In this corridor you can trust - Coeur d'Alene Press: My Turn

In this corridor you can trust

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Posted: Friday, December 3, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 10:20 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

The Nov. 25 issue of Coeur d'Alene Press featured a "My Turn" column written by representative-elect Kathy Sims. In her article she falsely accuses the NIC Board for not following a legal process in the acquisition of the education corridor. Her allegation that the NIC Board of Trustees acted in violation of the Constitution is misleading, false, and grounded on a distortion of the facts. * First, Ms. Sims accuses Trustee Judy Meyer of a conflict of interest. She states, "The appraiser is a business partner with an NIC Board member who also sits on the Board of Mountain West Bank."

* FACT: Judy Meyer does not sit on the Board at Mountain West Bank, nor is she a business partner with Ed Morse who appraised the mill site in 2008. Moreover, this fact has been publicly stated many times.* Second, Ms. Sims accuses the NIC Foundation Board members, the NIC Board of Trustees, the Mayor and City Council, The Presidents and administration of University of Idaho and Lewis Clark State College as being part of an elaborate scheme to defraud taxpayers.

* FACT: The Education Corridor represents the greatest step forward, to date, in bringing the opportunity for higher education to North Idaho taxpayers. To allege that highly reputable officials would put their name, reputation, and energy into an illegal endeavor is farfetched and defamatory. * Ms. Sims states "The current NIC Board of Trustees has made great plans but in their haste to see their dreams fulfilled, they seem to have forgotten a pending lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of their actions."

* FACT: The lawsuit she refers to has resulted in a summary judgment in favor of NIC. The court ruled the lease agreement to be legal. It is the same mechanism many foundations use in Idaho. The exact process was used in 1997 by the NIC Foundation to acquire the Work Force Training Center in Post Falls. The plaintiffs have chosen to appeal the decision to the Idaho Supreme Court.* Ms. Sims also questions the NIC Board's authority in appropriating funds for the Ed. Corridor. She states "The exorbitant price they paid for the land purchase wasn't their money."

* FACT: As Ms. Sims herself will learn, in a democracy officials are elected to lead and to make fiscal decisions that have a far-reaching positive impact on the citizens who elect them. Furthermore, as Ms. Sims will learn, the revenue structure of community colleges differs from that of the university system. Community colleges are supported not only by state and local tax revenue but also by student tuition and fees. The NIC Board recently received an A+ rating from auditors for a budget that is sound, fiscally conservative, responsive to the needs of our community, and open to the public for review.

* Ms. Sims states, "The network of developers behind this purchase has had the approval and support of the NIC Board every step of the way, so why didn't they just buy the land? This interesting Mill Site Money Mix apparently finds it much more profitable to avoid spending their own money--they would rather use yours."* FACT: There are no developers involved in the purchase or planning of the mill site. The board would very much appreciate a disclosure of the basis for such an erroneous statement. It is blatantly false.

* Ms. Sims sums up her critical attack on the NIC Board by directing board members to analyze the recent election results for indications that "voters are becoming more informed all the time." * FACT: A clear distinction was made in several candidate forums between the winners and losers of this election, in terms of their support for the Ed Corridor. That voters decisively elected Christie Wood and Ken Howard demonstrates not only how "informed" they are, but also their support for this historic project that will give citizens access to a wide range of higher education choices for generations to come.

* Ms. Sims states "We need an NIC Board we can trust to tell us the truth."* FACT: We need a legislator who takes time to check her facts before falsely accusing honest hardworking public servants of subverting the public trust.

It is the NIC Board's hope that as a newly elected representative, Ms. Sims will take the time to study the facts supporting the development of the Ed Corridor instead of hearsay, especially before publishing it. Voters have a right to expect a representative to check her facts. Most important, the North Idaho legislative delegation has a great deal to be proud of in North Idaho College. We hope Ms. Sims will visit the NIC campus and outreach centers and see for herself what student success looks like in academic achievement, in the accomplishments of our music, drama, journalism, athletic teams (Go Cards!), and our applied tech programs. NIC needs, and deserves, her support.

Christie Wood is board secretary for the North Idaho College Board of Trustees.

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  • wardell77925 posted at 5:45 pm on Thu, Jan 27, 2011.

    wardell77925 Posts: 71

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  • LTRLTR posted at 9:33 am on Sun, Dec 5, 2010.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Hmmm. Christi Wood did mention "conflict of interest". She is an employee of the City of Coeur d'Alene and a NIC Trustee. Does any one see a conflict? It is a known fact that City has planted employees in various community groups to have a voice and to build relationships (words straight from city council members)

    I would like to see a family tree of these relationships to show how they are all connected.

    Randy Meyers: I am glad you are open to hear the concerns of our community. Our leaders turn their backs and plug their ears when concerns are expressed.

  • RadRevD posted at 7:33 pm on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    Mrs. Madoff had no knowledge of what Bernie was doing...YEAH RIGHT!

  • The Late Louis Nizer posted at 12:21 pm on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    The Late Louis Nizer Posts: 188


    You missed a few additional connections.

    NIC trustee Judy Meyer's husband Steve is on the NIC Foundation Board as well as the Mountain West Bank board.

    Mountain West Bank board members Brad Dugdale and Jon Hippler are also on the NIC Foundation Board.

    Mountain West Bank VP Rod Colwell and Board member Charlie Nipp are also on the LCDC.

    Mic Armon is on both the NIC Board of Trustees and the NIC Foundation.

    One might wonder if any of these people do business with each other and if their decisions regarding NIC have more to do with personal enrichment than in doing what is best for NIC and the counties it serves.

  • Randy Myers posted at 11:58 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    Main point: NIC overpaid for the mill site land and didn't go to the voters but used the Foundation to get around that. Unacceptable. I think an investigation is in order by a non-stakeholder state agency (special master type of thing maybe ? ).

    Kathy Sims has a high enough profile as a recently elected state legislator to make sure this doesn't go away.

    Christie does come across as overly defensive in this My Turn.

  • Why Not posted at 10:16 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    Why Not Posts: 3974

    I second that, DeNiles post is excellent. Po Ole Marshall, doing all he can to save some of the Billion he blew.

    Ego will get yah everytime

  • Mary Souza posted at 9:45 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    Mary Souza Posts: 784

    DeNiles, very well said.

  • RadRevD posted at 7:42 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    No matter how you spin it Christi...IMHO, Noble Cause Corruption is rampant in many CDA projects. You get away with the schemes by co-opting leadership, prosecutors, and judges that might pull the scab off your dealings. You even field sufficient votes from nervous employees to keep you in power. Your world is starting to crumble...hence your letter.

    The monetary difference in taxes resulting from your NCC is not significant upon the individual. Collectively, your impact does inspire a lot of BLING to attract an affluent gentry that can afford your high-maintenance standards. For many of us Locals, your dealings are salt in the wounds, as some are sent packing to more livable job markets and the remaining are forced to fund your dreams.

  • The Late Louis Nizer posted at 7:06 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    The Late Louis Nizer Posts: 188


    It should come as no surprise that the Press's lack of editorial quality in news production extends to its unwillingness to remove offensive comments about Mary Souza.

  • The Late Louis Nizer posted at 7:00 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    The Late Louis Nizer Posts: 188

    Dan Gookin,

    Wood is a full-time police officer. Her obligation to uphold the US and Idaho Constitutions does not end when she ends her watch. It certainly does not end simply because she violates the Idaho Constitution under the color of a different office or position (trustee). The failure to uphold the Idaho Constitution violates the oath she took as both a police officer and NIC trustee. It also violates the Code of Conduct for law enforcement officers prescribed in IDAPA Though she sits on the NIC Trustee Board as a Trustee, she is still a sworn, commissioned Idaho peace officer obligated to obey the laws and Constitution of Idaho.

    Furthermore, if the Court finds the NIC Trustees violated the Constitution and if Wood's chief, Wayne Longo, fails to refer her violation to the Idaho Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training for investigation, he would be equally subject to decertification for failing to perform a prescribed supervisory duty.

  • DeNiles posted at 6:33 am on Sat, Dec 4, 2010.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    Lets see here:

    A) Judy Meyer is an NIC Trustee.
    B) Judy's husband sits on the Board of Mountain West Bank (who made the loan on this deal)
    C) Ed Morse, the appraiser for the loan is a business partner of Judy's husband.

    So is the appraisal going to be really objective OR will it be done assuring that the wishes of your business partner and his wife's NIC interests are met? Of course they could have gotten 2, or more appraisals, which is common on these types of transactions. But, NO, then the values would have been accurate, NOT DOCTORED. So the Meyers used just their business partner and friend to do the appraisal who by his own admission was not qualified for the duty. Then they let that appraisal stale date. It was too old to be valid even IF it was done properly. The appraised value was seriously bloated when it was done and property values had nose dived by the time it was used. But they used it anyway. So Judy and her NIC pals got their land and her husbands bank pocketed a bunch of our tax dollars based upon a totally bogus and thoroughly partial appraisal.

    Maybe Twinkie Woods can s'plain this. Marshall Chesrown was a big part of this deal. He IS a developer. He made money selling this land because the deal saved him from losing his earnest money used to capture the site purchase option. NIC could have allowed Chesrown to rot and bought the land directly from the owners. NIC could have used a valid appraiser and paid the real market value for the land. But NIC was used and the taxpayers were used. Chesrown got bailed out by his friends using our tax dollars using an out of date, baseless appraisal done by an appraiser intimately related to the parties involved in the transaction.

  • sharetheplanet posted at 10:04 pm on Fri, Dec 3, 2010.

    sharetheplanet Posts: 809

    I cannot believe the press left thommys post up about Mary. Shame shame thommy.

  • Dan Gookin posted at 8:38 pm on Fri, Dec 3, 2010.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 665

    LLN: I don't believe Sgt. Wood falls under IDAPA because she is an elected official.

  • LTRLTR posted at 6:40 pm on Fri, Dec 3, 2010.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171


    Your above letter has comments that were not included in Kathy Sims letter submitted to My Turn on Dec. 2, 2010.

    1. Kathy Sims did not accuse the Presidents of University of Idaho or Lewis State College of anything. Those were your comments.

    2. Your said that Kathy Sims "accuses Trustee Judy Meyer of a conflict of interest". I did not read those comments.

    Why do you make comments that are not the truth?

  • The Late Louis Nizer posted at 5:09 pm on Fri, Dec 3, 2010.

    The Late Louis Nizer Posts: 188

    Idaho law required the NIC Trustees to each take an oath (or affirmation) which reads, ""I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Idaho, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of North Idaho College Trustee according to the best of my ability."

    We should assume that if the Idaho Supreme Court determines the North Idaho College Board of Trustees unconstitutionally acquired the Mill site, each of the Trustees will immediately resign from the Board. Further, we should assume that since Christie Wood is a Coeur d'Alene police officer, Chief of Police Wayne Longo will immediately begin the process to have her decertified (peace officer certification revoked) by the State of Idaho Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training as required by IDAPA

  • tempter posted at 12:16 pm on Fri, Dec 3, 2010.

    tempter Posts: 186

    The method used to set property taxes in the State of Idaho is backwards. The multiple taxing boards in each county tell the assessor how many tax dollars they want without regard for available tax dollars.

    Instead, the assessor should be the one to telling the various county taxing boards what their allotment of tax dollars will be. If accessments are down, tax dollar allotments will go down and conversely should property tax accessments increase.

    Kathy Sims recognizes this and will take the steps necessary to prevent Taxing Boards from having carte blanche access to the individual property taxpayer's checkbook.

    To this end, Kathy Sims will see to it that "LCDC's" days are numbered!

    Ms Wood's attempted dressing down of our distinguished and newly elected Representative Kathy Sims backfired!

    The old adage, "Give'em enough rope and they hang themselves" certainly applies to Christie Woods. Wood's disparaging remarks in the "Special to the Press" shows that Kathy Sims found Christie Wood's achilles heel!

    Wood's is a symbol of an out of control government in Kootenai County.

    Woods and the other NIC Board Members knew about the near near bankrupt state of our economy with property values declining here in North Idaho by over 10%.

    My property value declined by 24%. My property tax increased by 15%!

    I am outraged!

    The Mill Site purchase was not authorized by the taxpayers. Wood's actions have hurt many taxpayers in the county! Social Security hasn't increased in two years, incomes have been stagnant for two years and many folks are out of work!

    Without taxpayer approval, the acquisition of the Mill Site by the NIC Board of Trustees was a morally reprehensible act.

    Wood's perception that the Mill Site purchase was an education opportunity for the taxpayers of North Idaho is manifestly ill founded!

    The health of Idaho depends on Kathy Sims!

  • Why Not posted at 10:29 am on Fri, Dec 3, 2010.

    Why Not Posts: 3974

    I question whether she is against it. Many people do support the concept but question the process. Read her column again tarcomed. The world is a paradigm. A solution is never good enough, someone is always peddling a better one, and more expensive as well.

  • tarcomed posted at 9:58 am on Fri, Dec 3, 2010.

    tarcomed Posts: 22

    Well said Ms. Wood. The voters showed their overwhelming support for you in the election, and by doing this they showed their overwhelming support for the Education Corridor.

    As far as Kathy Sims goes, I wonder if she would have been elected if she would have come out against the Ed Corridor during her campaign? Doubt it. All of the candidates who came out against the Ed Corridor lost their races. Coincidence? Maybe.

  • Mary Souza posted at 8:23 am on Fri, Dec 3, 2010.

    Mary Souza Posts: 784

    FACT: NIC Trustee Judy Meyer's HUSBAND is on the Board at Mt. West Bank. The only appraiser used for the Mill site property value is a long time business partner of Judy's husband and Judy herself has been involved with their business. I have a copy of a legal property document signed by Judy, her husband and the appraiser.

    So, Ms. Wood, you never answered the question: Why did NIC pay the full price for the Mill site, even though the very questionable appraisal was way out of date by that time and the real estate market all over the country, and right her in CdA, had tanked. Why did YOU and your board not negotiate a better price?

  • Dan Gookin posted at 8:01 am on Fri, Dec 3, 2010.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 665

    Another divisive column by a community leader. Rather than try to bring the community together, and invite Ms. Sims to directly address the board, Trustee Wood hits us over the head with "You're Wrong! You're Wrong! You're Wrong!" That's no way to build a community, Ms. Wood.

    FACT: NIC violated the State Constitution with its straw-man purchase of the mill site. Ms. Wood and her fellow Trustees did everything to avoid a vote of the people. That's a fact, and it's shameful.

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