A formal complaint regarding the proposed stadium for downtown Boise was recently filed with the Ada County Prosecutor's Office by the group Concerned Boise Taxpayers. They point to emails suggesting violations of Idaho’s open meeting law.
At the heart of the matter is something called a quorum.
Betsy Russel, a Spokesman Reivew reporter and president of the Idaho Press Club, defines a quorum as, “essentially a majority of a governing body that has to be present in order for them to conduct business.” Russell also heads the group Idahoans for Openness in Government and is versed in the state’s rules about public meetings.
Concerned Boise Taxpayers alleges the Greater Boise Auditorium District, Capital City Development Corporation and the city are making decisions about the proposed downtown stadium behind closed doors.
Development blogger Don Day reports an email chain from GBAD Executive Director Pat Rice planned private meetings between the developer of the stadium and GBAD board members in a way skirting Idaho's open meeting laws.
When Russell read the complaint by Concerned Boise Taxpayers, she thought it sounded like the public entity employed a tactic called a “serial meeting.”
According to Russell, that’s “when a governmental board takes steps to try to avoid having a quorum with the idea that if just a couple members meet with somebody, and then that same person meets with a couple other members. ‘Oh, we won’t have a quorum and that way we won’t have to open the meeting.’ That actually violates the open meeting law.”
GBAD's executive director says his organization didn't break the law because no decision-making or deliberations took place. He claims the meetings with the developer of the stadium were only a meet and greet for board members.
The Ada County Prosecutor's office is referring the case to the sheriff's office for further investigation.
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