The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans late Friday were served with a letter informing them somebody else has the rights to the group's name and ordering them to cease use.
In the letter, addressed to Reagan Republican representatives Ron Lahr and Jeff Ward, an attorney wrote that his clients have registered the name "Kootenai County Reagan Republicans" with the Idaho Secretary of State.
"You are expressly forbidden to use, promote, display, print or produce any document, media or other communication in any form that includes the name 'Kootenai County Reagan Republicans,'" the letter states. It says all references to the name have to be removed from the Reagan Republicans' website and campaign communications.
Lahr, of the Reagan Republicans, reached late Friday, said, "I look at this as identity theft."
Hayden attorney Scott L. Poorman wrote the letter dated Friday. He states, "I understand that you purport to represent 'Kootenai County Reagan Republicans,' an unincorporated nonprofit association, although no such entity is on file with the Idaho Secretary of State, and no registered agent is listed for said entity."
Poorman stated that continued use by Lahr and Ward's group has the potential to cause confusion among the public and to damage his clients' reputation.
Poorman said he represents the "Kootenai County Reagan Republicans," an Idaho nonprofit corporation, and Clifford Noll, the registered owner of the assumed business name "Kootenai County Reagan Republicans."
Lahr said his group is looking into the demand and consulting with a lawyer. He said the name has been used by his group since the summer of 2009.
"The Reagan Republicans is not a name," Lahr said. "It's a group of people who work hard to get Republican candidates elected. That doesn't change, no matter what happens with this name thing."
The letter goes on to warn, "Your failure to comply with this demand will result in civil litigation against you seeking damages, including potential punitive damages for your intentional conduct, plus all attorney fees and costs incurred in the litigation."
A Clifford L. Noll, living at 715 N. 13th St., in Coeur d'Alene, filed April 20 for the assumed business name with the state.
There is a listing for Noll in the phone book, but nobody answered a call Friday evening.
Noll, on Tuesday, filed articles of incorporation for an entity called "Kootenai County Reagan Republicans Inc." with the state.
Along with Noll, Hendrik Mills, of 13859 N. Reflection Road, in Rathdrum, and Jeff Altus, of 2499 Upper Hayden Lake Road, in Hayden Lake, are the initial board directors of the corporation, the filing documents said.
According to one article, the corporation is authorized to "promote civic activism and participation in the political and electoral process, to promote and encourage the ideals and policies of the Republican Party" and other activities.
"The corporation may have one or more classes of members, the qualifications and rights, including voting rights, of which shall be designated in the corporation bylaws," according to another article.
Altus is a former Idaho state representative. He offered the closing prayer at the United Conservatives of North Idaho meeting in December in Rathdrum.
Ward has said in the past that United Conservatives of North Idaho is likely a re-branded version of Rally Right, a conservative group in North Idaho led by Bob Pederson. Many Rally Right supporters were in attendance at the December meeting, including Pederson.