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Conaway plans suit over water-bill policies

Baltimore City Circuit Court Clerk Frank M. Conaway is planning to file a class action lawsuit that targets the city’s water department for allegedly permitting business customers to rack up millions of dollars in delinquencies while homeowners risk losing their homes for as little as $350 in unpaid bills.

Conaway called the situation “unconscionable and inexcusable” and said he planned to seek a writ of mandamus to force the mayor and city council to collect unpaid bills from organizations like The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, which he said owes $135,000, and the bankrupt parent company of Sparrows Point steelyard, RG Steel, which reportedly owes about $7 million.

In a letter to Harry E. Black, director of the Baltimore Department of Finance, Conaway said he was preparing the class action and asked for the names and addresses of people more than 90 days delinquent on their water bill, specifying that he needed the names of people “who have been adversely affected as opposed to those that have been allowed to delay payments.”