The group calling itself Idaho Citizens for a Safe Environment and a Transparent Government (Idaho Citizens) Thursday requested State County and Federal attorneys to investigate the Ada County Commission-Dynamis deal.
The six page document prepared by private attorney Andrew T. Schoppe appears to have enough substance to warrant an investigation. However, under Idaho law only the county prosecutor has authority to investigate crime or bring charges in the county. Of course there is a major conflict because the Ada Prosecutor’s office wrote the contract and has the Ada Commishes as a client. Unless requested by the Ada prosecutor, the Attorney General has no jurisdiction. Look for an outside prosecutor to get the nod from Ada’s Greg Bower unless he caves to public outcry for the AG. Also, any Idaho attorney can be declared a “special prosecutor.”
Schoppe also sent his request for an investigation to U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson. The U.S. Attorney has no investigator staff, so that means if they find reason to believe there is possible “public corruption,” FBI agents will be assigned. From past experience, the GUARDIAN speculates such a decision would have to come from the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.
The letter also claims an engineer named Chas Ariss was named as “consulting engineer” on the project without his knowledge or permission. Ariss now works for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). He has tried to distance himself from being identified as a Dynamis guy. He previously worked for a private firm which did work for Dynamis. In fact, that same firm has recently hired another engineer away from DEQ.
The more serious claims involve actions of former Commish Fred Tilman and current Commish Sharon Ullman with regard to secret meetings and awarding a contract outside the bidding legal process. Ullman reportedly hand carried several large county checks to Dynamis. That move has been termed “highly unusual” by county staffers.
The GUARDIAN was the first media outlet to raise concerns about the DYNAMIS deal nearly 2 years ago.
If the allegations aren’t enough to slow the so-called “trash to energy” project, Ada Commishes have scheduled a public meeting at 9 a.m. Friday to grill Dynamis and CEO Lloyd Mahaffey on the status of the project.
Construction was to have started in March and be completed by January. Dynamis has yet to apply for a permit to build the plant they claim will “gasify” up to 408 tons of trash, including up to 61 tons of tires, to generate 20 megawatts of electricity daily.
Ada county will not issue Dynamis a building permit until the company repays the $2 million the county gave it in 2010 to design the plant. We have long contended there was no reason for Ada to pay for the plans to a facility that will not be owned or operated by the county. It was simply a loan of public money. The county isn’t even set to earn any royalties from electricity produced–if any is ever produced.
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