4th District Judge Patrick Owen has issued a ruling on several motions in the Syringa Networks lawsuit against the state Department of Administration over the award of the contract for the Idaho Education Network, and the outcome allows the case to continue to proceed. Syringa had sought to expand its case to include a charge against former state Admin Director Mike Gwartney, and Owen rejected that move; but like the Idaho Supreme Court last March, he ruled that the case can go forward on its key point: Whether or not the contract award violated Idaho state purchasing laws.
Owen’s decision includes a quote from the Supreme Court decision, noting that “All contracts made in violation of [Idaho Code 67-5718] are void and any money advanced by the State in consideration of such contracts must be repaid.” That’s the concern that the FCC has identified in holding up federal e-rate funds that were supposed to pay for three-quarters of the IEN's cost; those funds have been on hold since last March’s Supreme Court decision.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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