Eye On Boise

Hart lawyer: It's really just a donation

Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, has clarified to the state Endowment Fund Investment Board that a check he recently sent for $2,450 to the state's public school permanent endowment fund is just a donation - not a payment on an outstanding judgment Hart faces for illegally logging timber from school endowment land in 1996 to build his log home in Athol. In a letter dated Nov. 4 and received at the endowment fund office today, Hart's attorney, Robert Romero, wrote, "Please accept the cashier's check referenced in  your letter as a voluntary donation from Mr. Phil Hart on behalf of the Idaho State Public School Permanent Endowment Fund."

It makes a difference - payments for timber on state endowment lands go into an earnings reserve fund, from which direct payments to schools go out every year; donations to the permanent endowment are held in perpetuity; only their investment earnings are distributed. The response means Hart's payment falls into the latter category.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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