OpenCDA

May 31, 2011

“Scurrilous!” Really? Let’s Compare…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 10:16 am

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This morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press online posted a letter from Coeur d’Alene City Attorney Mike Gridley to Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane.

It would have been responsible journalism and less biased if the Press had simultaneously posted both this letter from Representative Kathy Sims to Attorney General Lawrence Wasden side-by-side with Gridley’s response so the public would have some context.

 

 

It seems clear that Gridley is hoping to deflect attention from Representative Sims’ legitimate request.  Gridley’s ultimate objective is to make sure there are no investigations that could reveal how publicly-funded projects are selected and steered to benefit present and former urban renewal commissioners, foundation board members, community college trustees, and cronies of City Hall.

But why did Gridley send the letter to Kane and not Wasden?  Rep. Sims’ letter was to AG Wasden.

My opinion is that Kane may have hitched his future employment wagon to the CdA/Gridley/Kennedy mule, believing that bending Wasden’s ear to favor the mule will give Kane what he wants.  Who knows what Kane wants?  Maybe he wants to succeed Wasden.  Maybe he wants to be a judge.  Maybe he wants some other public office that the mule may have enough influence to get for him.  Maybe Kane is just a dupe.

Remember, Kane and Gridley colluded to threaten legal action against citizens who were trying to raise money for Jim Brannon’s election contest.  That collusion was detailed and documented in this February 11, 2011, OpenCdA post titled Follow Your Money.   Gridley had prompted Kane to agree that long after the election was over and the Council had been sworn in, anyone raising money for Brannon’s legal costs had to register as a political action committee.

Then a few months later, Councilman Kennedy threatened to sue the City if the City didn’t use taxpayer money to pay his legal fees which he incurred voluntarily and unnecessarily in the election contest lawsuit.  And of course our ever-compliant City Council and Mayor coughed up about $69,660 in taxpayer dollars to pay Councilman Kennedy’s legal fees.  I wonder if anyone really believes Councilman Kennedy would have sued the City?

So in Gridley’s mind, it was a campaign contribution when individuals raised money for legal expenses for Jim Brannon who was not a candidate for public office, but it was apparently not a campaign contribution for the City to appropriate public money for personal legal expenses for Councilman Mike Kennedy who was and is a candidate for public office.

Rep. Sims’ request to the Attorney General was a reasonable request for the Attorney General to investigate and determine if Coeur d’Alene’s public officials are making decisions to spend public money based on how it will best benefit those officials and their cronies or how it will best benefit all the citizens of the community.  That is a legitimate request, not a scurrilous accusation.

 

32 Comments

  1. I note that the Press has now put Rep. Sims’ letter up on its website as well.

    Comment by Bill — May 31, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  2. Bill, I’m not an attorney, but I know that the Idaho Bar has certain standards. Is it possible that Gridley’s letter violated some of those standards by referring to Sims’ letter as “scurrilous”, as well as other ham-handed language in his missive to DAG Kane?

    Comment by Dan — May 31, 2011 @ 10:41 am

  3. Dan,

    The Idaho State Bar has standards? Really?

    Seriously, though, probably not. Attorneys with delusions of adequacy like to impress their clients by using words like “scurrilous.”

    Comment by Bill — May 31, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  4. I asked the Press this morning, to put Kathy’s letter up as well, and I sent them a copy.

    Comment by mary — May 31, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  5. “But why did Gridley send the letter to Kane and not Wasden? Rep. Sims’ letter was to AG Wasden.” Bingo, you hit on it, Bill.

    The city is worried, very worried that there might be an investigation into these conflicts. Gridley has already given his slanted opinion that there’s no conflict, he certainly doesn’t want anyone from the state parting the curtains to see what’s really there. His letter to the AG contained incendiary words such as “scurrilous” and “absurd” when describing Rep. Sims’ serious, substantiated request to the Idaho Attorney General. How unprofessional.

    But let’s also remember that this same city attorney, Mike Gridley, while he was on the witness stand under oath in the election challenge trial last year, told the attorney questioning him to take his papers and “shove them up your ***!” It’s embarrassing to have this man as our city attorney, making big money and treating others with such disrespect.

    Comment by mary — May 31, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  6. I’m sure some people are impressed out of their gourd when an attorney speaks. I’ve spoken with people who honestly and sincerely believe that an attorney’s words are law. Let’s put that in perspective.

    Gridley’s letter was his opinion, not necessarily an authoritative, accurate, or complete statement of the facts or the law.

    Gridley is an attorney, specifically the City Attorney. An attorney is paid to be a consultant and an advocate for his client, nothing more. An attorney’s opinion has no force of law unless that attorney is also the judge in a hearing, trial, or appeal.

    Remember, every person incarcerated in a federal prison was represented by an attorney with an opinion about his client’s case. Some of the people federally incarcerated were attorneys themselves when they were convicted. Obviously more than one attorney has been told his interpretation of fact and law are wrong.

    Comment by Bill — May 31, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  7. Okay, I just got an email critical of my using an “unflattering” black & white image of Gridley.

    I used my digital camera to make a color image of my television screen displaying Gridley at a city council meeting. I converted the color to monochrome for posting, because the colors in an image photographed from a TV screen are usually hideous. The monochrome image is far less unflattering that an unretouched color image, and because of the way TV images are generated, it would be far too time-consuming to retouch a color image.

    Comment by Bill — May 31, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  8. Hey Bill…… Mebbe Mike would gladly sit for a photo shoot so you would have a more flattering selection of his manly attorneys’ facade to choose from? On the other hand an ass is always an ass regardless of the angle or the setting.

    Comment by Wallypog — May 31, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

  9. Bill,
    I though the black and white photo of Gridley was a clear illustration of Mr. Gridley’s expressions I have seen on many occassions.

    Comment by Ancientemplar — May 31, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  10. Here’s the picture in color, and Bill is correct: It’s hideous:

    Here is the city’s picture on their website, but it’s a bit too small to be good or bad:

    Comment by Dan — May 31, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

  11. Gridley has a track record of being very, very wrong. Expensively so for the City of Coeur d’Alene. He needs to start looking for work. Soon. A new wind is blowing and the kind of sycophantic pseudo-law that Gridley practices won’t be needed in the Lake City much longer.

    Comment by justinian — May 31, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  12. All day long it’s been bugging me. Where have I seen that outraged face before? Then it hit me. Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. When she’s being interviewed by the clinical psyche and they replay their previous videotaped interaction and Sarah goes berserk! They stop the replay mid-spittle and…… there it is….. MIke Gridley our city attorney absolutely unwound, furiously hellbent to pound some point home or kill someone. He is the perfect attack dog, you’d have to admit that much. Once he’s finished with this job I’d recommend some counseling and some medication and perhaps a straight jacket.

    Comment by Wallypog — May 31, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  13. I like the black and white photo better.

    Getting to the bottom line of Idaho law on Ethics in Government, (I.C.59-700) in section 703, the law specifically says this:

    “Conflict of interest” means any official action or any decision or recommendation by a person acting in a capacity as a public official, the effect of which would be to the private pecuniary benefit of the person or a member of the person’s household, or a business with which the person or a member of the person’s household is associated, unless the pecuniary benefit arises out of the following:
    (a) An interest or membership in a particular business, industry, occupation or class required by law as a prerequisite to the holding by the person of the office or position;
    (b) Any action in the person’s official capacity which would affect to the same degree a class consisting of an industry or occupation group in which the person, or a member of the person’s household or business with which the person is associated, is a member or is engaged;
    (c) Any interest which the person has by virtue of his profession, trade or occupation where his interest would be affected to the same degree as that of a substantial group or class of others similarly engaged in the profession, trade or occupation;
    (d) Any action by a public official upon any revenue measure, any appropriation measure or any measure imposing a tax,
    when similarly situated members of the general public are affected by the outcome of the action in a substantially similar manner and degree.

    Comment by mary — May 31, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

  14. How can Gridley, who cited the same exact Idaho law, claim there is “no potential conflict of interest”? The Mayor’s retail sales building will be right on the new pedestrian walkway. In this building, she and her brother sell jewelery, sporting equipment, clothing and shoes. Might her location on a new walking mall give her any advantage over other similar retailers elsewhere in downtown or the city? Of course it will!

    Mike Kennedy’s boss owns the whole 1/2 block bordering the park between 4th and 5th on Front street. Most of that property is currently open parking lots. If the park is beautified with $39++Million, will it not make the development potential (think high rise buildings overlooking the remodeled park) for Mike’s Boss’ property much higher than some open parking lots up on Appleway? Of course it will!

    Where is the basic common sense with these officials? All they have to do is step aside from the decisions on this project. That they are fighting this thing and pretending there’s not even the potential for a problem, raises some serious red flags.

    Comment by mary — May 31, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  15. Mary, contrast the realities of what you have written with other prospects. There are a host of areas in this city in need of ‘upgrades’ but only the few who coincidentally benefit the decision makers are getting any attention and action. So the issue is as much about what has not been done or considered as much as what has been undertaken. The focus has been on projects aimed to collaterally, if not directly, benefit a handful of folks many of whom are in that stakeholders ‘loop’.

    Comment by Wallypog — May 31, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  16. You have to hand it to him coming up with the word “scurrilous” – that in itself is amusing. This guy likes to play semantics – if I remember,I believe the word “gender” was a big one for him – did not fly, thus Judge Hosack did turn over the city employee salaries and disclosed their names as public to Wayne Hoffman. Gridley argued that gender was private and for some reason the name would diclose the gender. Just call me, frank.”Scurrilous and scurrilous” – it really is a wonderland we have, here.

    Comment by Stebbijo — May 31, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  17. http://isb.idaho.gov/pdf/rules/irpc.pdf

    Comment by justinian — May 31, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

  18. I suggest that the issue, posed by Mr. Gridley’s letter to the AG, does not have anything to do with whether or not some or all of the persons have a conflict of interest.

    The issue is Mr. Gridley, his conduct, and whether this type of person should be representing the City of Coeur d’Alene.

    From the two letters it appears:
    Representative Sims:
    1. Representative Sims wrote a letter to AG Wasden;
    2. She wrote the letter because of concerns brought to her by her constituents in Legislative District number 4 that includes the City of Coeur d’Alene;
    3. She asked for the AG’s help “in interpreting and applying” guidelines regarding “Idaho Ethics in Government.”
    4. She stated that in her opinion a thorough investigation should occur.

    Isn’t this what a “representative” should do for her constituents? Shouldn’t a representative raise questions and seek answers on legal questions from Idaho’s AG on behalf of her constituents?

    Mr. Gridley:
    1. States that Representative Sims’ comments in her letter are “scurrilous”;
    2. States that he believes that Representative Sims, in fulfilling her own legislative duties, does not follow the “Idaho Ethics in Government” standards;
    3. States that Representative Sims’ letter contains “absurd” allegations.

    “Scurrilous” is defined as “grossly or obscenely abusive” or “characterized by or using low buffoonery; coarsely jocular or derisive.”

    “Absurd” is defined as “utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false.”

    In context, Mr. Gridley’s statements actually opine that the citizens of Coeur d’Alene are buffoons and laughable. After all, Representative Sims was raising the concerns of her constituents, citizens of Coeur d’Alene.

    Should the City of Coeur d’Alene’s chief legal advisor, in his official capacity writing as such on City of Coeur d’Alene letterhead, be permitted to make such statements about the citizens of Coeur d’Alene, let alone their duly elected representative?

    The City Council brushed complaints arising from Mr. Gridley’s earlier clearly inappropriate actions in trying to obtain information regarding efforts to help with legal expenses in the election contest. Mr. Gridley admitted that his actions in this regard were inappropriate when he was quoted in a February 11, 2011 Cda Press article as saying that his effort was “based on federal precedents, and not Idaho law.” Obviously in Idaho, the Idaho election laws apply and federal “precedents” don’t.

    Given Mr. Gridley’s recent letter to the AG, the City Council can no longer ignore his actions. He has now labeled the citizens of Coeur d’Alene as baffoons and as being laughable.

    I suggest that the issue of “conflicts of interest” should be allowed to run its legitimate course. Let the AG make up his own mind. That being said, how the AG can determine whether or not there are conflicts of interest, without an investigation into the facts, will be interesting to observe.

    With regard to Mr. Gridley, regardless of whether there are any conflicts of interest, the City Council should immediately fire him for writing this letter. If the Council fails to fire him, it can only be seen as supporting his actions, and that is unacceptable.

    Comment by Joe Six-Pack — May 31, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

  19. Joe Six-Pack,

    Good observations. Demeaning the people whose taxes provide one’s paycheck isn’t real bright.

    At best, his letter to the AG was premature. Why would he object to and ridicule a request for an investigation unless he knew the outcome of an honest, diligent investigation would produce evidence incriminating those he was trying to protect?

    Comment by Bill — May 31, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

  20. Bill… Gridley went at this quickly in an effort to preempt any serious outside investigation. Its tone clearly displays its klaxon urgency level of desperation. I too agree with Mr. 6-pack. But our Mayor is herself so arrogant and insulting to the electorate that she likely finds Gridley’s low brow accompaniment refreshing.

    Comment by Wallypog — June 1, 2011 @ 5:29 am

  21. DABDA behavior. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model

    Comment by justinian — June 1, 2011 @ 5:55 am

  22. Could someone please clear this up for me, since I am a laughable buffoon. Isn’t “SIUYA” Gridley the “CITY” attorney? Or is he the city council and mayors attorney? If he is the city council and mayors attorney then why did mikey have to hire on his own TWO outside attorney’s at $70,000 taxpayers dollars when they already have someone on the take, uh – I mean, payroll?

    Comment by concerned citizen — June 1, 2011 @ 7:05 am

  23. concerned citizen,

    Gridley is the City Attorney. That office represents the city’s agents for actions arising out of the lawful performance of their official duties. He is not the personal attorney for the mayor or any member of the city council.

    Kennedy voluntarily chose to hire outside private counsel for the election contest lawsuit. His position as the incumbent city councilman named in the lawsuit complaint as required by state election law was represented by the City Attorney through its contractor Mike Haman.

    Comment by Bill — June 1, 2011 @ 7:59 am

  24. Interesting, Justinian. I clicked on your link and was surprised to see the Kubler-Ross connection. So, I presume you think Gridley & the “cabal”, as so many people think it, are in the dying process (politically). Sounds like Gridley is still in the anger/denial phase, lashing out with insults rather than doing his job in a professional manner.

    Comment by mary — June 1, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  25. If Gridley were performing his duties professionally, he would not be lashing out with personal insults. But because his letter was sent on behalf of the City and because no member of the Council has disavowed the letter or its contents, we have to assume that the Mayor and every member of the Council personally read and approved his letter before it was sent.

    Comment by Bill — June 1, 2011 @ 9:25 am

  26. Rep. Sims hand delivered a copy of her letter to our Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh on the same day she sent it to the Idaho Attorney General. Let’s hope Prosecutor McHugh will also do a thorough investigation and not allow any clouding of his vision by the $100,000 art grant given by the City of CdA to his wife for the sculpture placed on the corner of Sherman & 22nd.

    Comment by mary — June 1, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  27. Bill,

    Grizzly Gridley would not send out the unprofessional letter without the consent of the Mayor and City Administrator.

    Comment by LTR — June 1, 2011 @ 9:42 am

  28. LTR,

    I’m sure you’re correct, but each member of the City Council, by his or her silence, has adopted Gridley’s comments. He works for them, though some of them seem to think it’s the other way around.

    Comment by Bill — June 1, 2011 @ 9:56 am

  29. I can’t help wondering why “Councilperson Ron” is being quiet on this issue.

    Comment by Joe Six-Pack — June 1, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  30. Joe Six-Pack,

    Unless they have something to fear, all of the councilpersons ought to be endorsing and supporting Representative Sims’ request to the AG.

    Comment by Bill — June 1, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  31. It’s not been the style of any elected official at City Hall (or at any other local government agency) to openly criticize staff. I am aware of things that go on behind the scenes, but I’ve never seen a staff member berated in public by an elected official in the 10 years that I’ve lived here.

    It’s also my observation that our elected officials believe they represent the government, not the people. If that’s true, then they would side with Gridley against a constituent by default.

    Comment by Dan — June 1, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  32. Bill,
    The ‘six-pack gang’ agrees with your comment. Public officials should welcome scrutiny to ensure that they are acting properly…

    Comment by Joe Six-Pack — June 1, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

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