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Idaho's Weekly Journal of Local & National Commentary  Week 3014

 

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Boise's Watergate
 University Place and All The Governor's Men

by

 Deep Throat II

 

Chapter 7 - Nolo Conflicto?

 

 

"Givens Pursley sent out four nolo conflictos; Elam & Burke sent out two nolo conflictos.  They not only represented the clients as lawyers, they often sat on the client boards as members and so, in effect, they were simply sending nolo conflicto letters to themselves.  Sort of like solo nolo conflictos."
 -- Deep Throat II

“Both letters were dated January 1, 2001.  It is clear, however, that they were backdated.  Steve Semingson wrote the date “6/1/01” next to his signature on one of the letters."
 
--
Investigative Prince Report

Nolo conflicto means:  no conflict of interest.  Welcome to Miss Quigley’s Latin class 101A.

As the investigative Prince Report stated:

“The UI and UIF incurred over $600,000 in legal fees and costs related to the Project.  They engaged the services of three Boise law firms: Givens Pursley, LLP (Givens Pursley), Elam & Burke, P.A. (Elam & Burke), and Hawley Troxell Ennis and Hawley, LLP (Hawley Troxell). The work performed by Hawley Troxell was limited in scope, while the work by Elam & Burke and Givens Pursley was substantial.  The legal representation raised a number of concerns, including whether the law firms had a conflict of interest in representing the UIF; whether there was confusion as to which law firm (if either) was acting as the UIF’s “advocate;” whether Eiguren as a lobbyist, attorney, and UIF Board member had a conflict of interest; whether proper procedures were followed in dealing with the various conflicts; and whether the UI, as a separate entity from the UIF, should have had independent counsel.”

            Under the general American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct and, more specifically, under the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct (IRPC), representing two clients at the same time is not, in and of itself, unethical or a conflict of interest.  The general rule on conflicts is simple: no simultaneous representation unless (1) both clients consent, and (2) representation will not adversely affect the relationship with either client.

Those of you who are red-hot attorney types and want to review the five basic rules of the IRPC – Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct -- regarding nolo conflicto can flip to Appendix B and torque your brains.

             In this chapter, Nolo Conflicto, we will look at the chronology of the major events comprising, or related to, possible conflicts of interest.  The reason it is important to review the sequence of related events involved in conflicts of interest is because one must look at the entire forest, not just the trees, in order to put all the conflicts of interest into proper perspective.

             For example, driving a car through a red light is not, in and of itself, a criminal offense.  It’s a minor traffic violation.  But driving a getaway car through a red light while speeding away from a $136 million bank robbery is a criminal offense because driving through the red light is part of the entire act of robbing the bank.  The driver is guilty of participating in the bank robbery, not just a minor traffic violation.  One must look at the big picture to see intent.

             Nolo conflicto in Boise’s Watergate scandal revolves around two general types of conflicts:  (1) individuals sitting on multiple committees, commissions, boards, and agencies whose decision-making functions put them in a position of a possible conflict of interest, and (2) legal representation by law firms and lawyers who may have a conflict of interest by representing two or more adversarial clients at the same time.  Some individuals in Boise’s Watergate fiasco fell into both categories (1) and (2).

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