Federal lawsuit alleges Racine officials drove out minority-owned businesses

A group of former Racine business owners filed a lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, alleging that city officials, including Mayor John Dickert, conspired to drive local minority-owned establishments and their clientele out of downtown Racine by instituting discriminatory practices.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight former city of Racine business owners by the law firms of Kohler & Hart, S.C. and Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, Ltd., according to a news release.

The lawsuit claims Racine city officials unfairly targeted, harassed and discriminated against the former business owners, resulting in the revocation of their liquor licenses and the closure of their businesses.

The lawsuit specifically names Mayor John Dickert, former police chief Kurt Wahlen, assistant to the mayor, Gregory Bach, Building Improvement District Chairman, Mark Levin, and seven city council members including Jeff Coe, James Kaplan, Gregory T. Helding and Aron Wisneski.

Dickert could not be reached for comment.

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