OLYMPIA - The Port of Olympia must pay about $56,000 in legal fees and costs to activists who sued for records related to a contractual agreement to bring Weyerhaeuser's log-export business here a few years ago, a judge ruled Friday.
A larger issue over penalties the port might pay in the case still is pending. But Thurston County Judge Richard Hicks awarded the $56,252.57 to Eve Johnson and Walt Jorgensen related to their earlier victories in appellate court.
Friday’s court decision stems from two lawsuits filed in 2006 that requested records regarding the port’s agreement with Weyerhaeuser to move its log-export business to the port’s marine terminal from Tacoma. One lawsuit was filed by activist Arthur West; the other was filed by the League of Women Voters and Jorgensen. The two lawsuits later were consolidated, port attorney Carolyn Lake said Friday. She added that the League of Women Voters no longer is an official party in the suit. Johnson and Jorgensen could not be reached Friday.
“We will adhere to the court’s decision,” port Executive Director Ed Galligan said. Galligan, hired as executive director after the agreement with Weyerhaeuser, said the port no longer holds back any records.
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“Our position is to release everything,” he said, adding in a voice mail message, “I’ll be glad when all of this is behind us.”
Hicks also ordered West to pay $820 to Johnson and Jorgensen and their attorney, former Supreme Court justice Phil Talmadge. That is on top of what the state Supreme Court already ordered him to pay.
The Court of Appeals had found West’s motions and actions in a parallel records case pursued by West amounted to “frivolous conduct.” The state Supreme Court in May ordered West to pay $5,367 to Johnson and Jorgensen for their additional costs of preparing for a possible Supreme Court case.
West first said after the hearing that he would “never pay” the sanctions, then said he would pay “the full amount.” He also said he thinks the port might owe penalties for initially withholding documents that could be far more than that.
In granting Talmadge fees, Hicks denied a request for additional fees in the amount of about $120,000 that Talmadge also had sought.