Rehbergs on suit against fire department: “It’s not about the money”

Rep Denny Rehberg

lawThere has been a new development in the lawsuit that U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg is bringing against the Billings Montana Fire Department. Rehberg and his wife have been attempting to obtain money from the fire department to compensate them for a 2008 fire that burned some undeveloped land that they own. In the lawsuit that was filed July 2, 2010, he accused the fire department of not having firefighters on the fire long enough, which allowed the fire to flare up again and burn additional acres.

The Billings Gazette is reporting that Rehberg and his wife have offered to settle the lawsuit “without monetary compensation” if the city will adopt “specific wildland firefighting standards” that may prevent future property loss or damage, according to a letter provided to The Billings Gazette by Jan Rehberg. Ms. Rehberg was quoted as saying:

It’s not about the money. It’s about recognizing wildland fires can cause significant damage, and that’s why we’re interested in making sure it doesn’t happen again.

In a written response to the seven-page letter that Rehberg’s attorney sent to Michele Braukmann, the city’s attorney, in which the settlement offer with the demands was made, Braukmann wrote in part:

..Suffice it to say, I will not waste my client and the taxpayer’s resources by responding to the letter’s many inaccurate, self-serving, and unsubstantiated assertions. I likewise will not respond in kind to the public comments you made in last week’s Billings Gazette article, in essence calling me a “liar”. I do not now, nor will I ever in my practice, litigate by name-calling or making disparaging comments about or to opposing parties and attorneys.

The trial for the lawsuit is scheduled for December 3, 2012, one month after the election in which Denny Rehberg is a candidate for the Senatorial seat occupied by Jon Tester. Representative Rehberg is giving up his seat to challenge Tester. A pending trial against the fire department might adversely affect Rehberg’s chances in the election.

Fire-management-policy-by-lawsuit is never a pleasant thought.

Other articles on Wildfire Today about Rehberg’s lawsuit.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “Rehbergs on suit against fire department: “It’s not about the money””

  1. Sue your constituents, Representative Rehberg. As American a campaign strategy as all your unremarkable work on behalf of your corporate sponsors. Your handlers weren’t watching close enough on this one.

  2. This litle ditty from the “comments” section of the article says it all:

    High Noon for Denny SilverSpoon

    A Montana Congressman named Denny
    Never once had to work for a penny.
    His needs were provided
    By the land he sub-divided
    And his wife filing lawsuits aplenty!

    When Denny isn’t out drunk in his boats
    He’s at the Baucus ranch cashing in goats,
    Or he’s giving Grandma greetings
    At his controlled town hall meetings
    While attempting to grovel for our votes.

    Now this attraction to decadent decay
    Has been passed to his offspring A. J
    He’s an unregistered lobbyist,
    ‘Cause his family’s the snobbiest
    It might be genetic, I’m sorry to say!

    But now Rehberg’s made a critical mistake
    Even greater than the crash in the lake.
    He thinks he’ll make lots of shillings
    From the poor tax payers in Billings
    By filing lawsuits like a litigious snake.

    Denny claims that damage irreparable
    Resulted from a fire not too terrible.
    Firefighters risk their life
    Then get sued by Denny’s wife
    For some scrub ground that’s not even arable!

    After the fire was considered to bel in hand
    The Royal Rehbergs expect firemen to stand
    On guard so they could take
    Boat crashing practice at the lake.
    Since when do public servants watch private land?

    Wife Jan wants firefighters to dance to her tune
    And they had better bring a virtual monsoon
    When they report to a fire
    Or they’ll catch Rehberg’s ire
    Cause natural events can’t hurt Denny SilverSpoon!
    Charles Ulysses Feney

  3. Some people just amaze me… I still think that if you buy property in fire prone areas (such as Billings, Montana) then you have to sign some sort of document that says if a fire burns on your property, you won’t sue the crap out of every agency that comes to help put it out just because one stick got burned. Wildfires happen, and though we try really hard and put a lot of effort into trying to put them out, sometimes it goes beyond our control. This guy needs to take S-290!


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