Federal lawsuit claims racketeering in $380M Red Cedar Project; Bernero, Joel Ferguson named in suit

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LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – A $380 million plan to develop the former Red Cedar Golf Course has hit a snag.

Developer Joel Ferguson’s former partners have filed a federal lawsuit saying Ferguson is operating a “racketeering enterprise” with the help of Lansing city officials.

The suit claims that allowed Ferguson “to steal a development called the Red Cedar Renaissance” from them.

Ferguson was awarded the $380 million project over his former partners.

Michael Cox, the attorney for Christopher Jerome, Leo Jerome and Story Companies, tells 6 News that Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, LEAP President and CEO Bob Trezise are among the defendants named in the lawsuit. He adds “This is about a pay-for-play scheme in the city of Lansing, meaning that if you want to keep a contract that you’ve been awarded you have to pay off the friends of Mayor Bernero.”

Patrick Reid, Joel Ferguson’s attorney, responded by saying, in part, “There are no documents supporting the slanderous allegations because no documents exist.”

Mayor Bernero’s chief of staff Randy Hannan told 6 News that “the lawsuit is a case of sour grapes by a developer who was unsuccessful. Their complaint is frivolous and devoid of any legal merit. Their specific claims will be answered in court at the appropriate time.”

Hannan went on to say “regardless of any assertions made in the complaint, Mayor Bernero will be represented in his official capacity as mayor of Lansing by legal counsel selected by the City Attorney.”

This story continues to develop and will be updated online and on 6 News.

Read the lawsuit:dkt-1-complaint-and-jury-demand

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