Friday, September 7, 2012

Sun Valley gets subpoena extension

Forensic audit documents too ‘voluminous’ to produce by deadline


By BRENNAN REGO
Express Staff Writer

Dewayne Briscoe

Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas has given the city of Sun Valley additional time to comply with a subpoena he issued last week.

The subpoena directs the city to produce public records used to conduct a forensic audit of the city’s financial affairs during fiscal year 2011. It was issued pursuant to a grand jury investigation “involving former and or present employees of the city of Sun Valley.” 

Originally, the subpoenaed documents were due at or prior to a grand jury hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 9 a.m. It has been extended to today, Sept. 7.

Mayor DeWayne Briscoe said Thomas granted the extension because of the “voluminous” amount of material being subpoenaed.

“We are sending the forensic audit report itself and all of the report’s supporting documents,” he said.

The forensic audit report was presented to Briscoe and the City Council in an executive session on Aug. 24. It has not been released to the public, and the subpoena declared that the records sought “shall not be disclosed pursuant to a public records request during the pendency of the criminal investigation … absent an order from the court.” However, Briscoe said Thomas has given the city permission to release sections of the report to some current or former city employees.

“Personnel mentioned in the report will be given the sections of the report pertaining only to them,” Briscoe said. “These employees will have the opportunity to respond or appeal to any findings in the report. The council has recommended that I then take any necessary administrative actions, including disciplinary actions and/or terminations that are warranted by the findings of the report.”

Briscoe said he has already set aside time for the appeals and that the process should take two to three weeks. All that remains is for the proper sections of the report to be sent to the appropriate personnel.

Citing protection of government personnel under Idaho law, Briscoe declined to comment on whether any section of the report had been released to any current or former city employee.

Last week, Briscoe said that due to the appeals process and the subpoena, the report would probably not be released to the public for quite some time. However, on Tuesday he suggested that the subpoena would not shut down public access to the report.

“The Prosecutor’s Office has clarified that [the subpoena] language refers to records requests that the Prosecutor’s Office might receive,” he stated in an email to the Express. “The subpoena, alone, would not affect the city’s obligations under the public records laws, if there are any.”

In the email, Boise attorney and special legal counsel for the city Kirtlan Naylor clarified Briscoe’s point.

“Only when a specific public records request is received by the city can a determination be made as to what, if anything, can be disclosed,” Naylor stated.

The Express issued a public records request to Briscoe on Wednesday requesting release of the forensic audit report. As of press time Thursday, the city had not responded to the request. Under state law, the city has three working days to respond.


Brennan Rego: brego@mtexpress.com

 




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