Abita Springs attorney named in racketeering lawsuit

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by Dennis Woltering / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on August 10, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 10 at 8:49 PM

NEW ORLEANS -- A new, amended complaint in a lawsuit in federal court accuses an attorney on the Northshore of engaging in a criminal enterprise. The lawsuit alleges that the one-time town attorney of Abita Springs, William Magee, carried out a pattern of racketeering activity to take property away from other people.

Butch and Nicole Martin allege that prominent Northshore attorney William Magee and others formed an enterprise and used fraud to acquire real estate that belonged to other people.

They say the deed to their property is "defective" because in 2001, years before they bought it, Magee and others took a series of steps to take the property away from the rightful owners.

“I say it's stolen property,” Butch Martin said. “No question about it. You know the original heirs were supposed to get this property basically in a will. And then along comes William Magee and takes the property illegally.”

In a lawsuit they have filed in federal court, the Martins allege that Magee and his associates acquired a series of properties illegally in St. Tammany parish.

According to the lawsuit, "Magee and the enterprise created and carried out a pattern of racketeering activity in fraudulently acquiring possession of these properties."

“When it's happening over and over again, there's no mistake, this is intentional. This is theft. This is wrong. And it needs to stop,” Butch Martin said.

Their lawsuit alleges this activity took place over a period of 14 years.

“I mean not only did he steal property from the rightful owners, but he's put us in the middle,” said Nicole Martin.

Through his attorney, Magee has declined comment because the case is in litigation. But in court documents filed in response to allegation involving he Martin property, Magee's attorney said "there is no evidence" that the court judgments giving Magee ownership “were improper, illegal, or improperly obtained."

Among those named as defendants in the complaint: Judge Mary Devereux of the 22nd Judicial District Court in St. Tammany.

The lawsuit says Devereux was a law partner of Magee and participated in activities that constituted a pattern of racketeering.

 

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