Lawsuit aims to reclaim $250,000 lost by Crapo’s Idaho Senate campaign

A business that borrowed $250,000 from Sen. Mike Crapo’s campaign in 2008 and lost the money has filed a lawsuit aiming to recover the funds and win punitive damages.

In May, Crapo, R-Idaho, said his campaign lost $250,000 from the bad investment. Crapo revealed the loss four years after it occurred and three years after he said he learned of the loan, which was authorized by then-campaign manager Jake Ball.

The lawsuit was filed last month in Ada County’s 4th District Court by BlueberryGuru, owned by Gavin McCaleb, a friend of Ball’s. The money was invested in Nevada and California real estate and Crapo’s filing with the Federal Election Commission says the investors absconded with the funds. Attempts to recover the loan failed, Crapo has said, prompting him to amend his 2008 and 2009 finance reports to reflect the loan and the loss.

Jason Risch, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Blueberry Guru, said his client still hasn’t been able to locate the defendants, Billie Davis Escrow, Pyramid Global Resources, Francine Goldstein and Kyle Barnes. The complaint was filed Sept. 20, three days before the five-year statute of limitations would have expired on such claims.

Risch said the lawsuit was filed “not because we have located the thieves but rather to toll the statute of limitations and preserve my clients’ legal options.  While my client remains committed to locating the responsible parties and holding them accountable, regrettably there is no new news on that front.”

Blueberry Guru’s complaint alleges bad faith, fraud and misrepresentation, conversion and breaches of contract, professional responsibility and fiduciary duty. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and punitive damages in addition to return of the $250,000.

Ball said Crapo gave him the discretion to invest the money. Ball left Crapo’s office shortly after disclosing the loss in 2010. Ball went to work for GOP Congressman Raul Labrador, but resigned in May to work in the private sector.

Also in May, Crapo voluntarily reported the violations of the FEC, hoping to reduce any fine the commission might assess for failing to file accurate reports.

 

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Idaho Politics