At Big Government, a farmer of African-American descent named Jimmy Dismukes has put up a post blasting the Pigford settlements as a major fraud, upping the ante on what could be the biggest scandal in American government before it’s over.
Dismukes says it’s a money-grab by trial lawyers…
Pigford is the biggest rip-off this country has ever known, and there are lots of people in positions of power that know it. Politicians are using it to buy votes. Trial lawyers are using it to get rich.
I personally know of people who have no connection to farming at all who got Pigford checks. People with potted plants in their apartments claimed to be farmers and got paid. I saw an instance where eight Pigford checks went to one house. There are drug addicts and pushers who have received payments who have never farmed a day in their life.
There was discrimination at the US Department of Agriculture. It needed to be dealt with. I was suing the USDA before Timothy Pigford even filed suit. I wrote to attorney Al Pires, who eventually filed a class action lawsuit against the USDA, but he saw that there wasn’t going to be a huge amount of money for him. So he passed. What he did find was a way to work a scam from inside the Star City, Arkansas USDA office by paying a USDA employee to process claimants. This employee would take from $5,000 to $25,000 for each successful Pigford claim. Pires was in this totally for the money. He’s made far more money than any black farmer.
Pigford surfaced in the public eye during the Shirley Sherrod kerfuffle, as Sherrod and her husband were the largest single recipients of settlement money from a Pigford claim. The second round of settlement appropriations – including $1.15 billion to pay the claims of some 94,500 claimants, a number several times larger than the total of all black farmers during the period alleged discrimination took place – generated a great deal of heat from Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) last week.
Dismukes closes with a red-hot assertion of fraud…
Congress needs to investigate Pigford immediately. I believe that probably 80 to 90% of Pigford claims are fraudulent. I know that it’s at least 300 cases in Arkansas alone. By investigating this fraud we are opening up a can of worms. But it needs to be done. Justice demands it.