January 6, 2011 |

Hess to seek administrative appeal

Karen Hess will pursue her appeal of last fall’s municipal election as an administrative appeal instead of a civil suit.

"We filed an administrative appeal and my understanding is that the borough has a certain amount of time, or their attorney does, to respond to that brief, and my attorney told me it could go into February," said plaintiff Hess, who unsuccessfully challenged Greg Goodman as a write-in candidate in the October Haines Borough Assembly election. "That’s the last communication I had with him."

Hess has maintained Goodman did not meet borough residency requirements for a seat on the assembly.

Her attorney, Z. Kent Sullivan of Baxter, Bruce & Sullivan in Juneau, was out of the office this week and did not respond to a message left for comment. Sullivan’s last filing listed in an online court docket was a Dec. 23 "stipulation regarding procedure and briefing schedule."

"It could have went administrative appeal, or it could have went as a full, civil case," Hess said. "It went administrative appeal, and it’s basically appealing the borough when it investigated (Goodman’s) residency. We ended up going that way."

Borough attorney Brooks Chandler also was unavailable for comment, due to a death in his family.

Chandler sent a memo dated Dec. 16 to borough manager Mark Earnest following a status hearing the previous day.

"The Plaintiff amended her complaint on December 9 to drop the damages claim against the Borough," Chandler wrote. "The only remaining claim against the Borough is being treated as an administrative appeal for which our exposure to damages will be limited to the plaintiff’s attorney fees … It appears the plaintiff is prepared to put that portion of the complaint seeking damages against Mr. Goodman on hold pending the outcome of the administrative appeal."

Both Earnest and borough clerk Julie Cozzi said they had not yet been updated on the suit after the holidays.

Under one sample timeline Chandler outlined in the memo, briefing "would be completed by the end of February with a decision being issued (hopefully) by April 1."