The Attorney General’s Office is not going to take further action in Jefferson County Public Works Administrator Dave Walrath’s formal complaint about County Commissioner Brian Farnsworth and remarks he allegedly made to county employees prior to the May 15 election.
According to documents obtained by The Jefferson Star, Idaho Code 31-2002 authorizes the Attorney General to conduct an investigation into “any allegation of a violation of state criminal law against a county officer occupying an elective office for violation of state criminal law in his official capacity.”
In order for an investigation to occur, the office must make three threshold determinations: whether the person who is the subject of the complaint is a county officer occupying an elective office; if so, whether the officer in question was acting in his or her official capacity when the actions complained of took place; and whether the acts described in the complaint constitute a potential violation of state criminal law.
The Attorney General’s Office concluded that Walrath’s complaint satisfied the first two threshold requirements, however it did not meet the third threshold due to his complaint failing to allege a violation of criminal law.
The Jefferson Star requested any and all documents pertaining to the complaint May 21, however that request was denied May 22 due to the requested record being part of an active investigation. The Star officially obtained those documents Sept. 4.
Walrath reported three incidents to the Attorney General’s Office regarding comments Farnsworth allegedly made.
He reported that the first alleged incident occurred March 10 at the County Line Landfill.
“Commissioner Farnsworth made a verbal threat to Jefferson County Solid Waste Employee Edmund Anton about the primary election. Mr. Farnsworth told Mr. Anton that there would be hell to pay if he lost the primary election,” Walrath stated in the complaint.
Walrath said Anton told Thomas Goodier of the comment which was reported to him.
The second alleged incident reported occurred sometime in the middle of April at the Road and Bridge Shop.
“Jefferson County Road and Bridge Sign Supervisor, Stacey Field told Shop Supervisor Kerry Romrell that he was told by Commissioner Farnsworth that the proposed Jefferson County employee salary parity raises would not happen if he did not win the primary election,” Walrath reported.
The third and final incident allegedly took place May 3 at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
“Former Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Administrator Naysha Foster was told by current Planning and Zoning employee Ione Hansen that Commissioner Farnsworth told the current Planning and Zoning Administrator (Kevin Hathaway) that he and Commissioner Fred Martinez were planning to fire me (Walrath) and replace me with him if one or both of them lost the primary election.”
Under “additional witnesses and/or sources” Walrath stated that he is friends with Foster and that they “instant message” each other “periodically.”
With that information, the Attorney General’s Office determined that the alleged comments were not sufficient to take further action into the matter.
“Thus, this Office does not have the jurisdiction to further investigate your complaint,” Deputy Attorney General Paul R. Panther stated in the letter to Walrath dated Aug. 25.