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Judge delays biz owner’s lawsuit over corporate welfare

Judge delays biz owner’s lawsuit over corporate welfare

Dustin Hurst
July 21, 2016
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July 21, 2016

George and Mary Gersema will have their day in court — eventually.

The Gersemas, who own and operate Boise-based human resources firm Employers Resource, will return to court in early August after District Judge Samuel A. Hoaglund delayed the first hearing, originally set for Wednesday.

Hoaglund postponed the hearing because the Gersemas’ attorney, Christ Troupis, petitioned the court to file an amended complaint to further detail the case against the state.

The Gersemas sued the Idaho Department of Commerce and its director, Megan Ronk, just months after the agency awarded a $6.5 million income, sales and payroll tax break to Illinois-based Paylocity, a human resources firm competing directly with Employers Resource.

The state responded by filing a motion to dismiss the case.

Troupis had previously filed the amended complaint but may not have given proper notice to the state prior to the hearing. The state did not respond to the altered filing.

The state’s attorney, Deputy Attorney General Carl Withroe, told Hoaglund he saw the complaint but didn’t respond because Troupis didn’t provide proper notice. Still, Withroe added, the state will continue to push the court to dismiss the suit, despite the changes to the original complaint.

Troupis did not describe the nature of the changes to the complaint but promised to deliver a copy of the filing to IdahoReporter.com.

Hoaglund set the dismissal hearing for Aug. 2 at the Ada County Courthouse. The judge said he preferred to delay the hearing to gives both sides adequate time to study and respond to the altered complaint. Otherwise, he intimated, the suit could eventually be thrown out on a technicality.

If the Gersermas and Employers Resource prevail in the case, it could put an end to a corporate welfare program in its infancy. State lawmakers passed the Tax Reimbursement Incentive law in 2014, and Department of Commerce officials have since used it to cut deals for companies to bring jobs to Idaho. Dow Chemical, SkyWest Airlines, Amy’s Kitchen and Glanbia, among others, have all received generous tax breaks through the program.

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