Fairbanks spent $7k defending mayor's $37.50 fine

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) _ The city of Fairbanks has so far spent about $7,000 appealing a $37.50 elections fine leveled on the mayor.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission ordered City Mayor John Eberhart to pay the $37.50 fine in May after concluding he broke a state election law in the October 2013 election by sending an email on his city council email account.

In that email, Eberhart, then a city council member, asked city staff to research resolutions and ordinances sponsored by Eberhart and his mayoral opponent Vivian Stiver. In the eyes of the commission, the records request equaled an illegal use of municipal resources to influence an election.

AP reports the city government is paying for Eberhart's appeal costs because it's obligated, in most cases, to defend public officials who are sued as part of their official duties under the city's indemnification law.

City Attorney Paul Ewers says the city has paid about $7,000 during appeals.