How Did Private Prosecutor Spend $300K? County and Individual Citizen Seek Answers
Posted Apr 12, 2011 4:00 AM CST
By Martha Neil
As an Idaho county battles with a former contract prosecutor to collect some $300,000 it says it is owed in unearned payments, a local citizen is asking the state supreme court to award him attorney's fees in a related public records case.
Bob Henry, who owns a local insurance company, has been seeking bank records showing how former prosecutor John Bujak spent the $600,000 he was getting annually to pursue Nampa misdemeanor cases under a private contract with Canyon County. Both Bujak and the county have argued that he isn't entitled to see the records, and Henry, who is represented by Holland & Hart, contends that the government's efforts to withhold the information should require it to pay for his counsel costs, according to the Idaho Statesman and the Idaho Press-Tribune.
Meanwhile, the county also is trying to find out what happened to some $300,000 of the money. Bujak has filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, listing debts of $1 million, and Canyon County is arguing that the $300,000 should be exempted from the bankruptcy estate.
A criminal investigation is also reportedly under way. However, Bujak contends in a tort claim he filed last month that he is the victim of improper collection and prosecution threats concerning the contested funds, another Statesman article reports. He contends that the county's conduct is a civil violation of federal racketeering law.
Bujak resigned last year.
Idaho Press-Tribune (Aug. 2010): "Nampa City Council votes to pay Bujak directly for prosecution"
KTVB (Oct. 2010): "Bujak resigns, still owes Canyon County $288,000"
KBOI 2 (Oct. 2010): "Nampa severs ties to Bujak, unanimously approves amendment"
Idaho Statesman: "Bujak, Canyon County urged to settle out of court"