Neither the state district attorney nor the Haines Borough will investigate a complaint that the assembly acted improperly when it voted against seating former assembly member Diana Lapham on the borough’s Port and Harbor Advisory Committee.

A complaint authored by residents Don Turner Jr. and Terry Pardee and signed by 15 residents was received by the borough Jan. 18. A request to borough police to have the matter pursued as a criminal charge was dated Jan. 25.

In a two-page letter to borough police chief Heath Scott on Feb. 3, district attorney James Scott made short business of the question.

“As we discussed before you forwarded the materials related to this claim, it is difficult to imagine a set of circumstances where law enforcement and prosecutors should proceed with more caution. It should not come as a surprise that convicting elected officials of a crime for actions taken in their official capacity, while on the record at a public meeting, would be unprecedented,” the district attorney wrote.

Lapham’s complaint suggested that her rights were violated because she was rejected for the committee due to her involvement with a discussed lawsuit by former manager Bill Seward against the borough. Assembly member Margaret Friedenauer mentioned the lawsuit during discussion of the Lapham appointment.

“I do believe that a member of the community that is actively raising funds and advocating to sue or to advocate potential litigation against the borough cannot serve in the best interest of the borough,” Friedenauer said.

In his response to police, prosecutor Scott said there was only one section of criminal law that might apply to the matter.

“Assuming only for the sake of argument that (Lapham) was deprived of a right within the ambit of the statute, the state would have to prove that one or more of the votes cast against her were cast for the reason the complainants suspect, as opposed to (and to the exclusion of) any other legitimate reason for casting the vote,” the prosecutor wrote.

The prosecutor said it would be “unethical” to pursue criminal action against assembly members without evidence that votes were cast in an improper manner.

The complaint by residents also asked the Haines Borough attorney to investigate whether assembly members acted unethically. The borough’s attorney replied that he works at the direction of the borough assembly.

A letter to Turner this week signed by Mayor Jan Hill and Interim Borough Manager Brad Ryan said, “We have determined that it is not in the best interest of the Haines Borough to investigate the allegations of this complaint… Borough funds and the time and efforts of our citizens and staff are better directed to look forward to a number of issues facing our community.”

At Tuesday’s assembly meeting, Friedenauer questioned why Hill had not yet issued a response to the complaint, saying delays were unfair to the complainants and to accused assembly members.

“I’m sick of waiting to hear what you’re going to do about it. We’ve waited 15 days since you got it and we waited before then. I’m not taking it against you personally. I’m very upset by it, which means they won. The 15 people who signed the complaint won,” Friedenauer said.

That the matter was forwarded to the district attorney was “insulting,” Friedenauer said.

Messages left for Mayor Hill Wednesday afternoon were not returned. Reached this week, Turner declined to comment.