John Bujak’s latest lawsuit, filed Tuesday afternoon, contends that Canyon County officials “willfully destroyed” email records that Bujak requested as part of his defense to a felony misuse-of-public-funds charge.
The former county prosecutor is accused of illegally taking $236,000 while using county resources to handle Nampa misdemeanor cases under a $600,000 annual contract. Bujak contends that the money was rightfully his and that county officials knew he planned to profit from the contract.
Bujak’s successor, Prosecutor Bryan Taylor, said Tuesday evening that he hasn’t been served with the lawsuit and is therefore unable to comment. Bujak also declined to comment.
Bujak’s first public records lawsuit, seeking text messages that Taylor exchanged with the Idaho Press-Tribune’s managing editor in April, is scheduled for a hearing July 13. Taylor has said that the texts relate to investigators’ search of Bujak’s residence and are not public record, but that he released them to the media to preserve public trust and demonstrate that he has “nothing to hide.”
The new lawsuit claims that the county didn’t respond adequately to Bujak’s requests for a copy of its records-retention policy and any documents showing that commissioners authorized decommissioning the county’s email server.
A deputy prosecutor responded to Bujak, saying that the records would cost him $15.69 for one hour of staff time to compile and review the documents. Bujak challenged that request for payment and questioned whether the county was “discriminating against me.”
Bujak’s complaint asks a judge to declare that the county has violated Idaho’s public records law, direct the county to disclose the documents, and impose a civil penalty of $1,000 against any officials who deliberately or in bad faith denied access to the records.
Bujak resigned as county prosecutor on Sept. 30, 2010. He has been embroiled in numerous court cases, including a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and a pending felony charge of misusing public funds. He was charged with grand theft last week over his handling of several thousand dollars from an estate he represented before he became prosecutor.
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447