Bridge Enterprise Trial update 2

Friends of TABOR,

The trial testimony and arguments wrapped up on Tuesday, a day earlier than the time allotted. The “evidentiary” portion of the trial is complete.  Our TABOR Foundation Executive Director, Bob Foland, was present for the morning’s proceedings and I for the afternoon’s.  Our combined report follows.

Judge Michael Martinez expects both Plaintiffs (us) and Defendants to file post-trial briefs, and set a deadline 21 days out.  When Mountain States Legal Foundation files that brief, we will be done with the trial.  From that point, we will have to wait for the Judge’s ruling.  Regarding another case involving a different judge, our lead attorney observed that he is waiting for a ruling a year later.  We don’t know about Judge Martinez’s intentions or workload, so simply have no basis to give you an expected date; just that it probably won’t follow hard on the heels of the final briefs.

The early part of the morning was taken to complete testimony of Plaintiff’s last witness, the engineer from Florida.  As is only fair, the Defense was given its full opportunity to cross-examine the witness.  After that, it was Defendants’ turn to present its witnesses.

The first Defense witness was the contractor who handles or assists the Bridge Enterprise with management and administration.  He explained how his firm had participated.

Lots of time was spent throughout the day by the Defense attorney on minutiae that appeared to Bob and me not to speak to the issues in dispute.  Our attorney rose to object under “Relevance” but the Judge allowed the testimony.  The second witness was a CDOT project engineer; a project manager who has been (is?) assigned to Bridge Enterprise construction projects.  The attorney first had him describe what goes into a bridge inspection to determine a deficiency.  A big chunk of the afternoon was absorbed by Defendants’ attorney going through one bridge inspection report in excruciating detail.  From my perspective, it was an irrelevant line of questioning.  At no point has your TABOR Foundation (or Committee) offered an opinion that bridges don’t deteriorate.  We understand that bridges need maintenance, rehabilitation and eventually replacement.  What is at issue instead is whether the government can break constitutional requirements to accomplish the tasks.

The Defense attorney also called the State Controller (actually just left that post two weeks prior).  The line of questioning revolved around how the supposedly different entities track accounting transfers between them and the affect on the accuracy of the state-wide annual financial reports.

The Bridge Enterprise / CDOT chief financial officer was called back as the final witness.  Defendants’ attorney had him assure the Court that moneys in the Enterprise were spent only on bridges and related costs such as those associated with bonding.


Penn Pfiffner

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