Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Judicial review sought in fair board dispute

Staff Writer | September 7, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Bonner County Clerk Michael Rosedale has filed a petition for judicial review against the Bonner County Fair Board after they allegedly ignored multiple public records requests.

Rosedale submitted two public records requests — one Aug. 8 and the other Aug. 9. The first public request was for “the annual Fair Board’s detailed statement of all moneys received and expended in connection with the operation of any fair or fairs, within ninety (90) days after the holding of any such fair within the county (IC 22-204). I’m requesting these from 2010 through the present.”

The second submitted request was for a “copy of all records of the Fair Board proceedings, business transaction, and true and proper account of all moneys received by it and expended or on hand and proper vouchers evidencing all disbursement of money pursuant to IC 22-204 from 2010 through the present.”

According to the petition submitted by Rosedale, the three-day response deadline required by Idaho Code came and went with no response to either public records request. The deputy clerk sent inquiries to Scott Bauer, legal counsel to the fair board; Eddie Gordon, chairman of the fair board; and Jody Russell, vice chairman of the fair board. Bauer responded, telling the deputy clerk to prepare a “10-day,” which means Rosedale would receive the documents, or an update on the preparation of those documents, within 10 days from the submission of his original public records request. The clerk received that letter Aug. 16.

However, those dates, Aug. 22 and 23, respectively, also came and went without a word on the status of those documents. In a follow-up email Wednesday, Rosedale said he still has yet to hear anything from the fair board.

“I'm hoping they just produce the records or say they don't have them,” he said.

Because of the fair board’s lack of response to the public records requests, Rosedale filed the petition for judicial review, which is the ability of the court to declare a Legislative or Executive act in violation of the Constitution.

The petition asks that the court review the matter and decide if the fair board’s lack of response to Rosedale’s public records requests is a violation of Idaho Public Records Act §74-101; if the fair board improperly scrutinized the public records sought in violation of Idaho Code §74-102(5) and (6); if Rosedale is entitled to an award of attorney fees and costs; and has the fair board or its counsel acted in bad faith in improperly refusing legitimate requests for public records.

The clerk’s office is requesting an order from the courts requiring the fair board to produce the records from Rosedale’s public records requests; for an award of any attorney fees and costs acquired from this situation, and that Idaho code grants the courts jurisdiction to order a public official that has deliberately and in bad faith improperly refused a legitimate public records request to pay a $1,000 fine.

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