The long and often ugly series of lawsuits between the Kodiak Island Borough and members of the borough assembly appears to have finally come to an end, as the latest lawsuit was settled for 16,700 dollars in legal fees.
The case came to a close earlier this month when the borough’s insurance pool, the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association, agreed to pay the fees for assembly members Tom Abell, Louise Stutes and Reed Oswalt.
The three had sued borough Mayor Jerome Selby and three of their colleagues on the assembly, after their request to pay legal fees from an earlier lawsuit was denied. The earlier suit was filed by former assemblyman Mel Stephens over violations of attendance rules by assembly members Pat Branson and Sue Jeffrey, which led to Jeffrey being temporarily removed from the assembly and changes being made to the borough code regarding attendance rules.
In a July 10th letter addressed to Borough Manager Rick Gifford, the AMLJIA’s Executive Director Kevin Smith wrote that rather than drag the case out any further it was “in the best financial interests of the members of the pool and the Kodiak Island Borough to simply settle the matter for the amount offered.”
That amount turned out to be 16,700 dollars, rather than the 200-thousand dollar-plus amount Oswalt, Stutes and Abell had initially sought. The Anchorage-based lawyer for the three officially dismissed the lawsuit July 8th.