Class-action civil complaint filed against George Johnson, owner of Johnson Utilities

Class-action civil complaint filed against George Johnson, owner of Johnson Utilities
Class-action civil complaint filed against George Johnson, owner of Johnson Utilities

Johnson Utilities, LLC and its owner George Johnson, along with lobbyist James Norton, former Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Chairman Gary Pierce, and Pierce's wife Sherry Pierce, are being sued by customers who were forced to pay unlawfully inflated prices secured via defendants' bribery scheme in violation of federal RICO and Arizona state racketeering laws.

As set forth in a recent federal indictment, Pierce ensured that the ACC would approve a wastewater rate increase requested by Johnson – a request which had initially been unanimously denied by the ACC on the advice of its staff. Shortly after the approval of the rate increase, Johnson began making a series of monthly bribe payments to Pierce.

These bribe payments were routed through intermediaries, including lobbyist Norton, who then funneled payment to Pierce's wife as payments for purported "consulting services" subject to a non-disclosure agreement.

As a result of these bribes, Johnson Utilities was able to force plaintiffs and other customers to pay unlawfully inflated prices for water and/or wastewater services.

Plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, are seeking a trial by jury and are suing for damages – including statutory treble damages – caused by defendants' unlawful conduct, as well as any other relief as is necessary.

Plaintiffs are represented by Jeffrey Goulder and Javier Torres of Stinson Leonard Street, LLP in Phoenix, Arizona.

Note: If you are interested in participating in the class action lawsuit filed against Johnson Utilities, please click here to submit your contact information. Submitting this form is not a requirement to participate.  All Johnson Utilities water and wastewater customers from 2011 on will be notified once the court approves the case to proceed as a class action.  Once notified, customers will be able to choose to participate in the lawsuit or opt out.

 

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