SHERMAN – A resident is suing the city of Denison, alleging the municipality is systematically is trying to force him to sell a structure through intimidation, harassment and racial discrimination.

Jaime ``James” Roa filed a lawsuit Feb. 12 in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas against the city of Denison and Denison officials Jared Johnson, Jud Rex, Gabe Reaume, Philip Shaffer and Michael Fitzpatrick,  alleging racial discrimination and violations of the Older American Act and Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.

According to the lawsuit, Roa became ill in 2008, shortly after purchasing a building in Denison. The illness forced him to fly back to California and when he returned to Denison, according to the lawsuit, there was an order for his arrest.

In April 2013, according to the lawsuit, Roa received an offer to buy his building, which he turned down, and, instead, wanted to build the structure into a multicultural center. Roa alleges, at some point, the city of Denison sent him two letters saying he had 30 days to demolish the building. And on July 1, 2013, Roa alleges he received a citation to appear in court for not having the building fixed.

In August 2013, the suit says, Roa went to the city’s chief building official to ask for a permit to work on his building, but was told that the city would not issue any permits on his building. And on Oct. 20, 2015, the suit alleges, the city’s director of Development Services sent Roa a letter saying the city was going to proceed with the demolition of his building because the city council had said so.

Roa seeks to have the demolition of his building deemed unlawful, all the necessary permits from the city to continue work on the building as well as $6 million for not being able to work on his building for nearly three years. The plaintiff is still seeking legal representation.

Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas Case number 4:16-cv-00115-ALM-CAN

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