The city of Chicago has filed a civil complaint against Empire-actor Jussie Smollett due to his refusal to repay the city for the cost of the resources utilized to investigate his allegedly-false hate crime attack.
The complaint against Smollett was filed on April 11th by The City of Chicago’s Law Department after Smollett failed to voluntarily reimburse the city $136,105.15 by April 4th, 2019. In the full complaint, which has been provided courtesy of ABC7 Chicago, the City of Chicago claims that Smollett not only perpetrated the now-infamous attack himself, but that he willingly provided false statements and filed a false police report during the course of the investigation:
“This action is brought by the City to recover civil penalties, statutory treble damages, and attorney’s fees and costs arising from Defendant’s false statements to the City. On January 29, 2019, Defendant submitted a false police report claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic beating by unknown attackers. In reality, Defendant knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself. Later, when police confronted him with evidence about his attackers, he still refused to disclose his involvement in planning the attack. In investigating Defendant’s false statements and false police report, the City incurred significant costs in order to provide services reasonably related to Defendant’s conduct.”
The lawsuit aims to sue Smollett for the full cost of the investigation on two counts, one regarding his violation of the City’s False Statements Ordinance (FSO), due to Smollett repeatedly providing false statements to authorities, which reads:
“[a]ny person who knowingly makes a false statement of material fact to the city in violation of any statute, ordinance or regulation, or who knowingly makes a false statement of material fact to the city in connection with any application, report, affidavit, oath, or attestation, including a statement of material fact made in connection with a bid, proposal, contract or economic disclosure statement or affidavit, is liable to the city for a civil penalty of not less than $500.00 and not more than $1,000.00, plus up to three times the amount of damages which the city sustains because of the person’s violation of this section. A person who violates this section shall also be liable for the city’s litigation and collection costs and attorneys’ fees.”
The other complaint notes that Smollett violated the City’s Cost Recovery Ordinance (CRO) due to his refusal to pay back the city for the costs of the investigation:
“The CRO provides that “[a]ny person who causes the city or its agents to incur costs in order to provide services reasonably related to such person’s violation of any federal, state or local law, or such person’s failure to correct conditions which violate any federal, state or local law when such person was under a legal duty to do so, shall be liable to the city for those costs.” MCC § 1-20-020.65. Under the CRO, “‘costs’ includes all costs of the city incurred in relation to the provision of services by the city or its agents, regardless of whether the city would have otherwise incurred those costs, including but not limited to wages and benefits of personnel involved in providing such services, reasonable costs of equipment used in the provision of such services, costs of materials expended in providing such services, costs of storing hazardous or any other materials recovered during the course of providing such services, or any other costs allocable to the provision of services.” MCC § 1-20-010.”
“In addition, “[i]n any action brought under [the CRO], the City of Chicago shall also be entitled to recover a penalty in an amount equal to the city’s litigation and collection costs and attorney’s fees.”MCC § 1-20-060.”
Last week, Smollett’s attorney, Mark Geragos, stated that if any civil action were taken against Smollett, he would demand for the full investigation file, records, and hearings to be made available to the public:
“If, despite the deficiencies above, you file a civil action against Mr. Smollett, please be advised that in addition to raising the appropriate legal defenses, 1) we will demand the prompt production of the entire investigation file in this matter, including the full discovery from the criminal action which was never provided to the defense; 2) we will demand that you promptly produce for deposition Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Abimbola Osundairo, Olabinjo Osundairo, and attorneys Gloria Schmidt and Jorge Rodriguez; and 3) we will seek to have all records and hearings on this matter be open to the public.”
Smollett continues to proclaim his innocence and continues to assert that he was a true victim of a hate crime. If the lawsuit moves forward, records pertaining to Smollett’s involvement and the investigation could be made public, which could provide trouble for Smollett if he was responsible for orchestrating the hoax attack.
When asked for a statement on the City’s filing of the complaint against Smollett, a member of his legal team simply responded “No comment.”
What do you think about the city of Chicago suing Jussie Smollett?