9/18/2014

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Questions surround the hefty payments to the attorney in URA lawsuit

Questions surround the hefty payments to the attorney in URA lawsuit
LEWISTON, ID - The Urban Renewal Agency brought on a highly regarded attorney in August to represent them in a lawsuit initiated by the county.

Now questions surrounding the hefty payments to the attorney were brought up at the monthly URA meeting.

The law firm out of Boise, Elam & Burke is representing the Lewiston Urban Renewal Agency in the previously filed order by Nez Perce County regarding the legality around two urban renewal districts. An attorney fee of $4,000 was agreed upon by the agency at the meeting, and today another payment of $1,000 was also approved. It’s an expenditure that URA Member and County Commissioner Doug Havens were questioning, however the majority of the seven panel board agreed that his questions involved a conflict of interest.

"The billing is very confusing and I would have just liked to understood it better,” said Havens. “So you can explain it better, I just don't have this cavalier attitude to pay something that's put in front of me but I understand that I don’t get to vote anyways so."

"If a person on the board had a conflict of interest than they were barred from taking part in the discussion as well," said URA Staff Liaison Laura VonTersch.

Two-hundred dollars an hour is what the URA is paying the Boise law firm. In December it'll be decided whether the County or the City's interpretation of the URA statute is correct. The URA can't take on any new costs until this issue has been resolved.
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