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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Fake immigration agent guilty

From Wire Reports

SEATTLE – Federal officials say a man who preyed on immigrants illegally in the country by impersonating an immigration agent has been convicted of several crimes.

Jose “Panama” Antonio Haughton was convicted Wednesday of second-degree robbery, first-degree theft and seven counts of criminal impersonation. The 37-year-old faces additional charges of first-degree robbery and second-degree rape in King County Superior Court next month.

Prosecutors say Haughton harassed and extorted a woman’s family over several weeks in 2012, culminating in her rape.

City sued over meeting law

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – A complaint has been filed against the city of Twin Falls contending that officials have been violating the state’s open meeting law.

Openness in Government emailed the complaint Tuesday to Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs, who said he will start investigating on Dec. 1, the Times-News reported.

“I intend to follow up on it,” he said. “I’ll take it seriously.”

The group’s president, Betsy Russell, said Twin Falls officials have been circumventing state laws by using 14 subcommittees that meet in private and make recommendations on city finances and open city positions.

“The Open Meeting Law applies to a subagency if it has ‘the authority to make decisions for or recommendations to a public agency regarding any matter.’ These City Council subcommittees clearly fit that definition,” Russell, a Spokesman-Review reporter, wrote in the complaint.

Councilwoman Rebecca Mills Sojka submitted a resolution to open the meetings, but the council voted 4-2 on Nov. 13 to keep the subcommittees closed.

Twin Falls Mayor Greg Lanting said complying with the open meeting law would require the city to hire an additional staff member to take notes for the 14 subcommittees. Russell disagreed, noting one member of each subcommittee could take minutes.

“This would not require the hiring of a city employee,” she said. “Besides, there is no exemption in the law for those who believe compliance would be inconvenient.”

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