MISSISSIPPI BLACK FARMERS AND THEIR HEIRS WILL BE SACKED; Under The Vilsack Settlement Agreement ___________________________________________________________________
GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI WORKSHOP
Memphis, Tennessee – August 26, 2010 – Mississippi has the largest number of claimants with Tracking Numbers (21,411–over 1/4 of all late claims in the entire lawsuit) than any other state. However, a current proposed SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (Pigford II) being offered by The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack will reduce the cash portion of their compensation from the original $50,000 settlement to virtually pennies on the dollar due to a spending "cap" of $1.25 Billion. "This $1.25 Billion is woefully inadequate to compensate the approximately 70,000 to 80,000 new claims," states Thomas Burrell, BFAA, Inc President. In 2008, congress passed legislation which has effectively forced the Court (Michael Lewis–Court Appointed Arbitrator who denied these claimants entry into the lawsuit in 2000 and USDA) to allow these Late Filers to have their claims of discrimination "heard on the merits." "Unfortunately, most of these farmers, their heirs, administrators and assigns are not aware of the consequences of the provisions of this new Pigford II agreement," continues Burrell.
The lawyers (all 25 firms) representing these claimants have already signed off on this new agreement (dated February 18, 2010). These lawyers, however, have not explained to these claimants how and why this agreement is, by virtue of their consent a LIQUIDATED SETTLEMENT. "By signing off on this agreement all 70,000 to 80,000 Late Filers, whom these lawyers represent, will automatically be placed into and under the provisions of this watered down settlement, concludes Burrell.
The BFAA, Inc has filed a MOTION, by and through its attorneys, in Federal District Court informing the Court of the fact that its members have not consented to and more importantly, do not wish to consenting to this new arrangement and Settlement Agreement. BFAA, Inc is arguing that, among other things, the original contract (Pigford I) between the farmers, their heirs and the USDA already provides a constitutional and unambiguously conferred "right of enforcement" under which its members can have their interest ($50,000) adjudicated. The original lawsuit (Pigford I) provides that "the Judgement Fund" as referenced in 31 U.S.C Section 1304 and being incorporated into the original Consent Decree is still available to our members.
BFAA, Inc will hold workshops in Greenwood, Mississippi at the Leflore County Civic Center located at 200 Highway # 7 this coming Friday and Saturday, August 27th and 28th. BFAA, Inc will be explaining what it is doing to make sure that all of its members will be paid the full $50,000 settlement under the original Consent Decree. There will be two meetings on Friday: 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM and again at 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM and on Saturday: 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM.