"This language and similar language in other grant documents is unlawful and misleading and has a chilling effect on Road Home applicants' right to seek judicial review of their grant" under state law, attorneys for Jacob Groby III
and Durrell Williams wrote in a news release.
is identified as a St. Tammany Parish resident who lived in St. Bernard Parish
when floodwaters destroyed his
Williams is a New Orleans resident who hasn't yet signed the grant agreement, according to the suit.Groby
Road Home application in August 2006 and Williams applied in January 2007.
The suit says Groby
went to a closing for the sale of his
property to the state on Jan. 17, but has not yet received any grant money, while Williams has not been scheduled for a closing.
While the plaintiffs are not seeking monetary damages, they are asking that the court order the state to pay their legal fees.Groby
and Williams are being represented by the law firm of Silvestri & Massicot
...Jacob Groby III
, a former St. Bernard Parish resident now living in St. Tammany Parish
, and Durrell Williams of New Orleans claim in a federal lawsuit that language in Road Home grant documents violates their civil rights by infringing on their right to judicial review and access to the courts.The suit, filed by the New Orleans law firm of Silvestri and Massicot and New Orleans lawyer Peter D. Derbes, contends Groby and Williams were "falsely told" Road Home applicants are not entitled to seek judicial review after exhaustion of administrative appeals within the Road Home program.
, who decided to sell his
St. Bernard home to the state and relocate within the state, has signed a grant agreement with the Road Home but has not gone to closing.
complained to an LRA
housing committee in December, and program officials responded by increasing his
grant to $115,156, based on the higher valuation.Groby
signed the act of sale on Jan. 17.But on Feb. 1, a Road Home staffer called Groby back for a meeting and asked him to sign papers reducing his
award, based on the lower appraisal again.He
refused to sign and formally appealed.But despite the rule that seemed to ensure it, that challenge still didn't trigger use of the higher appraisal."They're not even following their own written rules, " said Groby, 44, St. Bernard Parish's superintendent for water quality.
"They did these evaluations, not me.If I did them and they questioned them, that's one thing.But these are their values."
Moreover, seven months after he
sold the home to the state, he
has yet to see a dime.The state has locked up the property, slated it for demolition and told Groby he
is barred from going to court to collect his
sale proceeds, Groby
State officials declined to discuss details of his
or other cases.