Lawsuit Says Commissioners Called Attorney a Computer Hacker
by Shari Dovale
A tort claim lawsuit was filed in Bonner County, Idaho this week alleging two county commissioners slandered an assistant prosecutor by claiming he hacked county computers, giving himself the ability to gather passwords, etc. If true, this could end an attorney’s career, as he would be considered untrustworthy to his superiors, colleagues and clients.
It is being claimed that Chairman Dan McDonald and Commissioner Jeff Connolly, along with Brad Ptashkin (Bonner County Chief Information Officer) retaliated against attorney Dustin Scott Bauer for doing his job advising on legal issues, even though the advice seemed to be unwanted and inconvenient to the Commissioners, etc.
According to the complaint, Bauer gave McDonald and Ptashkin legal advise that imposed unwanted checks and balances on them. Bauer claims in the suit that this caused them to retaliate against him in the form of a defamation campaign.
The allegations include that Bauer was said to have used the computer of Veronica Dixon, wife of State Representative Sage Dixon and paralegal, and that Bauer “somehow caused Sheriff’s Office lT Deputy Marcus Robbins (Robbins) to install a malicious application on my paralegal Veronica Dixon’s computer and that this application did or could penetrate McDonald and Connelly’s computers or accounts.”
As the narrative is told, it is alleged that on at least five occasions, McDonald, Connolly, and/or Ptashkin made statements that Bauer “was a hacker and had hacked McDonald and Connelly’s email accounts and could view and scrape their passwords”.
The retaliation events, as they are called in the complaint, includes dates, times, and locations both inside the county buildings and outside in private settings. From executive meetings to after hours parties, multiple events were documented.
It should be noted that it has been included that on September 9th the 2 commissioners, McDonald and Connolly, attended an event together and discussed this county business with Prosecutor Louis Marshall. This could arguably be a violation of the Idaho state open meeting laws.
lt occurred at an evening barbeque in Sandpoint, ldaho. McDonald and Connelly told my supervisor Prosecutor Louis Marshall (Marshall) that I hacked their computers or accounts utilizing Marcus Robbins and Veronica Dixon’s computer. This accusation against me to Marshall was made informally and verbally at a barbeque social event after hours.
The complaint continues on, with Bauer waiting for evidence of these hacks, but it never materialized:
I assumed Ptashkin would eventually provide some digital evidence or explanation to Marshall regarding these hacks, but this never happened. Over time I grew suspicious that these allegations were manufactured from whole cloth, as absolutely no evidence or explanatory detail regarding the alleged data-breach was tendered to Marshall, Human Resources, other law-enforcement, or to myself.
The lawsuit names several witnesses that appeared to have knowledge of these events, including Clerk of the Court, Michael Rosedale, who just recently told Bauer that Chairman McDonald said that he (Bauer) was a computer hacker.
Chairman McDonald gave us the following statement:
We find most of the accusations to be hearsay and without merit. We are retaining legal council to counter what is clearly not an accurate storyline and one that is missing a great deal of context along with some flat out false accusations.
Once we meet with legal council we will issue a more formal statement.
~Chairman Dan McDonald
We requested other comments, including from Commissioner Connolly, none of which were received before publication.
Bauer is asking for $3,000,000 in damages.
Check back with Redoubt News for updates to this story.
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