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Idaho May Have to Repay Millions in Broadband Project

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho may have to repay $13.3 million if federal officials determine the state broke contracting rules on a $60 million education broadband project mired in a lawsuit for nearly as long as it’s existed. Department of Administration director Teresa Luna told the House Education Committee that even should Idaho prevail in the legal case, it still could be forced to repay the money that’s gone to the Idaho Education Network. The project is already growing far more expensive than Idaho intended. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter now is asking for an additional $14.5 million, to cover funding he’d expected to come from the Federal Communication Commission. The ongoing lawsuit, filed by Idaho-based telecom provider Syringa Networks in 2009, contends then-Department of Administration director Mike Gwartney inappropriately awarded work to Syringa’s rivals.

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