James Dickey, owner of the fire-ravaged remnant of a house at 97 Mt. Ida Rd. in Dorchester, this week filed yet another federal lawsuit against the city of Boston and state Housing Court judges and receivers, alleging they're engaged in a nefarious deal to steal homes in "the African-American section of the City of Boston."
How is the suit different from the other ones he's filed, which have earned him a rare rebuke from a federal judge to knock it off? This time the Sudbury resident cites several properties - none of which he owned - in the two neighborhoods that housing-court judges have named receivers for. He also throws in his property at 97 Mt. Ida Rd., which the city wants torn down because it has sat unrepaired since a major fire in 2011 and has, the city charges, become a neighborhood safety hazard in part because of the rats that keep setting up homes there.
Dickey alleges the city and the court are letting their pals buy up the properties for pennies on the dollar, although records on file at the Suffolk County Register of Deeds say the properties were put into receivership for failure to pay tax liens or, in one case, failure to pay a company the city hired to fix up a house after a fire.
Dickey wants a judge to order the city and the state court to leave him - and the other property owners - alone and to pay him damages and "reasonable and necessary attorneys' fees," even though he has filed the suit by himself without the help of a lawyer.
Federal law generally requires somebody bringing a lawsuit to show "standing," or proof that they have somehow been directly harmed by whatever activity they say they've been harmed by, as well as proof that the issue at hand is a subject that belongs in federal court to begin with.
At least twice now, federal judges have rejected Dickey's claims they should look into what has become his perpetual war with ISD over the property. In March, a federal judge not only sent the case back to state court but warned that any "further frivolous filings" would result in him being barred from filing any lawsuit in federal court without first getting a judge's permission.
In addition to the city and the housing court, Dickey is also suing the NFL and the NFL Players Association.