This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
In a fight that developed during COVID, a federal agency is being sued for trying to take a man to trial in its own, in-house "court."
The case is being brought by Jeffrey Moats against the National Credit Union Administration Board and its officials.
According to the Pacific Legal Foundation, Moats was CEO of the Edinburg Teachers Credit Union for more than 25 years, but then during the COVID-19 pandemic, the credit union developed issues problems that resulted in the Texas Credit Union Department ordering the credit union into conservatorship under the NCUA.
The bureaucrats now in charge immediately fired Moats.
And they refused to pay him "post-termination benefits owed to him," the PLF said.
So he sued for the $1 million payment that his contract guaranteed him and the NCUA then came up with the claim that he breached his fiduciary duty, and the agency wanted to prosecute him at an "in-house tribunal."
"In-house tribunals, like the one Mr. Moats faces, bear only a passing resemblance to a real federal court if one squints very hard," said Adi Dynar, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. "Real courts have a jury that decides the case with a presiding impartial and independent federal judge who gains nothing from awarding the government monies payable by the private party. NCUA’s in-house tribunal has none of that. Plus, NCUA’s in-house action is inherently partial because NCUA stands to gain millions of dollars from Mr. Moats if it decides the in-house case in favor of itself. Mr. Moats has a right to a fair and impartial trial in federal court."
The problem is that "administrative law judges" who decide such cases are on the payroll of the agency whose behavior they are adjudicating.
The complaint explains that Moats was successful in his early challenges, with the NCUA returning thousands of dollars of his personal property that had been improperly kept on his dismissal.
Further, the credit union released over a million dollars in retirement benefits held in an account for his benefit.
But the fight still remains over the "jury trial," in front of the agency's own employee, over breach of contract.
In short, the NCUA wants to put him on trial seeking a conviction that would result in "remedies of money and other damages" but it wants its own employee to be the "judge."
"Moats seeks a declaration that the NCUA's self-administered tribunal is unconstitutional under controlling precedent, a declaration that Congress unconstitutionally delegated power to the NCUA to bring such in-house adjudications, and an injunction prohibiting the NCUA from depriving him of his constitutional rights," the complaint said.
The lawsuit is for declaratory and injunctive relief for the NCUA's attempt to "deprive" him of his fundamental constitutional rights.
Also pending is the fight over the million dollars in unpaid post-termination benefits.