At Tuesday night’s candidate’s forum Carol Austerman misrepresented the facts when she accused Louise Stutes of having sued the Borough shortly after being elected to the Assembly, which action Ms. Austerman then went on to equate with a lack of fiscal responsibility on Ms. Stutes’ part, supposedly because the lawsuit cost the Borough a good deal in legal fees and costs.
Ms. Austerman is flatly wrong in both her facts and her logic.
Facts: Ms. Stutes never sued the Kodiak Island Borough. In the fall of 2007 she was named a defendant, along with Mayor Selby and six other assembly members, in a lawsuit which I filed in order to force the assembly to comply with a provision of the Borough Code (which required the assembly to vacate the seat of any member who had missed one-half of all regular assembly meetings in a six month period.)
Ms. Stutes and two other assembly members correctly concluded that the chances of the Borough prevailing in that lawsuit were minimal. Accordingly, they did not oppose it. They did not “sue the Borough” as Ms. Austerman has claimed.
Mayor Selby and the four other assembly members unsuccessfully opposed the lawsuit I filed and thereby caused the Borough to incur roughly $50,000 in fees and expenses. Those expenses would have been avoided if the mayor and majority of the assembly had demonstrated the same degree of common sense and fiscal responsibility as Louise Stutes.
Bottom line: Ms. Austerman needs to ger her facts straight.