Idaho's Weekly Journal of Local & National Commentary Week 2815


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by Free Market Duck

Ada County Commissioners condemn own property through eminent domain...
Pay Cryptic Partners $3.2 million in fake "takings" - Part 1
(Aug 13, 2007)

How does Ada County condemn its very own property, 4 times, and then take it back from itself while paying subleasee Civic Partners $3.2 million for retail space that Civic Partners has not been able to rent out for over 5 years?

The reason it is important in the Boise Watergate mess to connect the dots between the original flaky $100 million Ada County Courthouse Scam (1996-2002) and the $136 million University Place fiasco (2002-now) as one big crime spree against the taxpayers by the Boise lawyers, politicians, and Cryptic Partners is precisely because Boise's Watergate is not over and the same perps are now laundering over $3.2 million to Cryptic Partners in a questionable mis-use of eminent domain. 

Boise, ID Listen up girl friends.  This con game gets very tricky.

    According to current records at the Ada County Courthouse, Ada County owns both the land and the Ada County Courthouse building sitting on that land.  Ada County purchased the 14-acre Courthouse Corridor property for $1.00 (ONE DOLLAR) after pretending to "rent" the same property for $4 million ($1 million per year for 4 years) from a group of prominent lawyers and judges who formed a tax-exempt non-profit corporation called The Friends of the Ada County Judicial System, IncThe Friends were created specifically to allow Ada County to pretend to "rent" instead of "purchase" the 14 acres to avoid the 2/3 majority vote requirement of the Idaho Constitution for a public agency to go into multi-year debt.  (An Advisory Vote taken after the fact is not an authorization to go into multi-year debt.)

   While The Friends pretended to "purchase" the 14 acres from Union Pacific Railroad, canceled checks from the Ada County Treasurer for $50,000 and $750,000 were made out to the UPRR with memos that state "for purchase of UPRR property," not "rent to The Friends."  Clearly this was a scam to get around voter approval RE the Idaho Constitution.  The Friends corporation was dissolved after Ada County "purchased" the property for $1.00 (ONE DOLLAR) to end the charade.

   In 1998, The Friends and Ada County were sued for this fake lease-purchase fiasco but sudden intervention and replacement of a judge (who was leaning toward the plaintiffs) by an Idaho Supreme Court Justice in the Kangaroo Court trial resulted in an acquittal for Ada County and, of course, the lawyers and judges comprising The Friends.

   Now that the Ada County Commissioners questionably "obtained" the property, it was time to build a new Ada County Courthouse for their buddies, the lawyers and judges who helped them, and office space for themselves and their staff.  Oh-oh, the Commissioners were again faced with the same issue: how to go into multi-year debt without a 2/3 vote of the voters.

   Hesto presto!  At first the Ada County Commissioners decided to use the same fake lease-purchase method to build the new Ada County Courthouse as they did to obtain the 14 acres.  Namely, they wanted to allow Boise's Urban Renewal Agency (aka the Capital City Development Corporation, CCDC) to "own" the building and Ada County to "rent" the building.  But the 1998 lawsuit, which they almost lost, scared the heeby-jeebies out of the perps and they decided on a slightly different tactic. 

   In a 116-page January 1999 Master Ground Lease, the Ada County Commissioners assigned Boise's Urban Renewal Agency, the CCDC, the right to act as their agents, AT NO FEE, to perform  everything that the Ada County Commissioners were not allowed to do by law such as (1) sell bonds and go into multi-year debt to build a new Ada County Courthouse, (2) borrow financing from banks for various multi-year debt, (3) sublease various Parcels of the new Courthouse back to Ada County in 30 annual renewable leases so it would look like Ada County was not unconstitutionally going into multi-year debt, (4) sublease retail Parcels of the new Ada County Courthouse and Civic Plaza to California developer Civic Partners (aka Cryptic Partners), and any other functions Ada County deemed appropriate for their new "agent," the CCDC.

   In this clever manner, Ada County was (and still is) playing two contradictory  roles: (1) retaining ownership of the new Ada County Courthouse and leasing it to the CCDC for free, and (2) appearing NOT to retain ownership of the new Ada County Courthouse by "renting" it back from the CCDC in 30 annual renewable leases.

   Meanwhile, the Master Ground Lease allows Civic Partners (for 99 years) to also lease various retail Parcels of the new Ada County Courthouse from the owners, Ada County, through the CCDC and sublease these Parcels to retailers to supposedly save taxpayers from the cost of building the Courthouse (i.e., paying off the bondholders).  But Civic Partners has not been able to sublease virtually any of the retail Parcels in the new Courthouse for over 5 years except for a now defunct Deli for a brief time.

   In November of 2006, Ada County decided it wanted more Ada County office space in the new Courthouse they already own.  The Commissioners wanted retail space leased to Civic Partners.  Civic didn't respond.  So, the Ada County Commissioners invoked eminent domain to condemn their own property and take various Parcels from Civic Partners, the subleasee.

   But wait a minute.  What's wrong with this picture?  Can a public agency condemn its own property and take it back through eminent domain by claiming it is only applying eminent domain to the alleged "valuation" of the subleasee's retail Parcels?  And then pay the subleasee millions of dollars for retail Parcels in the Courthouse and Civic Plaza that the subleasee, Civic Partners, has been unable to lease to any retailers at any price for over 5 years -- except a now defunct deli? -- Deep Throat II

   End of Part 1...

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