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Public Safety Center to be back on track, Judge Gilbert dismiss Koopman lawsuit

Posted at 3:38 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 18:41:25-04

BOZEMAN– Deputy Mayor Chris Mehl has confirmed that the city of Bozeman received word from Judge Brenda Gilbert dismissing the lawsuit over the $37 million Public Safety Center Bond.

Roger Koopman argued the city advocated from the project during the election instead of just educating.

However, the city argued that Koopman could not bring a lawsuit against the city because the court did not have the jurisdiction.

“I mean the voters supported this overwhelmingly, the Commissioner of Political Practices who the state legislature and governor said is the person who should decide this, decided it,” said Mehl. “The ethics board has decided it so at some point we have to move on, move forward. Let’s move forward, build this facility. Make people safer.”

Judge Gilbert agreed with the city stating that the process for this type of complaint must go first to the Commissioner of Political Practice who can then refer it to the County Attorney if there was a mishandling of an election. Both the COPP and the Bozeman Ethics Board previously sided with the city, stating there was no wrongdoing.

“One of the underlining things it is good for Montana that the system worked. There was a complaint to the Commissioner of Political Practices, his staff looked into it. He made a recommendation. There was a complaint to the Ethics Board, they looked into it they made a recommendation. Both of those were to dismiss the case. The judge has no weighed in, three strikes you are out,” said Mehl.

Koopman told MTN the judge acknowledged the case raised issues the Supreme Court has not addressed, which leaves room for an appeal.

“But again, you know, we want to do the right thing here. There are important issues at stake but we need to consider all of our options,” he said.

Koopman has 60 days to appeal the decision to the Montana Supreme Court.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News