Caldwell responded to the Idaho Water User’s resolution committee vote criticizing its eminent domain lawsuit Tuesday by repeating its charge that its executive director Norm Semanko ha a conflict of interest.
It said in the press release the committee vote “protects IWUA Executive Director Norm Semanko’s self-interest as a result of his position as a lawyer with the law firm representing the Pioneer Irrigation District in its lawsuit against the City of Caldwell,.”
Caldwell says that the Moffatt Thomas website says Semanko joined Moffatt Thomas as an Attorney of Counsel in 2010 and also joined ‘“the firm’s water and natural resources practice group: Scott Campbell, Andy Waldera and Dylan Lawrence.’’’
Campbell has represented Pioneer since 1985. But Semanko said since he is only “of counsel,” he is not a partner in the firm or involved in the Pioneer representation.
He said their charges come from a lack of understanding of what “of counsel,” means. He has his own clients, he said.
“I don’t work on the Pioneer matters,” Semanko said.
But Mark Hilty, who is an attorney for Caldwell, said the city is part of a class action lawsuit that says Moffatt Thomas is engaged in a scheme to increase its fees for Pioneer licenses.
“It is clear to the City that Mr. Semanko is using his role with the IWUA not to benefit the state’s water users, but to benefit his law firm’s bottom line,” Hilty said.