On Feb. 5 Canyon County Magistrate Judge Dayo Onanubosi entered an order dismissing the case against Gem County Treasurer Connie Goins, according to a press release from Goins’ attorney Tim Fleming.
Goins was charged through a formal misdemeanor complaint by special Gem County prosecuting attorney Anne Marie Kelso, following an investigation into the circumstances in which Goins’ sonin-law assisted her in placing delinquent tax deed notices on property in Gem County, in connection with her official duties as Gem County treasurer.
The request for payment was submitted by Goins to the clerk’s office last year. The deputy clerk receiving the claim appropriately recognized that because of the relationship between Goins and her son-in-law (related within the second degree of consanguinity), it would not be appropriate to formally process the claim for payment. The claim was held in abeyance and never submitted to the county commissioners for approval. No taxpayer funds were ever paid. However, a formal investigation was requested and conducted by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office. The Payette County prosecutor was appointed as a special prosecutor for Gem County and filed the misdemeanor charge.
Subsequently, Goins entered a not guilty plea and following a pretrial conference in the matter, Goins, through her attorney, Fleming, filed a motion to have the matter referred to mediation. Mediation was ordered and the mediator assigned was former Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court, Linda Copple Trout.
Mediation occurred on Jan. 31 and lasted approximately two and half (2.5) hours. Through this process, a stipulation was entered into wherein Goins agreed to pay her son-in-law personally. She agreed to hold Gem County harmless for any claim that he may have arising from the posting of the tax deed signs and that she acknowledged that it is not appropriate to hire or appoint relatives who are in the second degree of consanguinity to assist her in carrying out her official duties as treasurer.
Goins states, “I am deeply appreciative of the mediation process and the ultimate outcome of dismissal that was obtained. I’ve never considered this a criminal matter because I had absolutely no intent to do anything illegal. Further, I am thankful for the hundreds and hundreds of supporters who have reached out to me during these past several months. My commitment to my constituents and Gem County has never been stronger. I take my job as county treasurer very seriously and approach my responsibilities with the strongest commitment to ethics in government and transparency. I am confident that my commitment is also shared by the newly elected officials in Gem County, as well as those who continue to serve. My case was an educational moment for all of us. Finally, I look forward to continuing to serve as Gem County treasurer and running for re-election in two years.”
Source: News release from Tim Fleming