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Idaho judge keeps broadband fight alive in courts

A judge in Boise kept alive a bitter fight over whether state officials illegally awarded a $60 million contract to build Idaho’s Idaho Education Network broadband system, a decision that puts millions in taxpayer funding in limbo.

Fourth District Judge Patrick Owen on Feb. 25 ruled Syringa Networks can pursue its lawsuit against Idaho’s Department of Administration alleging the agency illegally awarded work to Education Networks of America and CenturyLink.

Owen said Syringa can’t go after former Department of Administration director Mike Gwartney, who Idaho Supreme Court justices last year said tinkered inappropriately with the contract.

However, Owen said Syringa can seek to demonstrate Idaho under Gwartney’s direction illegally gave ENA and CenturyLink the work.

The federal government hasn’t paid $7 million for the contract since March, fearing it may be voided.


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