonging to prevailing Pigford Class member Harry Young. It was later discovered that the farm was paid off 20 years prior. Judge McKinley also cleared the way for the foreclosure of farmland belonging to Corey Lea and Corey Lea, Inc. who had a pending discrimination complaint at the Office of Civil Rights and was afforded moratorium protection pursuant to 7 C.F.R. 766.358. Moreover, Corey Lea filed for bankruptcy and Judge Lloyd and Judge McKinley allowed a nunc pro tunc order stating that Corey Lea was not eligible for bankruptcy protection, even though his name was on the deed as an individual and the corporation was dissolved. Currently, Judge Terrence Berg has denied a judicial review for the administrative claims and dismissed with prejudice. At no time did that court ever look at the claim before the ALJ.
The Cowtown Foundation Inc. and Corey Lea represent over 3,000 Black Farmers at the administrative level. The USDA has doubled down on The Pigford Settlement Agreement and is successful in using certain federal judges to deny the rights of Black Farmers to have a formal hearing on the merits and the moratorium protections afforded by Congressional Acts and The Pigford Settlement Agreement. The Black Farmers would like to have an oversight hearing in January about the injustice that the federal judges are colluding with the Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, we would like an opportunity to provide evidence that could lead to impeachment of the aforementioned federal judges. In addition, we are requesting that this committee order an investigation by the USDOJ Inspector General of Federal Judges and US Attorneys that have participated in this scheme that has cost the American Taxpayer nearly 2.5 Billion Dollars.
The Cowtown Foundation Inc.
P.O. Box 422
Arrington, Tn. 37014
615 308 7787
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