Commishes Legal Bills Rise

The Attorney General’s office turned up the heat a notch this week when he filed a bill for nearly $13,000 in legal fees incurred by the state of Idaho prosecuting the Ada County Commishes for an open meeting violation.

We can’t properly use “conviction” and “prosecution” in their common context because this case is a civil matter, but a judge found the three–Judy Peavey-Derr, Fred Tilman, and Rick Yzaguirre–to be in violation of the statute which mandates public business be conducted in public forums.

The matter stems from a closed door meeting with Boise City Councilor Vern Bisterfeldt. Bisterfeldt has testified that matters not involving legal issues were discussed during the meeting. The court ruled that an attorney must be present and litigation issues were necessary to qualify for “executive” sessions.

The AG wants Ada taxpayers to pony up the cash for the state fees and the commishes want us to pay their defense costs which are nearly $18,000. Their defense lawyer has offered to appeal the findings of Judge William Woodland to the Idaho Supreme Court at no additional costs.

Bottom line, Ada Taxpayers are on the hook for $30,000 to defend violations with $150 fines. This is a matter of principle for the commishes, but they are doing it on the taxpayer’s PRINCIPAL.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. GUARDIAN. Please explain this to me as if I were a 5 year old.
    Why are the tax payers to pay this civil case. I just don’t understand.
    And what did Judy Peavey-Derr, Fred Tilman, and Rick Yzaguirre have to pay…….?

    EDITOR NOTE–The Ada prosecutor had a conflict in the case, so the commishes went to an outside lawyer. They claim the action is the result of their “official duties,” hence the county pays. It is NOT criminal, it is a civil case subject to fine, but no jail or criminal “conviction.”
    They decided to have you pay, you get to decide at the polls in November.

  2. Isn’t it nice that the three are sticking to thier principals and I dont really have a problem with that in general. It’s too bad that they are doing it with our money.

    I would be willing to defend them if they where doing something for the people of Boise. But Judy, Fred and Rick need to pay their way on this. Not their party or election committees. If they don’t then they need to step down. It’s not their office, it belongs to us really. They are there to work for us. If they can’t follow the simple rules which they were elected under, do they really understand what they are doing? It’s like they are giving us the bird on a $150 fine.

    also we don’t really have the money to defend them from ourselves do we? if the state was to arrest and charge one of us with speeding. could we afford to hire an attorney then charge the state or city for the debt? no way, we pay the fine in most cases and move on. yes we get are day in court and they got their’s.

    Apr 28, 2006, 9:36 am

    It is time to sue the commissioners for mis-use of public funds. Their lame excuse of needing “clarification” is just a smokescreen to hide their inability to admit that they broke the law.

  4. Guardian…. might be wise to let everyone know when Judy et al are up for re election!

    EDITOR NOTE– November 7 election.

  5. Well, if nothing else, we should see a bumper crop of challengers next election.

  6. If we find a way to “fire” them who gets to pick the successors? Kempthorne? He would probably re-appoint the whole gaggle of them.

  7. I see your picture in the paper, not the guy’s who bad mouthed you in the paper. Thank God you aren’t an elitist like him and many others.

  8. Guardian back to the first question by Slim Jim. The Commisioners have incurred approximately $17,000 in attorney fees to fight the charge. They have asked the County to pay their private attorney to defend these charges of violating the open meeting law. I understand that the County has paid these amounts from its general fund.

    The Commisioners lost and are in violation of the open meeting law, a $150 fine each. Now the State, who brought action on the alleged violations, has asked the Court to compensate the State for the value of the attorney fees (around $12,000)it expended in prosecuting the violations against these Commisioners. If the Judge does make such an award I expect the Commissioners will again have these amounts paid from the County fund, i.e. your tax dollars.

    Its a crock.

  9. So we the people are supposed to pay the costs for the city violating the law re the airport parking vote, and for the county violating the law re open meetings.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find some honest people who would obey the laws, and, if they did break a law, pay the penalties (fines, attorney’s fees, whatever) themselves instead of sticking it to the people they mistreated with their shennanigans in the first place?

    How could we the people be so stupid as to elect such jerks in the first place? Simple — what choice do we have?

    I’ve been voting for about 50 years, and only a handful of times have I voted “for” someone. All the other hundreds of votes have been “against” someone that I thought was even worse.

    There is something wrong with this deal, eh?

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