Bozeman commissioners approve settlement to end Public Safety Center lawsuit

Posted at 1:40 PM, Apr 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 18:19:32-04

BOZEMAN – Monday night, the Bozeman City Commission approved a $22,000 settlement for plaintiff Roger Koopman, who brought a lawsuit claiming officials broke campaign laws around last year’s election to approve the city’s new Public Safety Center.

The commission voted 4-1 in favor of the settlement, with the majority stating that the settlement would be much cheaper than the lawsuit being appealed to the Montana Supreme Court.

City Attorney Greg Sullivan said if Koopman did appeal, the project would be delayed at least a year and increase in cost by at least $2 million.

The only commissioner to vote against the agreement was I-Ho Pomeroy, who said the city did nothing wrong and the three rulings in the city’s favor should be precedent for what the ruling would be if the case ended up at the Montana Supreme Court.

“We cannot be threatened like this,” said Pomeroy. “Other people could have been encouraged to do the same thing and our city is sending a message to those kinds of people. Don’t do that.”

Koopman stated he really did not care whether the city took the settlement or not but that he was prepared to appeal the case. What he did not agree with was that the city did nothing wrong.

“If that kind of tone and that kind of an attitude was present in our original negotiating meetings, I would have ended the meeting because I’m not after being paid for my attorney’s fees. That’s not what is important to me,” said Koopman.

The settlement money will go toward Koopman’s attorney’s fees as well as back to the 25 people who gave to the lawsuit to support his claims.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News