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Hart's payment over log theft leaves state puzzled

Published on November 2, 2010 3:01AM

Last changed on November 2, 2010 5:00AM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A northern Idaho lawmaker accused of stealing timber from state endowment land several years ago promised last month to pay for the wood, and he did.

But the state doesn't quite know how to handle the check from Republican state Rep. Phil Hart.

Hart cut the wood from land whose proceeds benefit public schools and had long maintained that he did nothing wrong.

Last month, Hart acknowledged he had erred and sent the state $2,450, the market value of the logs when he took them.

But Hart called the payment a "voluntary donation" to Idaho's public schools endowment. And donations to the endowment are held in perpetuity, only the investment earnings are used to make distributions to schools.

Investments manager Larry Johnson told the Spokesman-Review that Hart's "donation" is somewhat at odds with his public statements that he would pay for the stolen timber.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesmanreview.com

Copyright 2010 The AP.


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