For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: March 24, 2010
Wasden Moves to Protect Public School Funding
(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today asked the Idaho Supreme Court to block the renewal of leases on Payette Lake and Priest Lake endowment lands. In documents filed with the court, Wasden argues that the lease rates approved by the Idaho Land Board last week are too low and illegally favor current leaseholders at the expense of public schools, higher education and State Hospital South.
The 355 cottage sites at Priest Lake are located on public school endowment lands. There are 167 cottage sites at Payette Lake. Of these cottage sites, two are located on public school endowment lands, 56 on normal school endowment lands and 109 on state hospital endowment lands.
“The approved plan is flawed because the rent is too low,” Attorney General Wasden said. “These leases were written to favor the current renters at the expense of public schools and other endowment beneficiaries. If allowed to take effect, the new leases will deprive the beneficiaries of six to ten million dollars annually.”
The Land Board has a constitutional duty to manage the lands to “secure the maximum long term financial return to the [trust beneficiaries]” and a statutory duty to “insure that each leased lot generates market rent throughout the duration of the lease.” The Attorney General is asking the Supreme Court to prohibit the Land Board from entering into new leases until the Board adopts lease rates that fulfill those requirements.
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