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Thursday, November 4, 2010

AG Says No Laws Violated by Urban Renewal Board and Mayor

Results of an eight month Attorney General’s investigation of Caldwell East Urban Renewal will not result in criminal charges, but it does point out serious flaws and defects in existing Idaho urban renewal laws.  Link to orininal post Audit Of Caldwell Urban Renewal Imperative

The investigation by the AG was requested by former Canyon County Prosecutor, John Bujak--before he became subject of criminal and civil investigations.  Mr. Bujak forwarded the allegations of misuse of public funds after Caldwell GUARDIAN Paul Alldredge discovered what can only be termed “irregulatiries” in the Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency’s check register.

The AG's investigation efforts centered on three areas:

--Payment of inflated prices for property purchased by CEURA well beyond appraised value

--Payment of $150,000 to the YMCA on behalf of select employers to help fund sagging memberships at the YMCA

--Personal membership payments for CEURA board members and Mayor Nancolas in the YMCA

 AG investigators said urban renewal law does not forbid paying more than appraised value for property and "relocation costs" are expressly permitted in the wide powers granted to urban renewal agencies.  Relocation costs were paid even when there was no business relocations as happened in some cases of urban renewal agency property acquisitions.

Most glaring, was a full family YMCA membership for Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas.  Other board members of the urban renewal board also received YMCA membership payments. The AG, in a letter to recently appointed Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor, said the memberships appeared on the face to be criminal because use of public money for a private purpose is a clear violation of the law.

The letter went on to say that upon further inspection “there is a reasonable argument to be made that the memberships were paid in order to facilitate CEURA’s inspection of the YMCA’s facilities.”

That conclusion is absurd! It is simply beyond comprehension of any reasonable person to think the YMCA would NOT allow inspection of the private facilities which are funded by MILLIONS of public dollars without a family membership for the mayor and CEURA board members paid by the citizens of Caldwell.

The AG letter mildly chastised the board saying, “Regardless of the stated reason, CEURA’s board members should have been aware of the potential for their conduct to be illegal. Similarly, government officials should be cognizant of appearances of such relationships, and reject any “perk” offered them, particularly those offered by entities subject to their regulation.”

The AG didn’t challenge the facts of the alleged actions. The office concluded there was just no grounds for prosecution of the first two allegations, noting CEURA had a “broad grant of authority” to protect its investment in the YMCA.” Since they concluded there was no “private benefit” to a public officer, the expenditure of public funds to benefit the private club was within the law.

In summation, the AG concluded legislative relief might be appropriate to correct issues brought forth in the complaint.


  1. It amazes me that "Bujak forwarded the allegations of misuse of public funds."

    also..."the YMCA memberships appeared on the face to be criminal because use of public money for a private purpose is a clear violation of the law!!!" It shouldn't have to take the AG to figure that one out, but he still didn't want a public embarrassment, so he let the "public officials" slid. These "public officials" should have known better! More stolen money, that won't be recouped.

  2. The photo of the sign demonstrates the big wish and what we have downtown as the reality after years and years of promises...

  3. Actually, if you look at the picture it pretty accurately depicts Caldwell's future if we maintain the course we are on.

    It clearly shows several large, non prop tax generating publicly owned buildings surrounded by open space.

    This is because all the privately owned buildings will be closed and the buildings leveled.

    Somebody start a recall.

  4. I think it is pretty well understood that the Idaho Citizens advocate Attorney Generalissamo Larry Wasden is a WHIMP. The post above is just one small example. A much better example would would be the legislative lawsuit filed by Robert Huntley in behalf of State Represenative Shirly Ringo involving comp and close deals done by the Idaho State Tax Commissioners (Ringo v. Idaho State Tax Commission, more info at Wasden was once a deputy AG assigned to the Tax Commission for your info and was definately not one to step on the toes of his betters. He ran unopposed in the recent election and because of the aging fleet of republicans in Idaho obviously has guber-a-natorial aspirations. Wouldn't that be great. So much spoiled food for thought.

  5. I would file Mr. Nancolus' and co. and Mr. Dale's and co. comments concerning Urban Renewall under the heading of Bravo Sierra.

  6. I guess you can't expect anything different. The part about the memberships is a stinger to them but the defense that they are using them to check on their investment is a joke. There are many ways to check on the YMCA, by attending a YMCA board meeting or looking at the annual reports, without having to spend money on memberships.

    I doubt the Tribune will hit on any of it.

  7. The question I have is why they hand out partial and full time memberships to their member. What difference did it make and why do they feel a private outfit needs oversight of their operation by them. Also would it not been nice to have that 9 to 10 million in the bank so they didn't have to take the money out of enterprise funds, they would of already had it. Another sign of mismanagement of funds and only so few see it wrong. Also those funds would have been better spent to upgrade some of the infrastructure in the urban renewel district that is so badly needed just drive around and look thats what Urban Renewel is for not Urban Development.

  8. I recently spoke with someone in the Canyon County assessor's office about what effect Urban Renewl will have on our property taxes. He stated that if you owned a $300,000 home in Nampa and a $300,000 home in Meridian that the taxes would be $1500 cheaper a year in Meridian. He also stated that a developer from Texas recently pulled out of a multi millon doller development when he became aware of what the property taxes would be. Why would anyone want to buy a home or invest in property in Canyon County? It seems these monuments to Mr. Dale and Nancolas are getting pretty expensive.

  9. We will see no meaningful job growth in Canyon County for the property tax example above. No business in their right mind would buy into this tax structure. Too bad Nancolas and Dale can't seem to understand this while they blather about how great things are.

    These two have singlehandedly squashed economic growth and good jobs for Canyon County residents. The odd part is they appear to have teflon armor while they smile and sing their way down the yellow brick road of overtaxes for one and all to build monuments and things we didn't want or ask for as citizens.

    It is a sad state of affairs when good people remain silent and do nothing.

  10. Think about this for a moment... both Nancolas and Dale continue to get elected by wide margins. If there is this much discontent why does it translate to gettting reelected time after time at the voters booth. Part of the problem is nobody really wants the their job, othwise a serious contender would step up and take them on.

  11. Caldwell's general authorities aka, Mayor and city counsel, will be relected by the city employees and the "church people" that will vote them back in to office in 2011 and 2013. These cults have worked hard to put these duds in office and if the community continues to be apathetic, Caldwell will continue to stagnate as it has since these dimwits have been in power.

  12. I really don't see why it's so hard for these individuals to understand that when you're a public employee or elected representative even if you can "legally" swing some perks and freebies it's generally not a good idea due to the perceptions of the public. It's not that hard to err on the side of thanks but no thanks.

  13. Urban Renewal is for the most part a TAKE FROM THE NEEDY AND GIVE TO THE GREEDY. It is nothing more than taxation without representation. The whole mess needs to be repealed. Only problem is the the third house of the legislature (lobbyists) aren't going to let this raping of taxpayers go away.

  14. when people take a stand against these caldwell "leaders" they either get treated poorly, laughed at, or destroyed by rumors and lies. when this happens the real losers are the folks of caldwell. you may be right Big Salami.

  15. I've just re-read Idaho Statute 50-2007(c).

    That seems to indicate that urban renewal agencies like CEURA already had the right of inspection statutorily granted. If that is so, then DAG Bywater was just covering for CEURA when he suggested to Prosecutor Taylor that the CEURA board members might have a viable defense when they said they needed paid memberships to conduct inspections. But, I'm not a lawyer, so ...

  16. Don't lump all city employees in that mess called local goverment.

  17. The funny thing is the city sign has the sundowner motel ad on it .
    Didn't the city put them out of business this summer?
    Maybe the mayor daughter should open up another juice shop at the sundowner, using more of our urban renewal tax dollars ofcourse.
    The mayor invested close to 20 million downtown, we even own a coffee shop tax payers. And the mayors daughter open a juice shop on the other side of the city ????????????????

  18. Why is commisioner Steve rule on our city uran renewal board? and why has the same members been on urban renewal board for now close to 12 years?

  19. I noticed another agenda for the CEURA board on Nov. 5, One item was Comm. Rule's resignation from the UR board.

  20. too late Steve, your record speaks for itself. No hiding from it now. You WONT be getting re elected

  21. Steve Rule championed John Bujak's deal with the city of Nampa. Rule thought the deal was great and Bujack walked on water.


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