Syndicated by: Montana News
Written by Donald Cyphers Investigative reporter
Billings, Montana.,--//MNA Press//-- (6) Billings residents have filed a class action suit against the City of Billings for an ILLEGAL TAX, on them individually and other Billings Business's and any other Billings residents who paid for the what the city of Billings calls a franchise fee for water, sewer services, and garbage disposal services. These "fees" are according to STATE LAW IS AN ILLEGAL SALES TAX.
The City of Billings has been collecting monies for many years and then dumping that money into the general fund. This is the same general fund that Billings Police Rich St. John is trying to get his hands on for his department to spend money.
Yet, this very same money in the general fund was being used to pay Billings Police Officers who were having sex on the public dime while on city tax payer property.
The City of Billings was allowing their illegal gain of taxpayer money to fund a corrupt Billings Police department. How interesting. And the taxpayers have no say in the matter.
In the lawsuit the Plaintiffs, Terry Houser, Terry Odegard, Roger Webb, Mae Woo, Kathryn Zurbuchen and Thomas Zurbuchen are alleging that the Montana Law prohibits municipalities from imposing ANY TAX, on the sale of goods and services.
This law is MCA 7-1-112 (1).
The City of Billings refers to the tax imposed upon its sale of water, sewer and garbage disposal services as a "franchise fee," it is in fact a sales tax. But according to the law, this is ILLEGAL and the city knows this, but looks the other direction all the while dumbing down the public consumers both commercial and residential by using the falsified terminology of "franchise fee." Basically, even the City deep within its bowels is corrupt to the core.
Let's explain to the public what an actual franchise fee really is:
A franchise fee is only a payment for "special privilege awarded by the government to a person or corporation and conveys a valuable property right."
You will find this in case law: Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Vs. City of Billings, 2003 Mt 332 14, 318 Mont. 407,80 P.3d 1247.
How is this applied to Billings residents?
Simple, there was no conveyance of a valuable property right that has occurred with the provision by the City, of any water, sewer and garbage disposal services to any Billings resident or commercial business. Nor did any plaintiffs or public been given or was granted a right to occupy and use City property of those services.
That's it folks. The City of Billings has been pulling an illegal scam and charging the public for this for years, but to mask their illegal taxing activity, they called it just a "franchise fee."
The City of Billings has a LONG HISTORY of breaking the law, and their word is NO GOOD.
This time, the Billings residents and commercial businesses need to hold the City of Billing's feet to the fire and get a secured commitment from the City of Billings to never again access any fees that are similar in nature in the future.
The City of Billings has been caught (3) times before, breaking law attempting to impose various forms of sales taxes. The Corrupt Billings City Council knows that the Montana Supreme Court had already struck down and unlawful sales tax a $1.00/day/person occupancy tax that the City of Billings tried to cleverly impose on the Billings hotel and motel industry in the early 1980's.
This case can be referenced with at (Montana Inn Keepers Ass'n Vs. City of Billings, 206 Mont. 425 (1983) which was cleverly packaged just as a license fee based on revenues generated by each business operating in Billings.
Another time the City of Billings was caught breaking the law, can be referenced in this case: Brueggemann Vs. City of Billings, 221 Mont 375 (1986) and the utility franchise fee including (Montana Dakota Utilities Co Vs. City of Billings, 2003 Mt 332).
Hmm..... The City of Billings IS CORRUPT TO THE CORE.
No wonder why we have a corrupt Police Department that is headed by a corrupt Chief of police Rich St. John.
And no wonder why RIch St. John is always at the Council meetings asking for more public money that he know was collected illegally by the City of Billings, Yet St. John scrambles for his share of the ill gained money.
St John IS, a dirty cop, that he is.
Time for him to resign.
How has this affected the taxpayers?
The City has violated and continues to violate the law, MCA 7-1-112 (1) by imposing illegal sales taxes upon the residents of Billings and based on the City of Billing's own actions, have given rise to massive liability on their shoulders.
The violations of law by the City of Billings has resulted in harms, that were suffered by any person who has been paying the city their utility bills and garbage service, which is typical of legal violations and damage suffered by all members of the legal calls and legal subclasses. Because of the willful actions by the City of Billings all who have paid are considered plaintiffs in this case and can be legally considered plaintiffs in the class action suit.
The City of Billings has willfully and knowingly harmed financially it's very own residents and business just look at all the (3) prior, cases that the Montana News brings out in the light, proving that the City of Billings is corrupt, then gets caught, then gets corrupt again, then gets caught and the drama goes on and on.
Did the City of Billings have a chance to clean up their act?
Yes, many times including when the (6) Plaintiffs attempted to get the City of Billings to police themselves when the facts of what was discovered was set forth the very factors which were used by the Montana Supreme Court in determining whether a "franchise fee is, in fact, an illegal sales tax and it was clearly explained to the City by the (6) Plaintiffs how the actions by the City of Billings in their water, sewer, garbage disposal franchise fee was utterly false and failed to satisfy any of the three factors set out by the Montana Supreme Court.
The City of Billings not only (3) other times has breached the public trust in trying to impose an illegal sales tax, which the Montana News referenced using actual cases in the past that went against the City of Billings, but they have grossly failed in any good faith and fair dealing by imposing such illegal sales taxes on the public when billing its customers for providing water, sewer and garbage disposal services.
Basically the City of Billings has grossly, knowingly mislead and unjustly enriched themselves at the expense of the entire Billings residential and commercial population.
An extracted, ill gained money, from Billings residents and commercial businesses for the provision of water, sewer and garbage service is sad.
The Montana News reached out to City Deputy Prosecutor, Thomas Pardy, who in his Judgeship Candidacy commercials, says he hates crime. So, the Montana News asked him in an email if he is on the side of the public voter's ? or the side of the corrupt City of Billings?
After all he says he stands of honesty, integrity, and equality under the Law.
According to Candidate for judge district 7, Thomas Pardy stated, " First, I am completely out of the loop on this matter as I am not the one handling it. I speculate that either Brent Brooks or Gina Dahl are handling it. Second, and probably more importantly, if I were involved it would probably be inappropriate for me to comment as it is a pending matter. "