HOUSTON (CN) – Galveston city officials are unconstitutionally allowing wealthy and connected people to return to their hurricane-damaged homes, but denying that privilege to average citizens, a class action claims in Federal Court.
Mayor Lyda Thomas allegedly announced that “citizens with resources” could return – without defining that – and put “people with influence” on a secret list that lets them stay and work, but won’t allow average Joes to secure and clean up their houses.
Lead plaintiff Anthony Griffin is an attorney. He says the city has prohibited him from entering his home to retrieve his docket book, computer and other material he needs to continue his practice from outside the drowned city.
Griffin says private contractors, including swimming pool companies, are allowed to stay and work, but he and others without influence cannot.
Griffin says he has seen “prominent Galvestonians” being allowed to return while he and others are barred.
He claims police prohibited him from entering because his name was not on a “list for essential personnel”.
He claims a police officer told him that if he wants to return “that he should try to get on a special list that was maintained by the City for those who did not fall under the essential emergency personnel but should be allowed entry.” He claims the city refuses to provide information about who is on the list, or why, or how anyone else can get on it.