Sunday, March 03, 2024

KENNEDY: Pay for both or none

| November 17, 2010 9:00 PM

The Idaho Statutes are clear that each party in a lawsuit shall pay for their own attorneys, unless the lawsuit is found to be frivolously filed or defended against. In the Coeur d'Alene election challenge, the court found the lawsuit was not frivolous, and also found that more illegal votes had been cast than Mr. Kennedy won by. It was only through the lawsuit that it could be determined who those votes had been cast for so they could be removed from the results.

Mr. Kennedy has now requested that the city pay for his legal team, but since the city should make some effort to appear that they are not biased, how could they pay for one candidate's legal costs unless they pay for the other candidate's cost as well?

Put another way, the city has no basis to justify this. In this case, the city owes it to their constituents to treat both candidates (now parties of a lawsuit) equally. Mr. Kennedy did not incur this as part of his duties as a city councilman, but as a candidate. The only way they could pay for this is if they justify it because Kennedy is their chosen candidate, and Mr. Brannon caused them a great deal of embarrassment by finding that they had allowed many people to vote who had moved out of the city or had never lived here at all.

Councilman Kennedy seems to think that he was an innocent party so he should not have to pay for his expenses, and to that I would point out that he could have let the city defend the suit. There was no reason that he needed to hire two attorneys to add redundancy to the city's legal team. The only reason he was named was because the law requires it.

The only justifiable position the city can take here is to pay for both candidates' legal expenses, or pay neither. Anything else would be blatant favoritism, and lead reasonable people to wonder if this is a case of the city council using city funds to help themselves and their friends.