‘This Is Criminal’

Red light

(ReclaimingAmerica.net) – In what can only be described as a mind-blowing case of gross injustice, a contractor in Atlanta, Georgia, has fallen victim to what he says is a “criminal” scheme as he has received a $30,000 water bill from a local utility for an empty lot which isn’t even connected to a water line.

Jeff Raw, the president and CEO of Revive Construction Group, was in the preliminary stages of constructing a single-family home in the East Lake neighborhood of Atlanta when he was hit with staggering bills from Atlanta Watershed Management.

Refusing to let these undue charges cripple his business, Raw attempted to get a bill adjustment, but his request was rejected, as reported by FOX 5 Atlanta, cited by AP and Yahoo Finance.

His subsequent appeal to the utility company’s appeals board also failed to reverse the charges.

“This is criminal,” Raw stated in an email, which was acquired by the news channel.

The situation highlights a critical issue that could trap others in similar financial hardships.

Atlanta Watershed Management set up an independent water meter on Raw’s undeveloped land on October 4, 2022.

At that time, the land was merely a vacant plot; Raw hadn’t begun the foundational work for the intended house.

A mere month after the meter’s installation, Revive Construction received a bill for $8,899, claiming the use of 305,184 gallons of water.

The Environmental Protection Agency notes that an average American household uses about 300 gallons per day, roughly 9,000 gallons per month.

Over five months, the bills accumulated to an alarming total of $29,669.43, purportedly for over a million gallons of water. Raw naturally contested these charges.

The Atlanta Watershed Management appeals board suggested that the water was either utilized, lost due to a leak, or stolen.

Raw, criticizing the board as “a kangaroo court,” felt they insinuated he might have stolen the water.

In one turn of events, the utility company acknowledged a water leak and adjusted Revive Construction’s balance to $219.29. However, this decision was swiftly reversed, reinstating the $30,000 bill.

Raw’s appeal against this reversal was unsuccessful despite support from a senior employee at the utility.

“I feel like it’s extortion,” Raw expressed, a sentiment echoed by many who have unsuccessfully contested their water bills.

The Fox I-Team discovered that over an 18-month span, 80% of customers disputing bills with Atlanta Watershed Management lost their appeals.