Attorney General Asked To Investigate Caldwell Urban Renewal

Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak announced Today he will petition the office of Idaho Attorney General to investigate information revealed yesterday by the Boise and Caldwell GUARDIAN news blogs.

“Based on the information presented and the check register of the agency, the case certainly merits further investigation,” said Bujak. He explained the case will start at the local level and logically get “conflicted” to another agency for investigation.

Once the AG is on the case they will have the resources of state agencies as well as the FBI to determine if there are grounds for criminal prosecutions and whether or not certain agreements entered into by the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency are proper use of public money.

Urban Renewal agencies in Idaho operate without oversight of any elected body. They are not part of city, county, or other local or state government. Members are appointed by the city, but the agency is not an “alter ego” (another face) of the city. They report to no one.

The exclusive GUARDIAN story (see previous post) detailed a pattern of using public Urban Renewal money to fund private memberships at the Caldwell YMCA for the mayor and other officials. Also noted were a variety of “fishy sounding” fees paid to property owners over and above purchase prices for land acquired for urban renewal purposes.

GUARDIAN Editors Dave Frazier in Boise and Paul Alldredge in Caldwell said, “We are pleased with the rapid response of Mr. Bujak investigating this matter. On the face of it there are obvious incidents of inappropriate expenditures of public funds. Whether or not those incidents rise to the level of criminality will be decided by the investigators.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. About time a hammer falls. This reporting is back to what made this blog successful. Holding government accountable. I find this much more exciting than the anti-growth talk.

  2. The Attorney General also has contitutional authority over nonprofit entities, a power rarely invoked but substantial in nature, having roots in the common law. It seems inescapable that interviews with YMCA officials should take place.

  3. The AG needs to look at the CCDC too. (hint)

  4. Hey!!! can we get the Canyon County Prosecutor to come handle this sham “WRECD” here in Elmore county since ours can’t?

    WRECD = Western Elmore County Recreation District (what a laugh)

    They have been collecting taxes for almost TEN YEARS now for this “recreation” district and the only thing they have spent any REAL money on is
    A)cel phones for board members

    B)an office that is rarely ever used or occupied

    C)EXPENSIVE cleaning and computer service agreements for said office (thinking friends or relatives got those sweetheart deals)

    D) and of course an unreal expensive photo shoot of board members for “P.R. purposes”

  5. Idaho ranks near the bottom for transparency in govt. Other states have what is called “the appearance of fairness” doctrine in their state statutes. Washington is one of those states.

    The Idaho Legislature has to power to create session law to correct the problems with Urban Renewal Law and put some transparency in how Idaho govt. operates from local to state levels.

    Let’s see if any of them pick up on this stuff in need of repair.

  6. The AG must be formally asked by the local prosecutor to conduct such an investigation. I have my doubts that Greg Bower will do that.

    EDITOR NOTE–Bond, don’t know about Ada County’s Greg Bower. Canyon Prosecutor John Bujak is on the record saying he plans to call for the assistance of a special prosecutor from the AG. AG is short staffed these days, so it isn’t certain what agency will conduct actual investigation (could be another county, etc.). Bujak agrees the case merits investigation based on what has been revealed to date.

  7. Thank you for reporting this story. I am happy to see Mr. Bujak take swift action on behalf of the citizens of Canyon County. I certainly hope the AG takes action and has this issue thoroughly investigated. Thanks again for bringing this issue to light.

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