Harrisburg City Council Majority Sues Governor & Receiver

The attorney representing a majority of Harrisburg City Council Members blames both Republican and Democratic state lawmakers for the power struggle over city finances that's now heading into a federal courtroom. 

"I think this is a corrupt state and I think both parties are corrupt," says attorney Paul Rossi who filed a civil lawsuit today on behalf of Wanda Williams, Eugenia Smith, Brad Koplinski, Sandra Reid, Susan Wilson-Brown, controller Dan Miller and Treasurer John Campbell against Governor Tom Corbett and state appointed receiver Maj. Gen. William Lynch.  

The lawsuit claims the statute passed by state lawmakers creating a receiver for the City of Harrisburg violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

"It's clear that Harrisburg is being singled out by a law that allows the Governor to pick and choose which city in which he will suspend representative democracy," Rossi says. 

The city council members believe they're being punished for rejecting Act 47 which they say did not offer solutions to the city's money problems. 

"It is critical that the city have funds to operate.  Could they run out of money? Reality is yes," says Cory Angell, press secretary for Lynch.  

Lynch released a report saying Harrisburg has enough money to make it through the summer, but in mid-September the city faces a second big debt payment on General Obligation bonds. 

"We believe their suit has no good claim. I think the most important thing is there's a recovery plan approved by Commonwealth Court.  It's a good plan and we really need to move forward with the plan," Angell says.  

But Rossi says the plan is not in the best interest of ordinary citizens, instead protecting politicians.

"What's really going on here are that the people who finance the campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans in the capitol building, they want their money out before Harrisburg is forced into bankruptcy," Rossi says. He goes on to say he will file an emergency injunction if the receiver tries to sell city assets. 

Private citizens filed a similar lawsuit last December, but a judge says they did not have legal standing.