Legal-Courts

ITD Covers Up Expenditure Of Public Funds In Secret Deal

The State of Idaho has spent public money in a secret settlement deal over the firing of former Transportation Director Pam Lowe.

The GUARDIAN is less concerned about the settlement than with the secrecy surrounding the agreement. When public money is expended, government has an obligation to disclose the recipient and the amount spent. Anything less can lead to corruption and illegal expenditures. It has been reported the State has spent $500,000 for legal fees in the case.

Idaho Transportation Department Spokesman Mel Coulter acknowledged the settlement
with Pam Lowe Monday, but declined to disclose terms, according to the Spokesman-Review.
Lowe was terminated in May 2009 amid criticism from lawmakers in the wake of a legislative battle to fund road and bridge maintenance. KTVB news 7 in Boise sought comment from Gov. Butch Otter’s office, but a spokesperson there also refused comment.

Lowe contended she was sent down the highway because she tried to reduce a contract with a company that was a big campaign donor to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. Lowe argued she was fired for refusing to bend to political pressure and was a victim of gender discrimination.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. brian vermillion
    Jul 16, 2012, 9:09 pm

    This shouldnt surprise anyone. Clem otter needs to be held accountable for his absolute bumbling of this issue. He could have gotten rid of her without having to pay through the nose.More wasting of tax dollars.

  2. The official word is the State already spent $500,000 on defending this loser, but it’s actually more than that.

    Legacy media – any investigative reporting being committed on this? Nah, just stick with the press release. Easier and cheaper that way.

  3. Seems like the whole state needs a thorough cleanup from bad politics and corruption.

  4. The fact that the information is being withheld makes me feel like it is an inappropriate amount.

    I think settlements are often a good alternative to litigation; even when in the right, it is often cheaper to settle than the cost to defend a lawsuit.

    Making this information public helps the citizens keep our elected officials accountable, we have a right to know the reasons and the amount of the settlement, which is an expenditure of the citizen’s money.

  5. I’m not sure the actual amount in each case needs to be known but the total for the year that each agency spends on cases like this should be available to the public.

    EDITOR NOTE–We don’t want to reveal our legal arguments at this point, but without the light of public scrutiny, officials are free to make bad decisions, cut deals with the public’s money and never be held accountable for their actions. They already spent half a million just for private legal counsel.

  6. I for one would like to know how much this cost. Butch and his cronies need to be exposed.

  7. I do want to know where my money goes and I know most agencies have funds to “deal” with situations like this but I think there a fine line between needing to know what it cost and Pam Lowe’s privacy.

  8. chicago sam
    Jul 18, 2012, 8:22 am

    This case highlites what goes on all the time–consider Canyon county and the Bujak case, or Nampa when the police department was sued and on and on. Much of the litigation that is handled is not even known to the public. The cost is buried in a dozen budgets and is even more difficult to find

  9. I believe Ms. Lowe forfeited her “right to privacy” when she filed a public lawuit against the state of Idaho and the ITD. All monies spent in defense of the lawsuit and the settlement itself are public dollars, subject to public disclosure. What compelling reason could there be to seal the details of the settlement. We have a right to know how the losses to the state will impact the ITD and its programs, or the state and its programs. In the Bujak case in 2C, a judge ruled that the contract with Nampa was a “public” contract and subject to disclosure. Same thing here. Does the state’s attorney only tell us that Idaho received “a tidy sum” from settlements, or does he tell us the actual amount?

    Personally, I am happy for Ms. Lowe, but still think the settlement amount is a public matter.

    EDITOR NOTE–It appears at this time there is no “sealed records.” The state has agreed to hide the amount of payment from the citizens. We are working to obtain the amount and hope to have something in the near future. To the best of our knowledge there is no document filed with the court, hence no sealed file.

  10. The one thing I know for sure is the citizens of Idaho lost this law suit…

  11. There are some great lines in this utube about disclosure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16K6m3Ua2nw&feature=related

  12. Unless there is some kind of liability insurance that would pay out to Ms. Lowe, someone in state government is going to have to issue a settlement check. (I think the State of Idaho is self insured, so issuing the payoff ought to show up somewhere in public records). If there’s a way to keep this under wraps, however, that’s the likely route to be used in an effort to eliminate the embarrassment of this whole situation.

  13. It is worth noting former Sen. John McGee had his fingers in this mess. He was chairman of the transportation committee when Ms. Lowe was terminated… “Right to Work” means “RIGHT TO TERMINATE” W/O DUE PROCESS. How this got passed into law by voters never ceases to amaze me as to all the corrupt things our rascals in the legislature can make happen.

    Nepotism in Idaho is not tolerated unless you are a friend or a realtive.

  14. brian vermillion
    Jul 24, 2012, 8:12 am

    No paul, Right to work means the right to be employed without having to join a labor union. Employment at will means you may be terminated at any time for any or no reason.

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