Pantagraph and Other Media Seek to Unseal Documents in Reditus Lawsuit | Local crime and courts
BLOOMINGTON — The Pantagraph joins other central Illinois media organizations in calling for the release of documents in a lawsuit against Reditus Labs CEO Aaron Rossi.
Rossi, who was indicted last month for federal tax evasion, is being sued in Tazewell County by a business partner who accuses Rossi of “looting” Reditus to fund his own lifestyle. The company, which opened in 2019 and quickly became a leading provider of COVID-19 tests in Illinois, had secured more than $220 million in state contracts to supply COVID tests.
Some key documents in the case are under seal, the result of a protective order initially accepted by the plaintiff, James Davie. Davie has since been granted new representation and is seeking to lift the seal. The media petition supports this effort.
“We need to be able to follow the pleadings and follow the allegations in this case,” said Don Craven, the Springfield media attorney handling the petition on behalf of the organizations. “We don’t take sides on who is right and who is wrong. We just want to be able to accurately report what is happening in this case.”
Other participating outlets include WGLT, WCBU, WEEK 25 News & Heart of Illinois ABC, WMBD-TV & WYZZ, WMBD 1470 and the Peoria Journal Star.
“Open court is the foundation of public confidence in our justice system,” said Allison Petty, editor of the Pantagraph. “Promoting transparency is an important part of the Pantagraph’s role as a watchdog for our readers, and we are partnering with other central Illinois media organizations in this effort.”
In their petition, the media argued that the litigation could have a significant impact on the economy of Tazewell County and the families of Reditus employees, and raises issues related to the spending of millions of taxpayer dollars received by Reditus. .
The protective order protects all pleadings, briefs, or other documents filed with the court designated as confidential “if they contain trade secrets or other confidential business information, or if they contain business or financial information of a personal or non-public nature”.
The media argue that the protection order is far too broad. The order “apparently limits access to pleadings and other documents in the court file, without consideration of constitutional and statutory issues therein, and also limits access to discovery documents,” they wrote.
Davie’s attorneys allege mismanagement of taxpayers’ money, another reason Craven said the information should be public.
“These are taxes that have been paid to the company,” Craven said. “It’s not enough to say it’s going to be embarrassing, it’s private. It has to be a real trade secret, depending on the cases as we read them, and what they may have spent money on n is not a trade secret.”
Tazewell County Judge Chris Doscotch will hear the motion at the next trial hearing on April 14.
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Contact Kade Heather at 309-820-3256. Follow him on Twitter: @kadeheather