Today is 2nd anniversary of out of touch lawsuit that cost Billings taxpayers $21k
BILLINGS — Newly discovered documents show Congressman Dennis Rehberg ignored warnings about the increased risk of wildfire on his subdivision north of Billings, six years before a wildfire that sparked his lawsuit against the city and its fire department.
Today is the second anniversary of Rehberg’s controversial lawsuit, where he demanded “monetary damanges” from the City of Billings for negligence following a 2008 wildfire on his subdivision.
In January of 2002, the Department of Natural Resources sent this letter to the City of Billings’ planning department warning of plans to redraw city limits to include Rehberg’s subdivision.
“The construction of private residences and increased use of the area by people dramatically increases the complexity of any wildfire states in the land around the development,” the letter warned.
A few weeks later, the City of Billings warned Rehberg’s subdivision “truly defines a development in the wildland/urban interface.”
Rehberg even received a warning from the Billings Fire Chief about the wildfire risk and the strain on resources that would be caused by building Rehberg Ranch Estates.
“As a Congressman, Dennis Rehberg ignored the warnings and the best interest of his neighbors, and then he blamed everyone but himself when those warnings came true,” said Aaron Murphy, a spokesman for Montanans for Tester. “Congressman Rehberg filed his costly lawsuit because he’s forgotten who he works for. His irresponsible decisions have hurt our state, and Montana can’t afford them in the U.S. Senate.”
Rehberg’s 2010 lawsuit against the City of Billings cost taxpayers $21,000.
A timeline of warning signs and actions associated with Rehberg’s decision to sue the city of Billings: