AG Denn Joins Coalition In Fight Against EPA’s “Unlawful” Proposed Replacement For Clean Power Plan

Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn, along with a group of 26 states, counties, and cities, has formally objected on behalf of Delaware to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to reverse the country’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan, put in place by the EPA under President Obama, is the first nationwide limit on climate change pollution from existing fossil-fueled power plans.

The Clean Power Plan is the culmination of a decade-long effort by partnering states and cities to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants under the Clean Air Act. In its comments (found at, the coalition of states and municipalities stresses the overwhelming scientific evidence of human-induced climate change and its increasing impacts, and the corresponding need for the EPA to perform its duty under the Clean Air Act to set nationwide limits on power plant emissions of climate change pollution.

“The replacement rule proposed by President Trump’s EPA turns its back on the success of Delaware and other states in reducing carbon pollution from power plants, and instead will uncork the power plants’ smokestacks and let them put more pollution in our air,” Attorney General Denn said. “Plus, the proposed rule contains factual inaccuracies, analytical errors, and legal flaws, and as a result would be unlawful if adopted.”

The EPA’s own analysis predicts that, compared to the Clean Power Plan, the so-called “Affordable Clean Energy” Rule could result in over 60 million tons more climate change pollution.

The comments were spearheaded by the attorney general of New York submitted on behalf of the attorneys general from Delaware California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (by and through its Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the cities of Boulder (CO), Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and South Miami (FL), and Broward County (FL).

Delaware Department of Justice Files To Shut Down Newark Massage Parlor As Criminal Nuisance

A complaint filed by Attorney General Matt Denn’s office asks the state Superior Court to declare a Newark property housing the Rose Spa massage parlor a criminal nuisance because of prostitution occurring there, and asks for potential closure of the business.

As stated in the complaint, the defendants, Stella Family Enterprises, LLC, the owners of the property, and tenant Ji Long Zhao each face two counts of Maintaining a Nuisance Property because of the massage parlor in operation at 430 Old Baltimore Pike. Stella Family Enterprises is included in the complaint by DOJ as a matter of establishing jurisdiction over the property, but has engaged in an action – contested by the current tenant – to evict the Rose Spa, so the criminal nuisance complaint was filed as well.

Between September and October 2016, Delaware State Police conducted an investigation focused on prostitution at the Rose Spa. On separate occasions, employees of the Rose Spa offered to perform sex acts for undercover officers in exchange for additional payment. Two employees were arrested in October 2016, and at trial in the summer of 2017, determined to be victims of human trafficking. In August 2017, another Rose Spa employee offered sex acts for money, with an undercover officer paying the additional fee, but leaving after refusing the service.

The complaint was filed under the state’s Criminal Nuisance Abatement Act, which empowers the Attorney General “to authorize temporary and permanent abatement relief and other remedies to abate any criminal nuisance,” as stated in Title 10, Section 7102 of the Delaware Code.

The complaint asks the Court to:

  • Prohibit the defendants and any other person from further maintaining a nuisance at the property or elsewhere in Delaware;
  • Issue an order prohibiting all the defendants from engaging in business activities at the Old Baltimore Pike property
  • Assess civil penalties

Deputy Attorneys General Oliver Cleary and Zoe Plerhoples are leading the case for the Department of Justice.

Department of Justice Seeks Civil Penalties From Operators of Middletown Pawn Shop for Racketeering

In a complaint filed September 1, 2017 in Superior Court, Department of Justice attorneys alleged that a Middletown pawn shop engaged in selling stolen goods constituted a criminal enterprise under the state’s racketeering statute and should pay penalties of up to $6.5 million.

The action stems from the illegal practices of the Gold Fever Pawn Shop on Broad Street in Middletown. The State alleges Shaun Reilly, 36, his wife Kisha Reilly, and his mother, Denise Toy, 63, all of New Castle, knowingly enlisted shoplifters to steal items from area retailers, and stored the items in a trailer at Toy’s home. The stolen items were eventually sold at the Gold Fever Pawn Shop, with Toy and the Reillys paying shoplifters approximately one-third of the sale price. Also named as defendants in the complaint are Gold Fever, LLC and Gold Fever Finance, LLC.

The complaint contends the pawn shop and its operators constituted an enterprise that operated in violation of the Delaware Organized Crime and Racketeering Act, 11 Del. C. Ch. 15 (“the State R.I.C.O. statute”).

The complaint covers 10 counts:

  • Receiving Stolen Property
  • Failure to Collect or Pay Over Tax
  • Wire Fraud
  • Mail Fraud
  • Four Counts of Organized Crime and Racketeering
  • Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony by Shaun Reilly
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited by Kisha Reilly

The State is seeking an amount not less than $6,400,000 in civil penalties, an amount based on $100,000 for each of the 64 violations or incidents of activity constituting a violation of the State R.I.C.O. statute described in the complaint. The State also asked for an additional $100,000 from Shaun Reilly for his violation of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and $100,000 from Kisha Reilly for her violation of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited.

The Reillys and Toy were arrested in August 2016 as part of “Operation Golden Eye,” a multijurisdictional investigation by Delaware Department of Justice, Delaware State Police, United States Postal Service, and the Middletown Police Department. The original news release on Operation Golden Eye can be found here.

In February 2017, Toy pled guilty to Providing a Firearm to a Person Prohibited, Conspiracy Third Degree, and Theft (Organized Retail Crime) and was immediately sentenced by a Superior Court judge to 6 months in prison, followed by one year of probation.

In April 2017, Shaun Reilly pled guilty to Racketeering, Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and was immediately sentenced by a Superior Court judge to 9 years in prison, followed by 18 months of probation.

In April 2017, Kisha Reilly pled guilty to Criminal Solicitation in the Second Degree, Felony Theft (Organized Retail Crime), and two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited. In August 2017, a Superior Court judge sentenced Reilly, banned from having a gun because of a prior drug conviction, to 6 months of home confinement followed by 18 months of probation.

Deputy Attorneys General Oliver Cleary and Angeline Kogut are leading the racketeering case for the Department of Justice. The complaint filed in court can be seen here.

Department of Justice Complaint Leads Court to Declare Newark Motel A Criminal Nuisance Property

Operators of Rodeway Inn must address criminal activity or potentially lose property

The operators of a Newark motel that had more than 900 calls for police service since 2013 have agreed that it is a criminal nuisance property after action by Attorney General Matt Denn’s office, and have agreed to a plan to reduce criminal activity or potentially be evicted from the property.

The stipulated order in Superior Court is between the Department of Justice and the operators of the Rodeway Inn at 1110 and 1120 South College Avenue in Newark.

The motel has been the site of ongoing criminal investigations and arrests. As stated in the complaint, Newark Police have made arrests for prostitution occurring in the motel rooms, drug sales from a room, drug use in rooms and in the parking lot, and a number of sexual assaults.

The complaint was filed under the state’s Criminal Nuisance Abatement Act, which empowers the Attorney General “to encourage owners, landlords, operators and managers of buildings, places or premises to take the affirmative steps necessary to prevent violations on their properties,” as stated in Title 10, Section 7102 of the Delaware Code.

In order to avoid closure of the business as allowed under the criminal nuisance law, the operators of the motel have agreed to several stipulations, including:

  • Installing a daytime and nighttime video surveillance system
  • Making a good faith effort to get a photo ID from anyone who registers for or stays in a room
  • Ensuring everyone on property after 8:00 p.m. is registered to a room or is told to leave the property
  • Hiring a reputable security company utilizing an on-site security guard between the hours of 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.
  • Posting a sign stating the property is “Drug and Prostitution Free,” and any prostitution, illegal drug activity, or other criminal activity is prohibited and will result in criminal prosecution.

Additionally, the Attorney General’s Office has executed a separate “Enforcement Agreement” with the property owner, which requires the property owner to seek possession of the property from the motel operators if the Court should order closure of the property or terminate the motel operators’ lease to the property.

“It is a sad fact that there are some business and residential properties in our state that, through neglect, serve as magnets for crime and require a disproportionate amount of police attention, and this motel has been one of them,” said Attorney General Denn. “The operators of this motel are now obligated by court order to aggressively address the criminal behavior that has become a regular occurrence there or face being forced to close the motel if police calls, complaints and arrests continue.”

Deputy Attorneys General Roopa Sabesan and William Kassab handled the matter for the Department of Justice. A copy of the court-approved consent order with the motel operator can be seen here.

Attorney General Denn, 15 Other AGs Seek To Join Case To Protect Affordable Healthcare For Millions of Americans

Officials Intervene in Pending Case to Ensure Effective Defense Of Affordable Care Act

Attorney General Matt Denn on Thursday joined legal action to protect health care access for millions of Americans by having states take up the defense of a critical portion of the Affordable Care Act. Attorney General Denn moved to intervene in a lawsuit filed by U.S. House of Representative Republicans, a motion that includes California, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia.

The lawsuit, House v. Price, would eliminate the stable funding, called cost-sharing reduction payments that the law created to protect millions of working families from high healthcare costs. The Kaiser Family Foundation projects premiums will increase by 19% on average across the country to compensate if there is a loss of the subsidy payments, finding that the premium increases would be 21% in states that have not expanded Medicaid.

“Since its enactment, the Affordable Care Act has provided access to health insurance previously unaffordable or unavailable to thousands of Delawareans. Preserving the CSR payments is critical to help ensure thousands of Delawareans retain meaningful access to health insurance, and to avoid additional spending on health care borne by the Delaware state government due to a rise in the number of uninsured Delawareans,” Attorney General Denn said. “In 2016, 42.9 percent of Delaware’s marketplace enrollees were eligible for CSR payments, saving these individuals approximately $1,134 per person, for a total cost savings in Delaware of $13.7 million.”

House Republicans sued the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration, challenging the legality of making the cost-sharing subsidies. A district court judge ruled in favor of the House Republicans, but the ruling was appealed in order to protect access to healthcare, and the subsidies were permitted to continue pending appeal. After the presidential election, the House Republicans requested that the case be held in suspension while the newly-elected President Trump had time to make decisions regarding the case. Based on the President’s statements about his desire to end the ACA, the state AGs are intervening in the case in order to defend the healthcare system.

“I support the ACA and the healthcare it is providing to Delawareans and Americans,” Attorney General Denn said. “If the President is not willing to defend it in court, the states must step in and do so, and that is why I have joined my colleagues in other states in seeking to intervene in this case.”

Attorney General Denn recognized Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro and Deputy Attorneys General Sarah Goncher, John Taylor and Jessica Willey for contributing to Delaware’s work on the motion to intervene.

A copy of the motion can be found here.