A businessman is filing a $3.5 million lawsuit against the city of Yakima
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A businessman is filing a $3.5 million lawsuit against the city of Yakima because he says city officials have ruined his reputation and his business.
Mark Peterson owns the H&H Furniture shop in downtown Yakima and he says city officials have been harassing him for several years now because of a fire inspection problem.
"They came after me for some ridiculous things with the fire inspection they actually stated and charged me criminally that I was denying them entry to my building,” said Peterson.
Peterson says the city fire department and the legal department wanted him to pay $100,000 to upgrade the basement of his building.
The city said this was a matter of public safety.
"They claimed in 2013 that they had a letter from a fire inspection going all the way back to 2002 that we did not have a two-hour separation in our ceiling meaning if the building caught fire this product would not burn for two hours,” said Peterson.
Peterson says the building was built in the 1920's and he has been passing all his inspections as recently as October 2014.
The city threatened to prosecute him if he didn’t fix the fire code issue.
Peterson didn’t, so he says city attorneys proceeded to a criminal case and even wanted jail time for him.
"We found these documents that the city had saying we didn't have to do anything and its obvious the city withheld these documents,” said Peterson.
The city dropped the charges days before the trial began.
Peterson says they dropped the case because they had no evidence to charge him.
But now Peterson says he’s owed $3.5 million because he says this incident ruined his reputation and his business.
He tells us they will be officially submitting the lawsuit tomorrow at the Yakima court house.
We also spoke with the City Legal Departments Attorney Helen Harvey and she said, the city doesn't comment on pending litigations and that they don't want to make any public comments.