The son of a prestigious alumnus and local Congressman is engaged in a high profile lawsuit.
Chaka Fattah Jr., son of the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District, Chaka Fattah Sr., a 1986 Fels Institute of Government graduate, has filed a nearly $10 million lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice and the federal government. Fattah alleges that the defendants, among other violations, created a media leak that damaged his reputation and business.
Fattah’s complaint states that on Feb. 29, 2012, agents from the IRS and FBI visited his home at The Residences at Ritz Carlton in Center City and served him two subpoenas. The authorities were beginning a currently ongoing investigation into potentially unpaid tax liabilities of his management consulting firm, 259 Strategies, the complaint stated.
A little less than two years later, Fattah filed a lawsuit against the IRS, FBI and DOJ, on Feb. 21, 2014. He claims that officers from the federal agencies alerted the media before they visited Fattah on Feb. 29, 2012 that they would question him, creating high media attention on his case.
“I think that it’s common sense that the only person that knew about this was the government,” Fattah said in an interview. “It’s unfortunate, with all the hard work and time devoted to a positive reputation, that it was all taken away from me in a moment and even more over time as the media stories took on a viral effect.”
Fattah is seeking $928,001 in actual damages, $9,075,000 in punitive damages and a formal apology. He added that he felt targeted because he has a well-known father.
“This wouldn’t have happened to me if I wasn’t the son of a Congressman,” Fattah said.
Since the media attention, Fattah said he has received “virtually no income” and decided to file the lawsuit after nine months of research.
“I have lost personal relationships, hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and my positive reputation in the Philadelphia business community,” he said. “I am hopeful with this lawsuit that the public can take another look at a number of things that have been covered in the media regarding myself over the last few years.”
The DOJ and IRS did not respond to request for comment, and the FBI declined to comment.