Guardian Top Stories

Legal Bills Continue To Mount For Ada Taxpayers

A 4th District Court Judge has issued a scathing order chastising Ada Commishes Jim Tibbs and Dave Case for their part in firing Rich Wright, former administrator for the county.

A jury unanimously awarded Wright $1.6 million for his claims plus the attorney fees bring the total to be paid by the citizens to $2.46 million. Wright had appealed a previous dismissal from another 4th District Judge to the Idaho Supreme Court. The Supremes overturned part of that decision, forcing the new trial.

On Wednesday Judge Kathryn A. Stricklen denied the county’s motions to not pay Wright’s $664,527 legal fees and to order a new trial.

“It is quite clear that both Case and Tibbs were acting together, and that their conduct was highly unusual,” Stricklen wrote. “Not one witness criticized Wright’s performance. The Court does believe that the verdict for Wright was in accord with the clear weight of the totality of the evidence.”

Stricklin termed awarding legal fees as “appropriate” and “reasonable.”

The case was filed as a “whistleblower” action after Wright was fired the day after Tibbs and Case took office. Larry Maneely, a former TV sportscaster and close friend of both Tibbs and Case was appointed the next day–lending credence to the Judge’s conclusion.

Case and Tibbs assumed the majority of power on the three member board in January 2013. Their first big legal move back then was to make a $2 million settlement to Dynamis over the failed Trash to energy scandal brought forth by the previous board. Had they treated Wright the same as Dynamis, it would have saved taxpayers some cash.

Some say a picture is “worth a thousand words.” The one at the STATESMAN website is worth well over two million dollars.”

Trump Budget Keeps A-10 Aloft

News reports coming out of Washington seem to have given new life to the A-10 “Warthog” close air support attack jet, rendering needless all the efforts of Boise City and Idaho State officials to attract the F-35 to replace the A-10.

On a pedestal for many, an A-10 Thunderbolt II jet aircraft displayed at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


Idaho Air National Guard spokesman Major Chris Borders told the GUARDIAN Wednesday, “We have seen the news reports, but so far there has been no official word received here.”

Back in Washington during a budget briefing Tuesday the Air Force confirmed that it plans to maintain the majority of its A-10 Warthogs in coming years despite past considerations of divesting the entire fleet.

The move could be a nice little windfall for the Idaho Dept. of Commerce. Gov. Butch Otter got a $100K appropriation from the legislature on behalf of Commerce to promote the F-35. If the money is not spent, it will go into the Department of Commerce coffers.

“If the A-10s remain it will be a blessing for the community,” said Dan Marler of the Citizens for a Livable Boise group which has opposed the F-35. He added, “it will also give the city and Air Guard time to prepare for the future of Gowen Field.

CNN REPORT.

Military history site WORLD WAR WINGS.

Everything Old Is New Again

Using the same old tactics of surveys, studies, and lots of manipulation of public opinion, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter’s “Trolley Folly or Desire named Street Car” has risen from the ashes of bad ideas like a Phoenix.
IDAHO STATESMAN‘s Sven Berg has the latest edition of the rails-in-the-street plan posted today with an even bigger costly dream (nightmare?).

It seems that today’s politicos don’t feel they are doing their job unless they are growing the size of the city, building more fire stations, attracting deadly F-35 fighter jets, planning ball parks and building schools. Ang each agency has designs on someone else’s money. BOISE DEV has a step-by-step scenario about the ballpark financing options.

GROWTHOPHOBES are maligned for wanting to improve the bus system, limit city growth, repair fire stations, refuse the condo developer’s ball park, and retain a quiet flying mission at Gowen Field. You simply cannot spend your way to prosperity.

In other “Old News”–
We used to enjoy poking fun at the TV newsies wading in even the most minor floodwater by awarding “Dope Reporter” status. Today, with few exceptions, they all manage to find a wetspot to stand within. We still get a laugh watching an adult standing in ankle-deep water looking into the camera trying to be taken seriously.

ANG, BOI, City Refuse Vets Neighborhood Meet

Monty Mericle talks F-35 noise with Veteran’s Park neighborhood association.


Despite invitations from the Veteran’s Park Neighborhood Association to appear on a panel discussion of the F-35, All three of the major proponents refused to appear.

The VPNA extended the invite to the usual players, including the Mayor’s office, Boise Airport, and the Idaho Air National Guard. They also invited reps from the Vista Neighborhood and “Citizens for a Livable Boise. The CLB group showed up and shared their views and charts with their crosstown neighbors for about an hour.

The GUARDIAN revealed last week that GOWEN STRONG is a private non-profit corporation registered with the Secretary of State. Boise’s Airport Director, Rebecca Hupp is the registered agent and a board member. The Boise City Council gave her a waiver from the “apparent conflict of interest,” according to the ethics commission.

Here are highlights from a couple of e-mails authored by Team Dave’s press agent, Mike Journee, regarding the non-profit corporation. First one came in Friday.

“In the fall of 2016, we contemplated the merits of formalizing the organization as an independent nonprofit and began doing our due diligence. This included a review by the Ethics Commission and Resolution passed by the City Council. However, shortly after filing the form to incorporate Gowen Strong as a non-profit with the State of Idaho, the city decided it was unnecessary and did not pursue it any further as the current organizational structure works well.

In short, much of the legwork (ethics ruling, council resolution, etc.) for making Gowen Strong an independent non-profit was done, but the process was never completed because it was unnecessary. Gowen Strong does not have a bank account, credit card, nor have we filed for non-profit status with the IRS.”

Then on Monday, it appears there was a bit of a scramble as Journee recanted his story. “My apologies…I misspoke previously. Obviously, Gowen Strong was incorporated as a non-profit. However, it has never functioned as non-profit because we changed course, as discussed previously. To avoid future confusion, Director Hupp is taking steps to dissolve it.”

“Gowen Strong” Is Private Non-Profit Using City Staff In Violation Of “Public Purpose Doctrine,” Ethics Conflict Waived

UPDATE 5/9/17 A GUARDIAN reader sought more information from the Boise City Ethics Commission. To our surprise they had already considered the facts and here is a summary:
QUESTION: May the Airport director form a non-profit and sit on its Board of Directors?
OPINION: The Airport director may form the non-profit and sit on its board of directors so long as City Council waives any apparent conflict of interest.
Read the entire Advisory Opinion 16-01 final.

The GUARDIAN has done additional research which strongly suggests potential improprieties and deliberate deceptive moves by Boise officials and those who favor landing the F-35 fighter jet at Gowen Field.

While claiming a desire to “educate” people about the Air National Guard, those involved in the effort to attract the F-35 to Boise seem to be advocating on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, a private special interest lobbying group representing business interests. They base their efforts around “Gowen Strong,” a PRIVATE corporation.

See entire form HERE.

“Gowen Strong” is a private non-profit corporation registered with the Idaho Secretary of State. The three board members listed on the articles of incorporation are Rebecca Hupp, Bill Connors, and Bill Shawver. Hupp is Boise’s airport director, Connors runs the Chamber of Commerce and Shawver is a public relations director at Idaho Power. All three used their personal home addresses on the corporation filing document.

While the corporation is private, the official mailing address is PO Box 15422 Boise, Id 83705– A U.S. Postal Service box held by the City of Boise airport.

Since Boise City is already a non-profit, it strikes us as peculiar for the airport director to use her residential address while joining a private corporate board which uses an official city PO Box address for mail.

The GUARDIAN is very concerned about using public money, resources, staff, and equipment for this private lobbying effort. Based on references uncovered in public records, it appears the Boise City attorney was also involved in the formation of the non-profit and easily could have done work on the filing.

In the articles of incorporation, in the event the corporation is dissolved, assets are designated to go to the Idaho National Guard MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation). “Assets?” Some of our consultants tell us it is much easier to solicit and spend money when you are a private corporation than if you have to go through the bothersome red tape, approvals, and appropriations found in spending public funds.

For example: A display ad published in the Idaho STATESMAN Sunday May 7, would be hard to justify using Boise City tax money, but if the money was laundered through another entity, it would be easier to conceal the expenditure. Conversely, if the money were solicited from a private source, it would be easier to deposit it in the private account.

When we checked on the domain owner of the “GowenStrong.com” website, it came back to Sean Briggs. He lists his address as 3201 Airport Way #1000 which is of course the administrative office at the airport. Briggs is the public relations staffer for the Airport.

Attorney General OPINION 95-07 seems to have a legal application in this case. If the effort is indeed private, public assets should not be used. If it is a public venture, no need to hide behind the non-profit corporation.

The Boise Guardian

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