By Josh Resnek
It is just about a year since US Attorney Rachael Rollins announced a Justice Department probe into racism, discrimination and retaliation in Evertt.
The announcement followed several months of student protest and widespread media reports revealing general outrage over racist memes used by at least one former councillor who resigned and a city hall official who also resigned.
Since that probe was announced by Rollins, the superintendent of schools and assistant superintendent have sued the mayor and the city for racism and discrimination in the federal court.
During the past year with the probe ongoing, the city has appropriated $500,000 for legal fees, and is about to appropriate $350,000 asked for by city hall to satisfy legal bills that are acruing at about $50,000 a month.
The legal firm of Greenburg Traurig is apparently owed almost $350,000.
The city council has that bill lingering in committee.
The bill will ultimately, assuredly be paid and more bills accrued.
Where exactly this probe is at is anyone’s guess.
Anyone claiming to know is telling you tall tales. Several city councilors requesting insight to the probe from city officials and legal officials have been rebuffed. Where and when the probe ends or expands is also shrouded in secrecy.
We know this about the probe: it is ongoing with interviewing ready to begin or already begun, according to sources close to the probe, and this includes the city solicitor who advised the council of as much recently when asked about it.
The city’s lawyers at Greenberg Traurig have told the city council that none of what is going on can be discussed in public because of the sanctity of privilege existing between those who might be charged with something and the lawyers they speak with.
Justice Department lawyers working on the probe do not issue press releases.
This includes making no public statements of any kind about the range and scope of the investigation, the questions being asked and whether or not the US Attorney is going to act when all is said and done.
We know that at least 3 Justice Department civil rights lawyers are working the probe and communicating from time to time with the city’s lawyers.
Lawyers for the law firm representing the city told the city council recently that their effort is to mitigate or stop entirely the probe and to defend the city from a possible court case growing out of it.
The city’s lawyers are not certain if this probe disappears or intensifies into an investigation with a case number on the docket.
There is the widespread belief that this probe could be a disaster for a variety of city hall types.
There is the corresponding and opposite belief held by many city hall types that nothing is going to come of the probe, that it will simply die out and go away.
US Attorney Rollins is known for finishing what she starts.
It will be of more than passing interest to see what comes of this probe, if anything, she ordered about 1 year ago.