Borough blasts Miller’s request for free legal help

Jill Burke | Oct 21, 2010

The legal fight over records related to Senate candidate Joe Miller’s job history with the Fairbanks North Star Borough continues to get messy. A Fairbanks judge could decide Saturday whether the public’s right to information about Miller’s past job performance outweighs his right to privacy.

Miller has accused current and former borough employees of minor criminal conduct for allegedly leaking information from his personnel file. To date, no evidence has surfaced that the press or its sources have seen Miller’s file. A witness to sanctions once lodged against Miller for an ethics lapse — using borough computers for politicking — has maintained his knowledge of the incident stems from conversations with other borough employees (a former chief of staff and Miller’s supervisor).

On Wednesday, Miller countersued the borough and former borough mayor Jim Whitaker for damages that, Miller claims, he suffered as a result of the “illegal” distribution of information from his file. He also asked the borough to pay his attorneys fees.

On Thursday the borough fired back.

“It is ridiculous to think that a lawsuit clearly arising from Mr. Miller’s ongoing U.S. Senate race ‘arises out of his employment with the borough,'” wrote borough attorney Rene Broker about Miller’s request to have taxpayers fund his legal efforts in the case.

Broker also took issue with accusations that existing borough staff had somehow compromised their integrity. The allegation, she wrote, was “made without a scintilla of evidence.”

Miller’s attorneys have until Friday to file a more in-depth explanation about why they believe access by the press and Alaska voters to Miller’s records should be blocked. Earlier this week, an attorney for Miller told the court that releasing the records would violate privacy protections provided under borough law and the Alaska constitution.