Rexburg City Council to be investigated

From the Rexburg Standard Journal

REXBURG — A special prosecutor will investigate the Rexburg mayor and City Council for alleged violations of Idaho’s open meeting laws.

The announcement was made in an official letter from the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office to Maria Nate, who had filed a complaint with the office regarding the Nov. 4 appointment of Mayor Richard Woodland by the Rexburg City Council.

On Wednesday the Prosecutor’s Office submitted a motion for the District Court judge to appoint a special prosecutor who will investigate the matter and make a decision.

There is no word on who the special prosecutor will be or when the investigation will begin.

On Tuesday, Nate met with Madison Chief Deputy Prosecutor Troy Evans to present evidence of the City Council violating Idaho’s open meeting law.

Nate declined to comment on the nature of evidence she presented to prosecutors so as not to tip her hand at this stage of the legal process. She did say that she was informed by Evans that there is sufficient cause to move forward with an investigation.

Evans confirmed Nate’s statement and said that while they have not decided on whether a violation did happen, there is an investigation pending.

“We found sufficient evidence that warrants the next step, which is an investigation,” said Evans.

Evans also declined to disclose the nature of the evidence as it is now a legal case pending investigation. But he did say that three or four people in addition to Nate have come forward and offered evidence regarding the alleged violations.

The Madison County Prosecutor’s Office will not be conducting the investigation to avoid any possible conflicts of interest.

The letter sent to Nate implies that conflicts of interest could be an issue because the Prosecutor’s Office works closely with the Rexburg City Council on many issues, and the Prosecutor’s Office jointly employs a deputy prosecutor with the city of Rexburg.

If the pending investigation finds that members of the City Council did violate Idaho’s open meeting law, they could each be fined up to $500.

NATE SUNDERLAND

nsunderland@uvsj.com

From the Rexburg Standard Journal

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