Judge issues mixed order in Fattah Jr.'s lawsuit against feds

Posted: August 29, 2014

A FEDERAL judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit filed this year by Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. against the IRS, FBI and U.S. Department of Justice but allowed another part of the suit to proceed.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Savage's order, filed yesterday, followed a motion by the government's attorney in Washington to dismiss claims in the suit and to dismiss the FBI and DOJ as defendants.

Savage agreed to dismiss the FBI and DOJ as defendants because the time period allowed under the law to sue them had passed.

Fattah Jr. brought a lawsuit against the federal government and the IRS on March 19 alleging the agency violated federal law by waking him before 8 a.m. at his then-apartment at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton in Center City during a Feb. 29, 2012, raid, by failing to contact his attorneys and by disclosing information of the raid to the Inquirer.

He claimed that as a result of negative news articles, he suffered damage to his reputation and the loss of numerous business opportunities.

In a March 25 amended complaint, he added the FBI and DOJ as defendants. He blamed the IRS, FBI and DOJ for leaking notice of the raid, contending the feds improperly disclosed his tax-return information to the media.

Savage concluded that Fattah Jr. "has sufficiently" put forth allegations "showing that his tax return information was improperly disclosed." He therefore allowed this claim to proceed.

But he dismissed Fattah Jr.'s claim that federal agents allegedly violated a section of the Internal Revenue Code by showing up at his apartment early and by failing to contact his attorneys. That section of the code deals with the collection of federal taxes and not criminal investigations.

Fattah Jr., who is not a lawyer, is representing himself. The son of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, he said yesterday of the judge's order: "The decision speaks for itself. I respect the judge's decision and clearly I agree with the judge's opinion that the case has merit and should proceed to trial."

He originally sued the IRS for nearly $1 million. His amended suit seeks $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

The feds earlier this month unsealed an indictment against Fattah Jr. alleging he defrauded banks, the IRS and the School District of Philadelphia of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On Twitter: @julieshawphilly

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