Local newspaper sues Juneau County for records
The Juneau County Star Times has filed a lawsuit alleging the County has broken the State’s Open Records law by withholding bills submitted to an insurance company by Sheriff Brent Oleson’s attorney Michele Ford. The newspaper had requested bills from Ford related to the Lieutenant Jeremy Haske employee disciplinary hearings. According to court documents, Ford was assigned the Haske matter in late 2008. There were no invoices issued in 2008 and her law firm had not sent out a bill yet in 2010. Four copies of invoices providedto the Star Times dated in 2009 totaled almost $30,000 in legal services and fees. The invoices had been blacked-out to exclude information that Ford considers privileged client/attorney information. Star Times Editor Chris Walker says the paper believes the County is holding back on providing billing information. The County has 40-days to respond. Walker said the newspaper will continue to pursue the lawsuit and continue to cover the costs of the haske hearings as fairly as possible and provide some openness to the Juneau County taxpayer.