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As Reditus lawsuits unfold behind closed doors, signs point to receivership

Tazewell County Courthouse
Eric Stock
WGLT file
Dozens of attorneys representing the many sides of litigation involving Reditus Labs and its CEO, Aaron Rossi, attended a hearing Monday, April 11, 2022. Some attended in person at the Tazewell County courthouse in Pekin; others attended via Zoom.

A deal has apparently been struck that could put someone else in "control" of Reditus Labs as embattled CEO Aaron Rossi faces lawsuits and criminal charges – although the details of the change remain hidden from public view.

Rossi’s former business partners have accused him of pillaging the COVID-19 testing company to fund his own lavish lifestyle. They asked a judge to put the Pekin-based company into receivership, meaning a court-appointed receiver would act as a guardian over Reditus and temporarily protect its assets during the dispute.

There are several indications that an agreement has been struck to indeed put Reditus into receivership, although WGLT has not been able to confirm the details. That’s because one of the civil lawsuits, filed by business partner James Davie against Rossi and Reditus, is proceeding under protective order, or seal, which means the public and the media cannot see certain records in the case. WGLT, WCBU, and several media outlets are fighting that seal in court, arguing Reditus’ extensive work for the state makes it matter of public concern. The company made hundreds of millions of dollars running COVID tests for the state, growing to more than 300 employees.

Aaron Rossi at desk looks at a projected computer screen from his office in Pekin.
Reditus CEO Aaron Rossi at his offices in Pekin.

During a court hearing Monday in Tazewell County, an attorney for Reditus, Bob Varney, referred in open court to an agreed order on a receivership. Varney asked whether the receiver should get to weigh in on pending matters related to the media in the case, since “they’re gonna be taking control.”

In response, another attorney then said that Varney was referring to matters “that are under seal,” presumably referring to the receivership. About a dozen lawyers involved in the case, as well as Judge Chris Doscotch, then retreated into the judge’s chambers for closed-door discussions about the case. Varney did not respond to requests for comment later Monday.

It appears some or all parties in the case agreed to the receivership around April 6. Attorneys for a separate company involved in a different but related lawsuit with Rossi, called Physicians Equity Ventures LLC, said Friday in a court filing (one of the few visible to the media) that a judge “granted the motions for a receiver pursuant to an agreed order dated April 6.”

That’s the same day a proposed emergency receiver order that had been signed by multiple parties in the case was filed, according to the Tazewell County circuit clerk’s website. However, 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 circuit clerk’s website. That order is not available to the media.

There was a flurry of filings in the case late last week, after the apparent April 6 movement.

Notably, Davie’s attorneys on Friday dropped their request to have the seal lifted in the case – a reversal of their previous position on the matter. Davie’s attorneys previously argued that the case deserved public scrutiny and that “sunlight is always the best disinfectant.”

It’s unclear what prompted the change in thinking or if it had any connection to a potential agreement being reached on the receivership issue. The original protective order, or seal, was put in place because both sides wanted to “protect ... proprietary or confidential documents and information from unauthorized, unnecessary disclosure,” court records show.

Attorneys for Davie did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Reditus and one of its attorneys also did not respond to requests for comment.

The Davie-Reditus-Rossi civil lawsuit is due back in court Thursday. The federal tax charges against Rossi, of Bloomington, remain pending. He pleaded not guilty to those charges last week.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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