Idaho's legal bills in Pam Lowe wrongful firing case exceed $540,000; Otter mum

The Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell reports that the state has paid the Boise law firm Holland & Hart "$540,479 and counting." Citing public records, Russell notes that the last bill was paid March 8.

The state gave up its three-year battle with former Idaho Transportation Department Director Pam Lowe, settling the lawsuit but agreeing to seal the records. So far, it is unclear how much, if any, the state paid Lowe for back wages and other damages after her allegation she was dismissed because of gender discrimination and politics.

Among Lowe's allegations was that she resisted pressure from aides to Gov. Butch Otter when she moved to trim spending on a $50 million road-building management contract with URS Corp. and CH2M Hill, two engineering companies that contributed to Otter's campaign.

Russell asked Otter, who appoints the Idaho Transportation Board that fired Lowe, about the matter Tuesday. Said Otter: “I'm not sure I'm allowed to say anything about anything - everything's sealed.”

The state and Lowe confirmed the settlement Monday.

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If they spent that much in legal fees

you can bet the settlement award was about 1.2 - 1.5 million and they simply cut their losses to avoid more in fees.

Nice work.

Otter

Now Butch has two black eyes - one physically visible and the second one politically symbolic.

Record Sealed?

How can the state expend money with no record.
It would seem to me that an expenditure of perhaps a million or more taxpayer $ must have a bookkeeping entry somewhere.
If we have a "slush fund" big enough to hid this kind of money, we really have problems.

Bookkeeping

Agreed, there should be a record of payment. I've asked the Controller's office about this, but as of now, they have no record of a payment to Ms. Lowe or her attorneys. We'll check back.

Thanks,

Dan Popkey

Would a FOIA request

work, perhaps?

FOIA request

FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) is for federal records requests. The request I made to the Controller on Tuesday was under Idaho's Public Records Act, Idaho Code 9-335 through 9-339.

Dan Popkey

Public Records

Ask for the release agreement. The state has no liability insurance so anything paid or promised to be paid stems from public money. The courts have uniformly held that all records relating to public money expenditures must be produced.

Give 'em

hail

Spokesman-Review?

I think it's odd that the Spokesman-Review is doing better investigative journalism than the Statesman is... From 400 miles away too!

Betsy lives

here in Boise. The Spokesman usually has stories on the happenings in Idaho hours - or days - before the local paper...

It's really not odd (see above) - it's been the norm for years..

The Statesman lacks the money to pay reporters to take the time to go out and get the facts.

Norm

True it is the norm, Tet, but I don't think it's a matter of money.
1) Betsy is just AWESOME.

2) The Statesman op writers are too busy sitting in bathroom stalls hoping to find the next Craig scandal against a Republican.

3) Then to cap it off, The Statesman wastes their salary money on the Rock- someone who can write a complete sentence and tries to put "global warming" into every other thought. And they have two outdoor writers. (drop the Rock and move Roger to cover the environment). And their most prolific writer is all about BSU.

***

Investigation and researching a "neutral" topic is not what The Statesman is about. Arrest reports, GOP hunting, and repeating AP reports- that is our local newspaper. Local bloggers do a much better job covering local government- boiseguardian.com for example covers Boise Council 100 times better.

pimp2 -- no disagreement from me on your points above.....

However I do know the Statesman is really strapped for cash. They still require their employees to take a week or two off, without pay, each year to save some money. I'm sure you've noticed Richert has been gone for a couple of weeks. Only a matter of time before they start charging for online access - their subscription numbers are in the tank.

Blinders

You would have made the perfect German in the 1930s and early 40's as you turn a blind eye to any and all corruption by the State.

The politicos know they are safe.

They all know they will get elected next time around.

Money too settle ill advised actions, yes.

Money to fix the crumbling Highways outside Ada/Canyon Counties, never!

If you armchair reporters

Don't like the Statesman, don't read it. Pretty simple solution.

Looks like the gov. got caught helping his pals out in a somewhat inappropriate way. Politics.

Plan B

What would you suggest we read instead?

And your point is about about as good as 'if you don't like Idaho's governor, move to another state. Pretty simple solution'.

Still

reading it, I see. You can find many papers online to read. Some charge for content. As I said, if you don't like it, don't read it.

Local

Think local yo.

Again, if this is being paid with tax dollars...

then the taxpayer is entitled to know how much is being paid. And how about accountability? The yahoo's who decided to fire Pam should be held accountable and reimburse the taxpayer for their illegal decision. I can't imagine they didn't know they were breaking the law, and if they didn't, even more reason to fire the whole bunch for ignorance. This is just BS pure and simple. Come on Butch, for once be a leader.

He is a leader.

Insofar as that all people see of him is his azz.

Ask a loyya

This 'event' is all too reminiscent of the Meridian City Hall fiasco; the loyyas made out rather well upon last check.

Where's Wayne Hoffman Now

You notice Wayne Hoffman is silent on this, and his not calling for making the settlement public just goes to show he is but a stooge for the Otter administration.