County releases Bujak financial records

From the Idaho Press-Tribune

CANYON COUNTY — The county released records Thursday related to former Prosecutor John Bujak’s contract with Nampa,  including a transaction history of a trust account Bujak used to manage the funds.

Nampan Bob Henry, who sued the county last year for release of financial documents related to the contract, said the documents provided further vindication for his position that the contract should have been handled openly.

“It just proves what we’ve been saying all along — that money was going into his personal account from the first day,” Henry said.

Erik Stidham, an attorney representing Henry, said the release of the records will not stop the appeal to the state Supreme Court of a district judge’s decision to dismiss Henry’s lawsuit. The lawsuit requests additional documents, and Henry feels commissioners still have many questions to answer, Stidham said.

Most importantly, Stidham said, Henry wants to ensure officials don’t allow such a situation to arise in the future.

Bujak submitted his letter of resignation Sept. 30, 2010, after he could not pay the county for resources used to provide misdemeanor prosecution to Nampa. He has since filed for bankruptcy.

County officials released the financial records Thursday after obtaining them through subpoenas in Bujak’s bankruptcy proceedings. Bujak and the county fought to keep the records private while he was in office, but the county is now entangled in a bankruptcy court battle to protect $171,000 Bujak paid and reclaim more than $300,000 officials say he owes.

“The only reason we have these records now is because of subpoenas in the bankruptcy case,” David Ferdinand, chairman of the Board of Canyon County Commissioners, said in a press release. “It’s in the best interest of the public to know what happened here and we feel that this letter summarizes what we now know.”

The records show Bujak transferred about $420,000 from the trust account to his Bujak Law operating account between September 2009 and October 2010.

Bujak paid the county $71,000 from the checking account the day he resigned. Commissioners contend Bujak and his wife, Pepper Bujak, wrongfully used other funds placed in the account to pay creditors and for personal expenses.

Bujak has not publicly commented since his resignation, but has maintained in bankruptcy court proceedings and filings that he does not owe the county the money.

Records provided by the county show that the Bujak Law account, into which he also deposited his county paychecks, was used to make debt payments, pay bills and for other day-to-day expenses.

Bujak wrote the first $10,000 check to his Bujak Law account Sept. 4, 2009, the day he received the first payment of $145,000 from the city of Nampa. By June 2010, when Bujak issued a letter defending the contract and stating that he could profit by as much as $50,000, the bank records show he had already transferred about four times that to his personal account.

At least some of the other checks issued from the trust account appear to have been used to cover office expenses. They include:

• Numerous checks, many for about $9,800 each, written to “Bank of the Cascades” or “BOTC.” Some are labeled “payroll.”

• Checks to several restaurants ranging from about $90 to nearly $1,000. At least one is labeled “training dinner.”

 

From the Idaho Press-Tribune

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