Former Racine business owners sue city officials

CREATED Feb 26, 2014 - UPDATED: Feb 26, 2014

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RACINE -- Former business owners in Racine filed a suit against the city Wednesday.  

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, claims Racine city officials unfairly targeted, harassed and discriminated against the owners. They said it resulted in the revocation of their liquor licenses and the closure of their business.

Specifically named in the filing are the mayor, the former police chief, the assistant to the mayor, the building improvement district chairman and seven city council members.

 "As of this time, the city has not been served with the complaint," said Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney in a release. "The city of Racine denies that it illegally discriminated against any person or business."

The suit also alleges city officials conspired to drive local minority-owned establishments and their clientele out of downtown Racine by instituting discriminatory practices. It states how similarly situated white-owned establishments, frequented by white patrons, were not subjected to the same scrutiny or implementation of practices during the same time period.