Court Denies GBAD Plan…Again

For the second time in seven months a Fourth District Judge has denied the Greater Boise Auditorium District permission to go around the voters to finance expansion. The action was brought by GUARDIAN editor David R. Frazier.

Article VIII, Sec. 3 of the Idaho Constitution requires local governments to seek permission of voters to go into debt. The court ruling says the Petition for Judicial Confirmation violates the Constitution.

Judge Lynn Norton told GBAD, in an order “Denying Petition For Judicial Confirmation” issued Monday, they can either pay for new facilities up front, or submit the long term liabilities to the qualified voters of the District. “But the Court will not confirm the lease agreement as currently presented to the Court.”

At issue was a convoluted financial arrangement which proposed GBAD would purchase a condominium unit in a new Gardner Development on The Grove in downtown Boise. The space would have housed a ballroom and kitchen. Calling the proposed $21.2 million long debt a “lease,” GBAD would have used the Capital City Development Corp. (CCDC) as some sort of “pass through” of funds from Wells Fargo Bank—all without seeking permission of voters as mandated by the Idaho Constitution.

Frazier testified repeatedly before the board, but his pleas for voter approval were ignored twice, despite the recent decision which also denied the attempt. In the previous case, Judge Melissa Moody said, “Pay cash; otherwise, go to the people.”

“While I am gratified that my legal staff headed by John Runft has prevailed once again, I am concerned that members of the Auditorium District Board continue to spend large sums of public money in efforts to deny citizens a vote on the auditorium expansion plans,” said Frazier.

Read the entire doc20150325090254.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 25, 2015, 11:35 am

    Thanks, Dave!

  2. Bill Goodnight
    Mar 25, 2015, 3:15 pm

    Atta Boy Dave!

  3. chicago sam
    Mar 25, 2015, 4:59 pm

    I do not see any mention of who pays legal fees in this lawsuit. Perhaps this is borderline frivolous and GBAD is getting a hefty fine for wasting the courts time as this is almost identical to the first suit. It is a heavy load for any individual to file and carry thru with any lawsuit against the powers that be. Perhaps a personal penalty against the GBAD directors would be in order. Congratulations Dave

    EDITOR NOTE–Sam. As with all four of the victories against local governments attempting to subvert the constitution, my fees are paid by people like you through the city or GBAD.

  4. Grumpy ole Guy
    Mar 25, 2015, 9:24 pm

    Thanks. Sorry that it comes down to single person efforts to stop a publically funded group of publically elected to show fidelity to the public.

  5. Simple question. Look at Spokane, how is Spokane doing it?

    For those of you not in the know, Spokane has an excellent new convention center. Much much nicer than Boise’s.

    Side note: The law is the law, but one of BG’s arguments is that Boise is too small to attract conventions which would warrant an expansion or a new facility.

    So again. How does Spokane do it? Spokane is even more isolated than Boise.

    EDITOR NOTE–To be clear, our PRIMARY issue is defense of the Idaho Constitution Article VIII, Sec 3 which mandates a vote of the citizens to approve debt. While we may think GBAD is overly optimistic about conventions, most of their sales pitch requires new hotels, new parking, more air service…all of which are done at public expense through tax incentives or giveaways to business.

  6. Can you go crawl back under the rock you came out from underneath?

  7. So, BG, you rather we don’t go any of the new hotels, parking, air service, convention center and wither away and rot?

  8. Boisecynic… Spokane’s air connections are very similar or better than Boise’s so it’s not more isolated. ( John Smith, your comment is out of line.

  9. Erico, I don’t think it is. Apparently he doesn’t like progression. Under a rock is a good place for that.

  10. Congrat’s, Dave, & thanx.

  11. Why would the average citizen want a bigger convention center? I could care less if we attract conventions. I would prefer we retain our own private Idaho.

    As a dedicated growthophobe I see only folly in a growth based economy.

    More people need more facilities and services which require higher taxes. More people mean more traffic, crime and diminished quality of life

    In summary, growth sucks!

  12. Grumpy ole Guy
    Mar 26, 2015, 7:43 pm

    This grumpy writer is not a growthophobe; however he desires at least two things minimally, from his elected and appointed “leaders”. First and foremost they HAVE to follow any law, rule or regulation by which they are governed. GBAD has not done so in this instance. The second, is that the “leaders” do any growth in a planned, systematic manner to the greatest benefit to the greatest number of the people they represent. GBAD seems to represent only the businesses in the downtown core area, and not the voters who elect them, that appears to be the case in this instance. The law clearly states that they have to secure the approval of the people (who elect them) BEFORE they can commit to a debt – in this case, the Wells Fargo loan for which we the people would ultimately suffer if it were not successfully repaid.
    I do not understand why holding elected officials to the law can be seen as controversial.

  13. The law is very clear that deals like this must be set to a vote. All that GBAD needs to do is put the issue to a vote. Then the court is out of the picture.

    The fact is that GBAD knows they have – and would likely loose – yet another vote. So ANY attempt with any court is a clear and conscience effort to not only go around every voter in the district but an attempt to use smooth talking lawyers to hornswoggle a limp spindled judge.

  14. GBAD should have gone to voters in the first place, but they seem to have forgotten that they work for us. Thank you Dave for forcing them to follow the law.

  15. I fully support the requirement that the public gets to vote on the expenditure of public funds. The school districts use prop0erty tax to pay back the bonds for construction of school. The Legislature finally corrected the problem at the airport where the City was being forced to hold a Bond Election for the construction of additional parking facilities at the airport, despite the fact that know public funds were involved. If anyone was deserving a vote, is was the patrons from outside of the City who pay to park. The Auditorium District is in the same situation and should receive the same relief that the Airport received. Since the taxpayers of Boise have no funds involved in the Convention Center, why should the Auditorium District have to get their approval to obligate the revenue it receives from the operation of the Center and the room taxes it collects from visitors to the City. The public elects the Auditorium District Commissioners. Let them run it according to good business practices. If it isn’t prudent to expand, potential bond purchasers won’t risk their investment funds.

    EDITOR NOTE–Steve, there a bunch of issues here. ALL the money you discuss is PUBLIC money. The source of revenue is not at issue. A GBAD board in 2015 does not have the right to obligate debt payments to the GBAD board of 2025. Only the citizens can grant that permission. Further, something as “profound” as a $23 million facility using local PUBLIC funds should be overseen by voters. You are opposed to at least four court orders including the 5 judges of the Idaho Supreme court and 3 District judges. They ALL conclude the constitution MANDATES citizens have the right to vote on public debt. Your best argument is to simply not vote rather than deny others their constitutional right to vote.

  16. Which is why we must enlist the legislature to amend the Constitution to allow the Auditorium District the same bonding authority as the city received for airport parking facilities. The funds the Auditorium District receives from users of the facility are public only in the since that they flow through a public facility. They are not public in the since that they are provided by the public. The Auditorium District and the Airport both use a business model, not a public service model. The public has no liability if the District is unable to pay back the bond holders if revenue is insufficient.

    We all know that you don’t want the city to grow. The city has been growing since gold was discovered in Idaho City, once the largest city in Idaho. The Indians were driven out to make room for the growth of the valley. (A blight on our history) No one has proposed driving you out to make room for growth, though one commenter did suggest you crawl under a rock.

    I remember when I moved here nearly forty years ago. We actually have a choice of more then two good restaurants from which to choose, we don’t have to go to Portland or Salt Lake to shop (except for IKEA) and well known bands actually include us on worldwide tour schedules. I for one like it better, even if traffic can be sticky sometimes.

    EDITOR NOTE–Steve, you are making this personal. You should punch the green button and reward me for defending the Idaho Constitution. Your airport now has a $23 million publicly owned building rented to SkyWest. Since it is owned by the city, the structure pays no taxes to the schools, ACHD, county, or the city. Citizens are getting screwed out of about $380,000 in taxes in perpetuity! That means while we will have to provide roads, schools, sewers, fire service, parks, etc. for the new workers, yet their arrival yields NOTHING. Even the state of Idaho will give back $15-25% of the payroll tax the workers pay. That comes directly out of your pocket Steve.

  17. You are incorrect, Dave. The person who suggested that you crawl back under a rock was making it personal. I am merely suggesting that your definition of “Public Fund” is in error, in my humble opinion. Since the Court seems to agree with your view, I am suggesting that the Legislature clarify the issue like they did for the needed parking structure at the Airport.

    I have lived in very small towns in my life and also extremely large cities such as Seattle and Los Angeles (actually Long Beach, but who can tell where the boundaries lie) I live in Boise by choice because it offers the best of both worlds.

    As for SkyWest, We will all probably benefit from the domino effect of the additional high paying jobs for Boise residents. It is too bad that cities have to compete for these types of developments, but that seems to be the nature of the beast.

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