Stories abound related to former Tax Commissioner Chigbrow’s habit of using his position to favor some and intimidate others. In fact, he was officially investigated over several months on suspicion of failing to appropriately deposit checks from a taxpayer. The allegations included his providing confidential information to a friend and receiving stolen checks totaling more than $30,000.
As luck would have it, Ada County Prosecutor Greg Bower announced he won’t prosecute despite evidence of wrongdoing because a statute of limitations expired on one complaint. He found evidence on other complaints insufficient to prosecute.
Prosecutor Bower received the complaint before the statute of limitations ran out. His investigation extended beyond the deadline. Surely he was aware of timelines. Surely as an experienced prosecutor Bower knows that Prosecutors regularly go to a Defendant for a waiver of the Statute of Limitations for more time to investigate. This consideration is in exchange for not immediately filing charges. But, the deadline was allowed to go by. How fortunate for Chigbrow.
A lawsuit was filed against the Tax Commission a year ago in an attempt to stop special consideration given well-connected taxpayers. Affidavits filed at that time by certain auditors indicated that roughly $50 million was at stake if these practices continued, violating the Commission’s own rules and regulations, as well as the State Constitution. Tax collections at the end of fiscal year 2011 were about $85 million above projections. One wonders how much of this $85 million might be attributed to the Tax Commission cleaning up its act, and the departure of Chigbrow?
Chigbrow was removed from his position and replaced by Robert Geddes, whom we trust to act more responsibly. But how much damage is done before there is enough evidence to justify replacing a rogue in such a position? It is clear that Idaho laws are not sufficient to give necessary guidelines and transparency to protect taxpayers. So far, legislative leaders have not been willing to take strong action. Citizens should insist upon it.
Representative Shirley Ringo
1021 Herrington Road
Moscow, Idaho 83843