CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — Bondholders have filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Central Falls and its Detention Facility Corporation in an effort to block the removal of ICE detainees from the Wyatt Detention Facility.
The lawsuit, filed by UMB Bank in U.S. District Court, seeks to put Wyatt in a receivership “to protect against the immediate and irreparable harm” to the facility’s assets.
Last week, the facility’s Board of Directors voted to temporarily suspend its contract with ICE, asking all detainees be moved out of the facility within seven days. The claim states there are currently 60 detainees being housed at the facility.
According to the complaint, the board’s decision could cost bondholders more than $130 million.
If Wyatt were to be placed into receivership, it would make the facility politically independent of Central Falls and ensure that the facility’s day to day operations continue as usual despite the contract suspension.
In March, ICE moved 133 detainees to Wyatt after requesting 225 beds earlier in the year. Following an emergency meeting called by Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, dozens of people marched to Wyatt to protest ICE’s presence in the city.
Diossa, who is also named in the lawsuit, said he never approved the contract and wasn’t even made aware of it. A week later, Central Falls City Council voted to rescind a 1991 resolution which allowed Wyatt to come to the city.
The bondholders and city leaders met Thursday afternoon and plan to head into mediation.