Elkhart Co. Official Faces Lawsuit On RV Deal
The ongoing legal fight between Terry Rodino, an Elkhart County, Ind., commissioner, and his estranged business partners is entering new territory.
The Elkhart Truth reported that in another suit filed by Rodino’s rivals, Amit Shah and Tim Dugle, they accuse him of using his position as county commissioner to help secure the sale of five recreational vehicles to a Chinese-owned business and thus profiting personally. Rodino earned at least around $100,000 as middle man in the deal, according to numbers in the Feb. 14 lawsuit, as did his partner in the company that engineered the $1.63 million transaction, American Travel Palace.
Rodino’s profits, says the suit, “were connected directly to the efforts of Elkhart County, and specifically the Elkhart County commissioners, to develop business and economic opportunities in China for businesses and citizens of Elkhart County.”
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend, goes further. Because of those profits and other alleged misdeeds, it charges, Rodino violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, originally created to give federal prosecutors a tool to go after organized crime. The two plaintiffs seek reimbursement from Rodino and the other defendants for the “millions of dollars embezzled and laundered” in the RV deal and from other companies Dugle and Shah jointly own with Rodino.
Neither Rodino nor his attorneys at the Mishawaka law firm May Oberfell Lorber responded to queries for comment. Rodino, now in his third term as a commissioner, has yet to formally respond in court to the lawsuit.
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