For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: December 7, 2005

Attorney General Concludes Investigation into Christ Church Application for Property Tax Exemption

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today that his office has completed an investigation into the conduct of two representatives of Christ Church in Moscow. Wasden said his office informed Latah County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Thompson that the Attorney General’s Office will not file criminal charges.

Thompson asked the Attorney General to investigate allegations that two representatives of Christ Church, Douglas Wilson and Eric Burnett, committed perjury at a Board of Tax Appeals hearing on November 25, 2002.

“Our prosecutorial review of the findings of the investigation has led us to the conclusion that the allegations made against the representatives of the church are not supported by credible and competent evidence of an Idaho criminal law violation, or of an Idaho tax law violation with criminal penalties, which can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” Criminal Law Division Chief Stephen A. Bywater wrote in a letter to Thompson.

While declining to file criminal charges, the Attorney General has recommended that the matter be referred to the Idaho Tax Commission. “Our investigation has, however, revealed potential questions as to the validity of the ‘non-profit’ status of the Canon Press operation within Christ Church that would be better addressed by the Idaho Tax Commission,” Deputy Attorney General Bywater wrote.

The Attorney General’s Office has released the records of the investigation. Citizens may obtain a copy of the records on compact disc by making a written request addressed to: Public Records Request, Office of the Attorney General, 700 W. State St., P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0010.

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