Residents worry about lawsuit challenging Fraser Recreation District bond election
December 12, 2007
A couple Fraser Valley residents voiced concerns Tuesday night about the pending lawsuit filed against the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District challenging the result of the Nov. 6 election.
Board President Jim Fox said the district’s attorney is working with the county attorney to bring the lawsuit to a resolution as soon as possible. As for when it would be resolved, Fox said he didn’t know.
The board passed a resolution authorizing issuance of the bonds for the Community Enhancement Project, meaning the process for insuring the bonds and preparing them for market is under way ” despite the lawsuit.
“How can it be in our best interest as taxpayers and the district to move forward when there’s a lawsuit pending?” asked resident Melanie Zwick, voicing a common concern among locals.
But passing a resolution to move forward means the district is working with the bonding company, explained Fox, to ensure the district follows the law. There is a strict timeline for selling bonds, and if the district doesn’t move forward and wins the lawsuit, it would be behind schedule. If it loses the lawsuit, the judge can order a stop to selling the bonds.
Fox said bonds will probably be put up for sale around Feb. 1, and he hopes a resolution will be found before then.
“The process continues to move forward until we have a legal determination,” he said.
The lawsuit was filed by Grand County resident Patrick Rupert, who is suing Fox as representative of the district, along with Grand County Clerk Sara Rosene as representative of the Clerk and Recorder’s office, and Mike Coffman, Colorado Secretary of State.
Rupert, a registered voter in the recreation district, is suing under the auspices of Colorado Secretary of State Rule No. 12: Rules concerning mail ballot elections.
Rupert believes that by conducting the elections at the Grand County Courthouse, the voting for the Community Enhancement Project took place outside the “political subdivision” and therefore required written permission from the Secretary of State. In the lawsuit, it states that in light of the violations of Rule 12.9.2, the election results should be decertified.
The wording on the bond documents needs to be changed to reflect the lawsuit. If the district loses the lawsuit, Fox admitted it would be “fairly disastrous potentially.” Also, disclosing the lawsuit on the bonds could potentially lower the rating of the bonds.
Fox, however, said he is hopeful to get an early judgment from the courts so those issues can be avoided.
In other business, the 2008 recreation district budget was approved. A more detailed story about the budget will be published in a future edition of the Sky-Hi Daily News.