Alaska News

Legislature hires law firm to defend lawsuit over its Anchorage offices

The committee that oversees the Legislature's internal business has approved spending up to $100,000 to defend against a lawsuit challenging the state's lease for remodeled legislative office space in Anchorage.

The $4 million annual lease was challenged last month by an Anchorage attorney, Jim Gottstein, whose building adjoins the Legislature's new offices. Gottstein says his building was damaged during the remodel and contends the state's lease for the legislative office space violates a law that requires payments to be below market rates.

The Legislative Council on Thursday night voted to pay the law firm Stoel Rives up to $100,000 to work on matters related to the Anchorage offices. Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, the council's chair, said afterward that the money would pay for work on Gottstein's lawsuit.

Stevens said a separate meeting of the council is likely to be scheduled for Monday, when it will recommend whether to abandon the lease for the Anchorage office space and move into a state-owned building elsewhere downtown.

Nathaniel Herz

Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He’s been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at ADN and Alaska Public Media. He’s reported around the state and loves cross-country skiing.