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Farmer sues USDA, government accuse him with authoritative threats

by : Monica Davis
Tuesday March 16, 2010 - 03:28

According to civil rights activist Eddie Slaughter, April 14th will mark 11 years of acknowledged bias and legal settlements in the long-standing black farmer class action lawsuit. Admitting errors in the past lawsuit, the federal government has agreed to pay some of those who were left out of the Pigford Case $50,000 to right some of the wrongs of de facto USDA institutional racism.

Many black farmers say the amount is way too low, while critics claim the lawsuit is just another boondoggle. They contend that there aren’t as many black farmers as is being claimed. However, the situation is not as simple as some conservatives would like it to be.

The black farmers’ claims of institutional discrimination and collusion in USDA is mirrored by similar actions within local and state governments in terms of minority contracts and property rights. Black property owners and business operators have lost millions of dollars worth of real property and contracts due to ongoing collusion, institutional racism, document fraud and racketeering on the local and national level.

An African-American rancher and country music recording artist, Corey Lea of Alva, Kentucky, filed a class action lawsuit, seeking $20,000,000 in damages from USDA for various civil rights and statutory violations. Lea’s case is complicated because he operates two corporations, and operates as an individual. Lea’s case shares similarities with the Young case. Both men were foreclosed upon while their respective civil rights cases were pending—which is a violation federal law

Mr. Young has been waging a legal battle against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 20 years. He has filed civil rights and racketeering charges against the USDA, accused a federal judge of misconduct, and has twice protested his treatment outside the federal court building in Owensboro. He has also protested in a Washington, DC pro-black agriculturalist rally. His relations with USDA and the Farm Services Agency (FSA) accept been contentious, and some called the situation an outright feud.

In the Young case, at issue are several loans: one which he says he never received, and addition, which he claims was paid off. For twenty years, the government claimed he hadn’t paid on his loan: he has documents and receipts which say otherwise, including a letter from the USDA that he did pay off his loan. Nevertheless, his land, which contains millions of dollars worth of oil and coal reserves, was auctioned off in a foreclosure proceeding in 2005.

To date, Young has not been notified of whether the government sold millions of dollars account of mineral rights in the auction. In many jurisdictions, mineral rights and “surface rights” are separate issues. At one time, Young was the only Small Business Administration certified minority coal supplier in the nation. His supporters question how it is that a man who operated a coal operation worth millions of dollars, while also operating a tobacco farm on land that had oil reserves, in addition to the coal, could have a debt, which mushroomed to $748,109.26. They wonder why the government claims 20 years of declared nonpayment, when Young has in his possession receipts for payment and an acknowledgement from the government that he did pay off the loan.

Then, and now, there are a lot of questions about Mr. Young’s case. Suspicion abounds. Given the admitted racist history of USDA, many doubted the details that the government supplied. One of the jury panel who was dismissed, was suspicious because the judge told them it would not be a time-consuming case. After doing a bit of Internet research, she says she can’t understand why there was so little local and regional coverage about the case over the years.

Mr. Young’s “threat” case was removed from Owensboro to the federal court in Paducah, and concluded with a mistrial Friday, March 12, 2010. Mr. Young has reportedly agreed to a plea deal and enter a pre-trial diversion program, rather than risk a new trial and a possible 5 year sentence.

Under this program, he has agreed to give up his guns, and “keep out of trouble” for a year. This presents a problem for his personal safety. Due to phone threats, vandalism and gunshots aimed at his home, the local sheriff advised him more than a year ago, to arm himself. Now, he has to surrender his weapons.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Monica Davis is an Indiana-based author of 5 books. She is a columnist and public speaker, specializing in economics, history and public policy issues and has written articles on land loss, bank failure, environmental justice and alternative energy. She is published in Great Britain, the U.S. and India and home schoolers in New Zealand have used her articles as teaching tools. Ms. Davis has given presentations on land lynching and the farm catastrophe at churches, museums and universities. Her articles have been read into the Congressional Record and used as the basis for interviews by other reporters. She is available for speaking engagements. Her author web site is http://www.lulu.com/davis4000_2000.



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