Class action lawsuit filed against tuskegee council and ubt members news thetuskegeenews.com electricity cost per watt

Defendants are: Johnny Ford, as mayor of Tuskegee and chairman of the UBT; Ala Whitehead, as a member of the Tuskegee City Council and director of UBT; Chris Lee as a member of the Council and director of UBT; Harold Washington as a director for UBT; and Jacqueline Gullette as a director for the UBT.

Approximately 7,300 customers receive services from the UBT. Residents inside the corporate limits of Tuskegee are provided electric, sewer and water services from the UBT, which also provides electrical service, but not water and sewer service, to many customers outside the corporate limits of Tuskegee.

•For Subclass I: The purported franchise tax imposed on electrical, water and sewage customers in the corporate limits of Tuskegee is illegal and void in that it exceeds the maximum license fee allowed by law and has been illegally collected as an add-on, rather than a license fee based on the previous 12 months’ gross receipts. This subclass is entitled to a refund of taxes allegedly collected illegally and appropriate injunctive relief.

•Subclass III: With reference to customers inside corporate limits of the Town of Shorter, the 5 percent license fee imposed by the City of Tuskegee is illegal; the add-on method of collecting the tax that UBT used to collect by the Town of Shorter utilized by UBT is illegal and due to be refunded to the customers by UBT (but not by the Town of Shorter to UBT).

•Subclass IV: With reference to customers residing within the police jurisdiction of the Town of Shorter, the 5 percent license fee is illegal. The Town of Shorter has no authority to impose a tax outside its corporate limits and the add-on method of collection by the Town of Shorter by UBT is illegal.

•Subclass V: With reference to customers outside the corporate limits of Tuskegee and Shorter, the City of Tuskegee’s franchise tax is totally illegal. (1) residents who reside outside the city limits are Tuskegee are subsidizing improvement of sewage service for the residents of Tuskegee. (2) The $500,000 of utility fees paid by them to the UBT has been paid over by the UBT to the City of Tuskegee, and will not be used for their benefit. (3) In addition, the $500,000 lump sum was illegally paid by the UBT to the City. UBT also pays an additional amount of approximately $40,000 for the illegal tax.

Those customers are entitled to injunction relief to end the illegal taxation, and to have the illegally collected taxes attributed to their payment for electrical services refunded by the City to UBT, They are entitled to have their attorneys a reasonable fee for obtaining that result.

•The purported action of the UBT in giving “surplus” property to the City violated the fiduciary responsibilities of the UBT and is due to be set aside. The property, if not needed by the UBT, should sold and used the appropriate benefit of the UBT

•In matter to be decided by UBT concerning their relationship, or any contract dealings with the City, defendants Ford, Whitehead and Lee are obligated to recuse themselves because of a conflict of interest, and their votes should never be counted or considered with regard to decisions of such matters.

Because of their inherent conflict of interest and gross violations of fiduciary duties as directors of UBT, and the fact their presence on the board violates the 2012 bond indenture, Ford, Whitehead and Lee are disqualified and must be removed from the UBT Board of Directors.

•Judgment should be entered against defendants Ford, Whitehead, Lee, Washington and Gullette in their representative capacities, arising from breach of fiduciary duties to UBT, including breaches of duties of loyalty, prudence and care, and their conflicts of interest for the full amount due to be refunded to customers of UBT that have been illegally collected by the City since they undertook to illegally require the payment of franchise taxes as an add-on tax from UBT to the City.