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.
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