Two local news sources have recently published stories on the CORA lawsuit on which the City of Salida spent one-fifth of the $600,000 in legal fees it expended in the previous two years. The Ark Valley Voice put out on Sunday a column on the victory and $20,000 settlement that Tom Bomer received from the City in the Miller-Bomer CORA lawsuit that was filed in 2016 when the City refused to produce two documents, an email and a letter. The AVV article reveals the details of the situation faced by Tom Bomer and Jim Miller as their requests were fought by then City Attorney, Ben Kahn.
To a lesser degree, but encouraging, The Mountain Mail, last Friday and again today, questioned the manner in which the $20,000 settlement was reached and approved by the City. In doing so, the City implicitly acknowledged that Tom Bomer won his claim in a decision of the District Court, citing as its source a March 8th letter-to-the-editor that Tom Bomer wrote to that paper. That decision had been posted in full by One Salida on this site on January 16th. This broke TMM’s two-year silence on the use of executive sessions and the lack of transparency by the City authorizing and approving legal fees.
The procedure used by the City was carefully structured, according to the present Interim City Attorney, Geoff Wilson, a municipal law expert with decades of experience. See his memo to the mayor and city administrator. That the settlement was a good deal for the City has not been questioned. The Plaintiffs accepted about 30% of the legal fees they expended. It was costing the City more to fight than to settle. The AVV article discusses the numbers.