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Awards and Damages 

The Spokesman-Review is sued. Plus, a recount at the Riverside School District.

click to enlarge Nicholas Deshais
  • Nicholas Deshais

Flame Wars

The chairwoman of the Kootenai County GOP is subpoenaing a Spokesman-Review blog for the identities of commenters who she alleges libeled her.

A lawsuit filed by attorneys for Tina Jacobson last week alleges that a commenter on the Huckleberries Online blog under the moniker “almostinnocentbystander” wrote that Jacobson had stolen $10,000 from the Republican Central Committee.

The lawsuit states that Jacobson was “offended and embarrassed” by the comment, and asked the Spokesman to turn over the identity of the commenter. They refused.

“I think anybody that makes a defaming libel comment is libel as a matter of law,” says Jacobson’s attorney, C. Matthew Andersen. “Accusing someone of being a thief is recognized as being a libelous and defaming comment.”

Andersen would not specify what kind of damage to her reputation Jacobson has suffered as a result of the comment. D.F. Oliveria, who manages the blog that covers Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai County, deleted the comment after it was published.

Once the identities of the commenter are revealed, Andersen says he plans to seek at least $10,000 in damages. An attorney for the Spokesman did not return a call for comment. (Chris Stein)

Zehm Coverage Recognized

The Inlander is pleased to announce that former staff writer Nicholas Deshais is a finalist for journalism’s prestigious Livingston Award. Deshais was nominated on the strength of an Inlander cover story about (now former) Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi and his role in the Otto Zehm case. He is one of 41 finalists for the prize, which is given each year to three journalists under the age of 35 for local, national and international reporting across print, broadcast and

online platforms (making it one of the most competitive contests in American journalism). This year’s contest was judged by ABC News foreign affairs anchor Christiane Amanpour, former World News anchor Charlie Gibson and New Yorker media critic Ken Auletta.

Deshais left The Inlander in March to pursue freelance writing and continues to contribute to the paper. He’ll find out if he made the final cut on June 6. (Joel Smith)

But For a Few Votes

Depending on how an upcoming recount goes, Riverside School District could lose $3 million — nearly 22 percent of their operating revenue.

Last February, nearly every school district in Spokane County passed its levy, allowing them to maintain funding that, increasingly, is used to pay for daily operations.

Yet, two small rural districts — Deer Park and Riverside — didn’t pass their levies.

With the April special election, both districts got one more chance to pass their levies. Deer Park passed its easily. But Riverside School District, despite reducing their requested levy rate, squeaked by with a mere 11 votes.

So now, Riverside School District voter Leonard Terzenbach has shelled out the $1,083.25 (25 cents per ballot) to pay for a recount.

But Riverside Superintendent Roberta Kramer isn’t worried.

“I’m confident,” she says. “In November there were two recounts. One was with 10,000 ballots. One was for 27,000 ballots. They only had a one-vote change, for each of those.”

With only about 4,300 ballots in the Riverside School District election, she doesn’t expect much of a swing. (Daniel Walters)

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