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BOISE -- State officials have spent more than a half-million dollars in court defending the firing of the first and only woman to lead Idaho Transportation Department.

The Spokesman-Review reports Idaho's legal bill has so far exceeded $540,400 in the discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Pam Lowe. Both sides confirmed Monday they had reached a settlement in the three-year legal fight.

The Idaho Attorney General's Office said it lacked the resources to handle the case when hiring the Holland & Hart to defend the state against Lowe's claims. She alleged her 2009 firing was a power play to help the governor and his big campaign donors. Lowe also claimed gender discrimination.

Gov. C.L. Butch Otter declined to comment Tuesday on the state's mounting legal tab in the Lowe lawsuit.

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