BOCC trespass controversy concludes, District Reports return

By Soncirey Mitchell
Reader Staff

Tensions between the Bonner County commissioners and constituents seemingly eased over the past few weeks, bringing the monthslong controversy over the Jan. 26 trespass of Dave Bowman and Rick Cramer to an end. The April 9 business meeting additionally saw the board unanimously approve a final plat for Whiskey Jack Estates, a boating safety grant and a bid to repaint road markings, as well as reinstate Commissioner Asia William’s weekly District 2 Commissioner Reports in a 2-1 vote.

Bonner County Commissioners Asia Williams, left; Luke Omodt, center; Steve Bradshaw, right.
Photo by Soncirey Mitchell.

In an executive session April 4, Commissioners Luke Omodt, Steve Bradshaw and Williams unanimously voted to accept Rick Cramer’s April 1 appeal to lift his trespass, according to meeting minutes obtained through an April 9 public records request.

Cramer’s attorney, Dan Sheckler of the Coeur d’Alene-based Sheckler Law Office, responded to request for comment on behalf of his client, clarifying that Cramer is now free to attend BOCC meetings in person.

“Mr. Cramer’s criminal citation was never filed with the court, nor was a complaint filed, to my knowledge. There is no pending criminal case in Bonner County Court against Richard Cramer to my knowledge,” Sheckler wrote in an April 9 email to the Reader.

During the same executive session, Williams made a motion to remove the trespass against Bowman, “as it is not appropriate for either party, legal has advised the trespass be removed, and it is not in the county’s best interest to continue with a trespass against Mr. Bowman,” according to the meeting minutes.

Williams’ motion died without a second, though Omodt stated in an April 2 email to the Reader, “The misdemeanor trespassing charge filed against Dave Bowman was dismissed with prejudice.”

Bowman did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Tempers briefly flared during the April 9 regular business meeting when, before moving to approve the consent agenda, Bradshaw went against the chair by giving an unsanctioned speech denying allegations that he threatened Williams in August 2023, resulting in a protection order.

“I just want to clear something up. Those of you that read Saturday’s paper [that] said that I had threatened Miss Williams — I’ll tell you right now, that’s a lie straight out of the pits of hell,” said Bradshaw, referencing the Daily Bee’s article “Judge keeps protection order in place.”

“Miss Williams has never heard me threaten her — she testified to that in court. Mr. Jostlein never heard me threaten Miss Williams. He lied, under oath — that’s between him and the judge.”

In August 2023, County Risk Manager Christian Jostlein informed Williams that he’d overheard Bradshaw make threats against her life, though the exact nature of the alleged threats remain unclear. Williams subsequently filed for a protection order, granted by Judge Justin Julian, which bars Bradshaw from carrying weapons in the county administration building or from interacting with Williams outside of county business.

Julian rejected Bradshaw’s April 5 appeal to lift the protection order.

“Mr. Jostlein lied and may have been financially motivated,” continued Bradshaw, speaking over Omodt’s protests.

In an April 10 email to the Reader, Jostlein stated that he wanted to “reduce the tensions” between county employees but was unsure how to proceed.

“The comments made by Commissioner Bradshaw are unfortunate and unhelpful to resolving the tensions between the elected officials,” wrote Jostlein. “I stand by my testimony. I did not perjure myself. I also did not seek, nor was I offered, any compensation for representing the county in regards to property management. I was seeking official authorization from the commissioners to proceed with ongoing contract negotiations with third party renters/users of county properties, as these duties are not part of my job duties as risk manager.”

The protection order against Bradshaw will remain in effect until Aug. 30, 2024, unless terminated by an additional court order. 

Neither Bradshaw nor Omodt responded to requests for comment by press time. Williams declined to comment.

The final action item of the April 9 meeting, agendized by Williams and titled “regarding the board’s refusing public comment of Commissioner Williams,” passed with surprisingly little discussion given the months of back and forth it represented.

Omodt and Bradshaw voted during the regular Jan. 9 meeting to strike Williams’ weekly Commissioner District Reports — wherein she would recount work done that week and announce upcoming meetings — as they did not believe the information fell under county business. 

Williams has unsuccessfully attempted to agendize these reports under alternative names and, more recently, to relay the information by giving testimony during the public comment portion of the meeting. Ultimately, her supporters in the audience have taken to announcing upcoming events on her behalf

“For the last few weeks my name has been on that public comment sheet and Commissioner Omodt decides that he gets to remove my name,” said Williams.

“Barring the fact that this board continues to remove my items when I place them on the agenda, my only alternative is to give public comment. It is not reasonable or appropriate for the chair to assume that he has the right to deny an individual. We have been advised not to do that,” she later added, suggesting that “If you don’t like that, then allow me to do my District Report as it was before.”

“I stand by my decision that members of the board are not general members of the public, but I can agree with you that there are things that are valuable in what you bring forward,” said Omodt. “I would move to allow Commissioner Williams to agendize her report as she sees fit, with the hope that it has to do with the business of the county.”

Williams seconded the motion, which passed with Bradshaw dissenting.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.