BOISE -- Another chapter is unfolding in a battle between former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak and that county. Now, a trial date has been set.
On Wednesday, a U.S. bankruptcy judge said the matter between Bujak and the county will go to trial in early January but also said it might be better for both parties if it doesn't go that far.
The county's complaint
While a bankruptcy judge could forgive former prosecutor John Bujak and his wife's more than $1 million in claimed debt, Canyon County says it should still be paid nearly $300,000 it says its owed from a prosecution contract with the city of Nampa starting in 2009.
In January, the county filed a complaint, saying its owed the money because, among other things, it claims the Bujaks deceived the county in gaining access to the funds, engaged in fraud, misuse of funds belonging to the county, and embezzlement.
The county has a position that the county citizens are going to want their $300,000, so we're going to do everything we can to get that $300,000 revenue that was supposed to come in, to come in, Canyon County Commissioner David Ferdinand said.
Bujak answers complaint
In court documents dated March 1st, the Bujaks answered the county's claims. The former prosecutor admitted he put money from that contract into a trust account. From that account, he admits he transferred more than $300,000 to personal accounts, and used transferred money to pay personal debts.
But in those same documents, he denies the embezzlement, willful injury, fraud, and false representation allegations, among others.
Bujak's wife generally claims a lack of sufficient knowledge of what was going on with the contract to admit or deny most allegations.
Is a trial worth the cost?
Now, the Bujaks and the county's arguments are set for presentation at an early January trial, but the judge told each side it could be costly to take it that far.
County Commissioners say they'll examine that risk with attorneys, but they were prepared for the cost of a legal battle when they filed the complaint.
At this point, we had a pretty good idea of what it was going to cost, so we're certainly going to protect the county in that financial position, Ferdinand said.
Other pending cases forBujak
According to involved attorneys, this legal battle between the county and the Bujaks for the contract money is separate from and not necessarily dependent on the pending bankruptcy proceedings. That case could finish before or after the county's case.
There are other still-pending matters for the former prosecutor. The Latah County Prosecutor and Idaho State Police are still conducting an investigation to decide if criminal charges will be pressed. Also, Bujak has filed a $25 million tort claim against the county saying the commissioners used threats to force his resignation.