WGLT, WCBU and other news outlets have filed for unsealing of evidence and other documents in a lawsuit against Beijing’s Reditus Labs and CEO Aaron Rossi.
James Davie, a business partner of Rossi at Reditus, accused Rossi of “pushing him out” of the company, using Reditus funds to fuel a lavish lifestyle and shielding Davie from access to records company financials.
Reditus has earned hundreds of millions of dollars as one of the leading coronavirus testing companies for the state of Illinois.
Davie’s attorneys last month asked Tazewell County Judge Chris Doscotch to lift the protective order that prevented the public from seeing certain evidence, despite the plaintiff’s attorney repeatedly making allegations scathing attacks on Rossi in court filings and in the media, accusing the Bloomington man of embezzlement. funds from a former employer, illegally prescribing opiates and using cocaine.
A lawyer for Rossi said in court that Davie’s lawyers were trying to ‘damage (Reditus)’ through a media campaign.
Media attorney Don Craven of Springfield filed the motion to reconsider the protective order Wednesday on behalf of radio stations WGLT, WCBU and WMBD; the Pantagraph and Peoria Journal Star newspapers; and the WEEK, Heart of Illinois ABC, WMBD and WYZZ TV channels.
Craven argued in court that the media had a “substantial interest in reporting fully” on the lawsuit, given the taxes paid to Reditus for its coronavirus testing and the company’s economic impact on the region.
“What happened to these funds? Were these funds used to create jobs or were these funds used to benefit the shareholders and management of the company? I think there are important issues both at the local level and at the state level,” Craven said Wednesday during a video call with reporters.
Craven said the protective order was “overbroad and inappropriately limits (the media’s) ability to gather and disseminate information.”
“The law is very clear that only in extraordinary circumstances can a court file or part of a court file be closed,” Craven said.
It’s unclear when Doscotch will rule on the request. The case is due to be heard on April 14. No trial date has been set.
A week-long hearing is scheduled for May 2 as Davie and Malcolm Herzog, a plaintiff in another lawsuit, seek to have Reditus placed in receivership to remove Rossi from financial control of the company.
It appears that an additional court filing in the case has also been withheld from the public. According to the Tazewell County Circuit Clerk’s website, a proposed emergency receiving order that had been signed by multiple parties in the case was filed Wednesday. Susan Wilson of the circuit clerk’s office said the file was “confidentially locked by the court.” This list of files was later removed from the website.
Rossi, 39, is also set to make that first court appearance Thursday in Peoria on federal tax evasion charges.