The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that businesses could use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to sue competitors who purchased tax liens after submitting false documents.
The case, Bridge et al v. Phoenix Bond & Indemnity Co. et al, involved an annual public auction held by the Cook County, Ill., Treasurer's Office, to sell its tax liens on delinquent taxpayers' property. To prevent any single buyer from obtaining a disproportionate share of the liens, the county adopted a "single, simultaneous bidder rule" that requires each buyer to submit bids in its own name, prohibits a buyer from using "apparent agents, employees or related entities" to submit simultaneous bids for the same parcel, and requires a registered bidder to submit a sworn affidavit affirming its compliance with the rule.
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