Sutherland, Poudre School District legal battle continues

Sutherland, Poudre School District legal battle continues
  1. Sutherland, Poudre School District legal battle continues
    Poudre School District and community activist Eric Sutherland are still in limbo following their Tues. battle in…
    Colorado (CO)
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A quick look at growth in Poudre School District. Sarah Kyle, Valerie Mosley, Alicia Stice

Eric Sutherland looks over documents in court on Tuesday, January 10, 2016. (Photo: Valerie Mosley/The Coloradoan)Buy Photo


Poudre School District and community activist Eric Sutherland are still in limbo following their Tuesday battle in court.

Sutherland and PSD went to the Larimer County Justice Center on Tuesday afternoon for a trial over whether Sutherland was denied due process when his pre-election lawsuit  was thrown out when he failed to pay a requested $8,000 surety bond.

Sutherland's lawsuit alleged that PSD hadn't done enough to inform voters that part of the tax collected for its $375 million bond would go to tax increment financing, or TIF.

On a basic level, the use of TIF means that not all special property taxes with the bonds would go to the district because a portion of tax collected would go toward special urban renewal projects in the area.

Tuesday's trial didn't address whether PSD had done enough to inform voters about the ramifications of TIF, but rather if Sutherland was denied due process when Eighth District Court Judge Stephen Howard dismissed his pre-election contest when Sutherland failed to pay an $8,000 surety bond, which would have helped cover PSD's legal costs if the lawsuit was deemed frivolous.

Eight District Court Judge Thomas French presided over Tuesday's trial but told Sutherland and PSD after arguments were heard that he would not issue an order Tuesday. French said he would issue an order, including whether has the authority to rule on Sutherland's claim of a failure of due process, no later than Jan. 19.

PSD's legal representation, Thomas Snyder and Thomas Isler of Kutak Rock in Denver, said that Sutherland was not denied due process because he chose not to appeal Howard's dismissal of his case.

Sutherland, who represented himself, said that argument was invalid because an appeal would not have had the power to change the ballot language prior to November's election, as it would have …

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