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


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Boise's Watergate
 University Place and All The Governor's Men


 Deep Throat II


Chapter 2 - All The Governor's Men



“Of course it was a fix.
It’s an incestuous mess.”
-- Former Idaho State Senator Stan Hawkins (R-Ucon)

       The University Place fiasco was a time bomb waiting to happen.  As University of Idaho Executive Director and whistleblower Wayland Winstead wrote in his now famous memo, University Place was a “speculative real estate development” that threatened “an Enron-like implosion of our finances.”

   The University Place project was a failed attempt by a group of good ol’ boys – and outside developers – to purportedly create a U of I extension in downtown Boise two blocks away from rival Boise State University (BSU).  The U of I’s main campus is in Moscow, Idaho, several hundred miles north of Boise.  Boise is Idaho’s capital and largest city (pop. 200,000 in the Treasure Valley, pop. 450,000).

   The deficit project was finally halted after a reporter from a Pullman-Moscow newspaper submitted a public information request and blew the lid off all the nefarious financial activities by the perps.  The Idaho State Board of Education (SBOE) then hired a Special Deputy Attorney General (SDAG), Larry Prince of law firm Holland & Hart, to investigate the University Place fiasco.  Almost a year later, on Dec 5, 2003, Larry Prince and staff produced a 603-page report, including over 100-pages of review and investigation by Big Eight accounting and project management firm KPMG.  This investigation has cost the Idaho taxpayers over $1 million to date and pulled in the US Attorney for white-collar crime from Oregon, Allan Garten, for federal criminal investigation, Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson for state criminal investigation, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden for state civil investigation, and the FBI for possible RICO Act (racketeering and corruption) violations.  The major participants in this scandal include Governor Dirk Kempthorne, the Governor’s former Chief of Staff Phil Reberger, former U of I President Robert Hoover, former U of I VP Jerry Wallace, former U of I Foundation President Pat McMurray, lawyer-lobbyist and partner Roy Eiguren at law firm Givens Pursley, CEO Steve Semingson of California development firm Cryptic Partners (Civic Partners), and a host of others such as Idaho House Speaker Bruce Newcomb.

   As you will soon discover, there were many other powerful perps, lawyers and supposedly upstanding citizens, involved in Boise’s Watergate.  You will also discover that the University Place fiasco was not an accident or simple project mismanagement.  It was not what it appeared to be.  It was bad.  And it was nation-wide.

   Former Idaho State Senator Stan Hawkins (R-Ucon), 18-year veteran legislator who voted “No” on the University Place project said it best, “Of course it was a fix.  It’s an incestuous mess.”

   Winstead and Hawkins were correct but Boise’s Watergate scandal is much more than that.

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