The Foxes Guard The Hen House

UPDATED 1/16/18 KTVB STORYUPDATED 2p.m. 1/5/18 (Law citation)
Our friend Don Day at BOISEDEV posted a story that got our attention and caused us to shake our head.

Developer Scot Ludwig plans to build a pair of towers, nine and eleven stories tall, in downtown Boise that will require approval of the development services office of Boise City along with building permits, city council and CCDC approval.

His chance of approval appear pretty good at the outset. Ludwig is a member of the City Council and a member of the CCDC (urban renewal) board. The director of Boise’s Development Services, Derick O’Neill, has been running Team Dave’s development services department for about five years. He is also listed as the top officer of O’Neill Enterprises, LLC.

Team Dave would easily point to the wisdom of having “experienced” people on their boards and staff. Watch for some laundering of ownership soon.

Here is how the LAW sees it: I.C. 50-2017
“No public official or employee of a municipality (or board or commission thereof), and no commissioner or employee of an urban renewal agency shall voluntarily acquire any personal interest, direct or indirect, in any urban renewal project, or in any property included or planned to be included in any urban renewal project in such municipality or in any contract or proposed contract in connection with such urban renewal project.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Unbelievable. CCDC is a boondoggle and a total waste of our (taxpayers that is) money! Everyone involved in “redevelopment” in Boise should live in the city and not be double-dipping in our pockets!!
    Throw the bums out!

  2. Upon who does the risk fall?

    EDITOR NOTE– we would be surprised if there was no public money involved…like a parking buy-in.

  3. Throughout world history foxes & politicians have always shared identical predatory traits, traits that can only be controlled by citizens.
    Those of us who spent years in the Idaho legislature working to replace Idaho’s much hated & unconstitutional Forced Annexation law with voting rights learned ‘both political parties’ are in pockets of a powerful cartel of lobbyists who feed off taxpayer dollars.
    The cartel spends a great deal of money selecting & electing candidates who will serve them.
    CCDC & Compass are among many sub-agencies the cartel has created to divert taxpayer dollars into their pockets. Much of the spending goes to wasteful development industry & infrastructure contracts.
    During our years in the legislature we learned conflict of interest is not only rampant in our legislature, it’s a nationwide plague.
    A 2nd civil war is now taking place & is supported by both parties to preserve corrupt government,,, citizens will determine the outcome.
    President Trump announced early in his campaign his experiences with the swamp of pay for play politics & his goal to end it.
    Enforcing accountability & oath of office contracts is our civic duty as citizens. time to muster the backbone to purge the predators from our local & state swamps..

  4. Well, if the farmer owns the hen house, the farmer gets to decide how many hens and how tall to build the hen house.

    Sounds like a good project for that spot, as long as they have plenty of public parking- definitely not enough in the area right now.
    And I have little confidence the city will require adequate “roosts” for all the hens.

  5. The better story for Ludwig is when, earlier this year, he sued the City of Ketchum because he didn’t like paying their ‘impact fees’ on a project that didn’t fit their most desirable project list.

  6. Disgusted and feeling helpless.

  7. So, Scott Ludwig shouldn’t develop? Basing your comments in the cloak of skull diggers implies impropriety. Hogwash. Scott is a fine public servant, lawyer and businessman.

    EDITOR NOTE–Ludwig may be all that you claim. We think it “inappropriate” at best for a developer to be member of the two regulatory agencies, (council and CCDC) entrusted with approval or denial of the project. He is also a “supervisor” of the development services director. A good lawyer would understand that a party in a legal action should not also be the judge or on the jury, regardless of his integrity. We would seek a change of venue if a matter involving a 4th District judge came before that court. Same is true for a councilor and board member of CCDC. Check the urban renewal law and you will find a very real potential conflict.

    I.C. 50-2017 “No public official or employee of a municipality (or board or commission thereof), and no commissioner or employee of an urban renewal agency shall voluntarily acquire any personal interest, direct or indirect, in any urban renewal project, or in any property included or planned to be included in any urban renewal project in such municipality or in any contract or proposed contract in connection with such urban renewal project.”

  8. Chickenhawk
    Jan 5, 2018, 9:41 am

    Sounds like history is repeating itself. Remember our old friend Mayor (and developer) Jay Amyx, who presided over the “redevelopment” and the conception of today’s CCDC?

    Today we have more of the same, only with stadiums and choo-choos led by Scotty and Dave.

  9. Corruption. There’s already a great glut of tall new buildings in downtown Boise, and no need for this project.

  10. David Mills
    Jan 5, 2018, 10:44 am

    Much of this would be easier to address if the city council were elected from precincts instead of “at large.” That would break the stranglehold of the northenders as they seek their own unique vision of what they want Boise to be.

  11. Easterner: “Sounds like a good project for that spot, as long as they have plenty of public parking- definitely not enough in the area right now.”

    Ahem… aren’t we trying to DISCOURAGE motor vehicle traffic downtown, by making it as painful and expensive as possible?

    One other note: This project is proposed at the intersection of 5th and Broad Streets. SURELY somebody is offended by a street named BROAD, in these snowflake times, no? Why don’t they rename it Bieter Avenue? (Would ACHD need to be on-board with that?)

  12. western guy
    Jan 5, 2018, 2:05 pm

    Wow! is all I can say. Boise city guv’ment is about as back-scratching as it can be. And so far, no one cares…

  13. The American Dream
    Jan 5, 2018, 2:13 pm

    He needs some quiet time in a jail cell to reflect on his life choices.

  14. Here is how this goes..
    Jan 5, 2018, 4:06 pm

    1. The Boise media will not cover it.
    2. The Mayor will say it is all done in the best interest of Boise and we should “Trust him”.
    3. All the city Council will play dumb and explain that they did not know.
    4. The mayor will send out Mr. “Trust Me” Journey to say, “Please do not ask any hard questions and trust me.”
    5. The Mayor will call Mr. Obama and ask for advise. He will say, just deny everything.”
    Mr Obama will call Bill Clinton. He will say, just tell them that you did not have any relations with Mr Ludwig.
    6. Return to #1 – the media will not care or cover it.

  15. So Tfboy – Mr Ludwig is such a great lawyer that he does not know or care about the Idaho Code??? I.C. 50-2017 “No public official or employee of a municipality (or board or commission thereof), and no commissioner or employee of an urban renewal agency shall voluntarily acquire any personal interest, direct or indirect, in any urban renewal project, or in any property included or planned to be included in any urban renewal project in such municipality or in any contract or proposed contract in connection with such urban renewal project.”


  16. David – the city council KNOWS that they would loose their hold on city government so they will never agree to districts. UNLESS it is mandated by the legislature it will never happen with this self centered bunch.

  17. By my reading of that law (I’m not a lawyer), simply building/developing in an URD doesn’t put you in violation – you’d have to orchestrate CCDC paying for some extra costs or buying garage space, as another commented indicated.

    I would also expect Scott Ludwig to recuse himself if this project in any way appears before City Council.

  18. I think Ludwig should build the 2 new towers right next to Bieter’s house, with the skywalk right over Dave.
    So the mayor can enjoy the full effects of growth he likes so much.
    The roof should have a landing pad for F-35B.

  19. If we could only get these comments and concerns, in front of an investigative TV reporter, seriously!

  20. Frank… getting the information in front of a TV investigative reporter would be easy. The hard part is finding one. I can’t think of any in the local market. They are too busy pumping their web sites and apps, and telling me how valuable to the “community” to do any investigation.

    EDITOR NOTE–Might try Morgan Boydston at KTVB. She has been a bulldog on the Bieter stadium.

  21. She’s much too attractive and smart to call a ‘bulldog’ sir.

    She is a top shelf reporter. Hope she likes it here. Most of the good ones are attracted away by $$$.

    EDITOR NOTE–Agree on all counts. Bulldog was a compliment.

  22. Morgan graduated from Eagle so she is at least from here. don’t know about the $$$.

  23. So far several of those who posted are correct. Not a single reporter or report on this issue.

    There are simply no reporter left in Boise. All we have are press prelease regurgitators.

  24. The American Dream
    Jan 8, 2018, 2:31 pm

    “Investigative TV reporter”… Just about died laughing at that one!
    They investigate:
    -crimes by (poor) people
    -trendy new restaurants
    -car crashes
    -the order in which government press releases (propaganda) are to be released as “news”

  25. Editor. Your points are well take, to an extent. State law only requires disclosure of a conflict of interest, very weak, indeed. P&Z law requires non-participation, leave the room. Hence, there is no violation. As for urban renewal and IC50-2017, this is not an urban renewal project, it is development within a district. Big difference. I am confident that Ludwig will be represented by professionals through the life of the project and not participate in any decision making or planning.

  26. Clancy Anderson
    Jan 9, 2018, 11:21 am

    Ludwig is smart and has already recused himself on at least 3 CCDC votes. The question becomes, when does his development interfere with his ability to be a contributing(voting) member of the CCDC board?

    9-12-16 Recused on Broad Street CM/CG agreement, but did not on a cost sharing agreement with ACHD (Resolution 1461)

    3-13-17 Recused on Broad Street improvements.

    12-11-17 Recused on CCDC parking rate increase. Likely due to him selling spots in new development to CCDC.

    EDITOR NOTE–Thanks as always. Your revelations fly in the face of claims by TF Boy in previous comments claiming the Ludwig Towers are not part of an urban renewal project. Why would Ludwig recuse himself if he was not a part of the project?

  27. Brian Vermilion
    Jan 10, 2018, 4:33 am

    There’s more inbreeding here than a trailer park in Arkansas.

  28. Scot M. Ludwig
    Jan 10, 2018, 5:29 pm

    Thank you all for the inquiries by virtue of these posted comments and also thank you to the Guardian for always watching these issues and potential conflicts in Government. To hopefully clear up the issues raised by some of you, following my Appointment to CCDC I submitted a letter to CCDC outlining my ownership interest in the real property involved in the pending project. I will e-mail the letter to Dave F. for your review. Also, no CCDC $$ for parking….all private. Scot Ludwig

    EDITOR NOTE–Thank-you Councilor for your response. You can certainly understand the concerns of the GUARDIAN and our readers. Being a “regulator” and “regulated” is certainly a fine line to tread I will gladly post–in the original story– your CCDC letter upon r3eceipt.

  29. The fact that Mr. Ludwig notified the agencies does not negate that the intent and letter of the statue has been violated.

    It shows that the agencies ALSO failed to take the required action via the statue. Everyone is involved in the violation – not abstaining from it.

  30. Back to Team Dave: why hasn’t anyone been more forceful regarding Derek O’Neill’s blatant conflict of interest as the development services director for the city and his ‘private life’ as a developer?

    Has The Team’s version of Sean Spicer, Michael Journee, ever issued any statements about this conundrum?

  31. Scot Ludwig
    Jan 12, 2018, 6:23 am

    Good morning: I reached out to DF to facilitate forwarding
    the disclosure letter. Will do that asap. Again, these posts are why Boise is a great City. The debate is necessary. There is absolutely NO violation of any Statute. There is ZERO involvement in CCDC and any public funds in this Project. I owned the real property from 10 years ago. I abstain on any issues at CCDC in the subject URD. In fact being a CCDC Commissioner will cost this project money since I could lawfully and successfully Apply for $$$ for this project, but in an effort at avoiding any perception of impropriety, that won’t occur and I’ve made that clear. There is no buy-in for public parking again to avoid any perceived issues. I will make parking available for the public evenings and weekends. CCDC is a Board of citizens and I have the unfettered right to pursue this private project as long as there is no Fox in the Henhouse and I have worked diligently to make sure that has not occurred here. Two other quick responses on questions raised: City Council: I have had no involvement with this Project at the City and the Architect is managing the entitlements. Of course I will have no involvement and abstain from any involvement or vote, if one is necessary. Further, I respect my colleagues own perspectives on this Project and have no idea if they support or oppose the project.

  32. Scot Ludwig
    Jan 12, 2018, 6:35 am

    Ran out of room…..sorry….last thought and it pertains to Inclusionary Housing. I have a project in Ketchum. There is an Ordinance in Ketchum that requires Developers to provide Affordable Housing based on density bonuses. (Inclusionary Housing Ordinance). Twice that sort of Ordinance has been ruled Unconstitutional by two different District Courts (Blaine County and Valley County). That requirement is an illegal Impact Fee. I strongly believe in Affordable Housing, but also strongly believe that the issue is community-wide issue and not just one property owner that desires to construct improvements for profit on their respective property. As a community we should all support Affordable Housing but also ALL of us should pay for that to occur. Finally, I have never posted comments on any website before the Boise Guardian. Again, thank you for the debate and insights. These watchdog publications serve a very good purpose. I have been in the private sector for 40 years and only involved in Public Service the past 3 years. I believe I share many of your perspectives and disagree with some, yet respect your discourse. I do not receive any compensation for my Public Service as I donate 100% of my Council salary to four different charities and rotate them each year. It is an honor to serve in Boise because people care and that is evidenced by this website. Scot

    EDITOR NOTE: We too appreciate the exchange of views and the civil discourse. The GUARDIAN will remain open to Mr. Ludwig and anyone else wishing to comment.

    Regarding the district court rulings, I also had two 4th District Courts rule that Greater Boise Auditorium District’s finance deal was unconstitutional with CCDC. They became meaningless after GBAD and CCDC (where you sit on the board) spent $750,000 in attorney fees to win a supreme court decision to the contrary. Just sayin’…:-)

  33. Mr. Ludwig,
    if you walk like a duck, swim like a duck, and fly like a duck, people will call you a duck; even if you are a loon.

    Just because it is “not illegal”, doesn’t make it right.

    Your project, and inherently you, will benefit (or have detriment) from the actions and decisions you and your board make now and in the future.
    This one project, you abstain. Great. The project across the street? The one down the block? The future policy of the board?
    It is impossible- impossible- for you NOT to have personal inurement while you own property within or adjacent to the CCDC boundary.
    Hey, great, more power and money to you. Welcome to America. This happens ALL the time with legislators and congressmen. But don’t try to blow smoke and say there is no “perception of impropriety”. If that were true, we would not even have this story and you certainly would not have taken the time to reply.

    The other note:
    AS you state, you “strongly believe in Affordable Housing, but also strongly believe that the issue is community-wide issue and not just one property owner”
    Yes, AND community-wide, KETCHUM chose their method of how the COMMUNITY would help fund that housing cause. The ordinance is not for ONE owner, it was to be applied to ALL owners building something determined to be
    less desirable to the COMMUNITY character of Ketchum. The community decided on their method- just like Boise Council decides on homeless issues for this community.

    It only takes ONE pissed-off lawyer to go against a whole community.
    The McCall case and your Ketchum case were not the same “that sort of ordinance”.

    Ironic that you are on the CCDC board- a mechanism which taxes some property owners in a manner differently than the rest of the population. And yet you oppose “illegal” “impact fees”. Again,,, perception.

    A quote from elsewhere “The court said pretty plainly that a fee charged to one segment of society to offset the burdens of the community as a whole is a tax—not a fee—and as such, is an unlawful tax,”
    – URDs fall right into that – one segment vs the whole community. My tax is higher because the CCDC money doesn’t get distributed to ALL the taxing needs. And an owner in downtown pays higher taxes to fund CCDC projects that other county residents do not have to.
    “Geographical Inequality”

    Unconstitutional? There are lots of city ordinances that are unconstitutional. No one cares until, someone is financially impacted and then it just depends on the cost of the legal fight, right?
    Easy when you’re a lawyer.
    Can’t afford a lawyer: Sorry Charlie, go sit in the back of the bus.

    As the Editor points out, when the city (county or state) has the taxpayer money resources to fight the battle to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars it just rubs salt in the taxpayers’ purse.

    Politics as usual. 🙂

  34. Eastie, I mostly agree this time and I’m happy for your contributions.

    Point of disagreement: Affordable housing should all be put in one zone with a big fence around it and an Israeli-style checkpoint at the exit. This will reduce crime rates and reduce the public services burden in the un-affordable zones.

  35. Well said Easterner !
    Developer/Legislators created Idaho’s Forced Annexation Law as yet another way to make taxpayers pay the Impact Fees for their business ventures.
    Can’t blame our public servants for molesting us, lack of civic backbone made creation of our conflict of interest dictatorship easy.

  36. Talk about annexation. I really doubt if this would hold up to a well funded challenge. Perhaps it’s one the items we should challenge now before the next big F-35 push.

  37. Most people as busy as Scot is would never have accepted Dave Bieter’s nomination for council member! Also owning property in downtown Boise, most people would have not accepted a seat on the CCDC! As you have; it makes some of your constituents wonder who you are working for? I think it is great for Scot to make as much money as he can as long as he does what is right for his constituents and the whole of the city of Boise.

  38. This massive project is coming up at the next P&Z hearing Monday, February 12th. Are people concerned about the conflict of interests & potential preferential treatment of a CCDC commissioner and city councilor who also has a major downtown development in an urban renewal district?

  39. A precedent could be set if Scot Ludwig’s “towers” project proceeds despite some considerable conflicts of interest inherent in having a sitting public official as an active downtown developer. This proposal is slated for consideration by planning & zoning THIS MONDAY, February 12th at 6pm.
    Can we get a group of guardianites to turn out and testify? I’ll show up for a pre-hearing beverage across the street if ya’ll wanna join me?!

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