Despite a settlement conference led by Idahos chief bankruptcy judge, lawyers for Canyon County and federal bankruptcy trustee Jeremy Gugino couldnt agree on how much, if any, money the county should give the trustee to divide among former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujaks many creditors.
In a report filed Friday, Judge Terry L. Meyers said that the mediation he conducted was ultimately unsuccessful. That likely means the nearly $1 million lawsuit, filed in July 2011, will go to trial in May.
At issue are $171,000 that Bujak paid the county shortly before he resigned Sept. 30, 2010, plus other proceeds from a contract Bujak established to handle Nampa misdemeanor cases. County leaders contend Bujak left office owing the county about $300,000 from that contract, but Bujak and Gugino argue the contract was Bujaks property, taken from him without compensation.
Bujak filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection a month after he resigned, claiming $1.3 million in debt and no significant assets to offset that debt. Bankruptcy law allows trustees to seek return of any money the debtor paid in the three months previous to filing bankruptcy documents. Gugino seeks not only the money Bujak paid the county, but other proceeds from the nearly $600,000 annual Nampa contract.
Bankruptcy Judge Jim Pappas, who is handling the case, has repeatedly urged Gugino and the county to settle, saying both parties are at risk.
The two sides did reach a proposed settlement in March, shortly after the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that Bujaks contract to use county resources to handle Nampa cases was public, not private. But Pappas rejected that $20,000 deal, saying it could be selling the bankruptcy estate short.