WGLT and other news media seek to unseal evidence in the Reditus lawsuit
WGLT, WCBU and other news organizations have filed a request to unseal evidence and other documents in a lawsuit against Reditus Labs of Pekin and CEO Aaron Rossi.
James Davie, a business partner of Rossi at Reditus, accused Rossi of “squeezing him” out of the company, using Reditus funds to fuel a lavish lifestyle and shielding Davie from access to the company’s financial records.
Reditus made hundreds of millions of dollars as one of the leading coronavirus testing companies for the state of Illinois.
Last month, attorneys for Davie asked Tazewell County Judge Chris Doscotch to lift the protective order that’s keeping some evidence from public view, though the plaintiff’s counsel has repeatedly issuedscathing allegations against Rossi in court filings and in the media, accusing the Bloomington man of embezzling funds from a previous employer, illegally prescribing opiates to himself, and using cocaine.
An attorney for Rossi said in court previously Davie’s attorneys are attempting to “cause injury to (Reditus)” through a media campaign."
Media attorney Don Craven of Springfield filed the motion to reconsider the protective order on Wednesday on behalf of radio stations WGLT, WCBU and WMBD; the Pantagraph and Peoria Journal Star newspapers; and television stations WEEK, Heart of Illinois ABC, WMBD and WYZZ.
Craven argued in the court filing the media has a “substantial interest in fully reporting” on the lawsuit, given the tax dollars paid to Reditus for its coronavirus testing and the company’s economic impact on the region.
“What happened to those funds? Were those funds used to create jobs or were those funds used for the benefit of shareholders and managers of the company? I think there are substantial questions both on the local level and the state level,” Craven said Wednesday during a video call with reporters.
Craven said the protective order was “overly broad and improperly limits the ability of the (media) to gather and distribute news.”
“The law is very clear that only in extraordinary circumstances could a court file or a portion of a court file be closed,” Craven said.
It’s not clear when Doscotch will rule on the request. The case is scheduled for a hearing April 14. No trial date has been set.
A weeklong court hearing is scheduled for May 2 as Davie and Malcolm Herzog, a plaintiff in another lawsuit, seek to have Reditus placed into a receivership to remove Rossi from having any financial control of the company.
It appears an additional court filing in the case has also been shielded from public view. According to the Tazewell County Circuit Clerk’s website, a proposed emergency receiver order that had been signed by multiple parties in the case was filed Wednesday. Susan Wilson with the circuit clerk’s office said the file was “locked confidential per the court.” That file listing was later removed from the website.
Rossi, 39, is also scheduled to make this first court appearance Thursday in Peoria on federal tax fraud charges.