Juneau school board candidate weighs in on protective orders, delinquent sales taxes in his past

The Dimond Courthouse in Juneau on Feb. 27, 2017. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)
The Dimond Courthouse in Juneau on Feb. 27, 2017. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

More than 15 years ago, two people asked Alaska courts to grant them restraining orders against a man who is now running for Juneau’s school board. 

Buzard is one of two candidates for Juneau’s Board of Education who has been accused of harassing people in the community. But, in his case, neither of those restraining orders were granted. 

Thom Buzard

Both happened during his time working for Wright Services, the property management company. The first was a coworker, named Robert Nicks who asked for a protective order in 2004.

In court documents, Nicks said that he had reported Buzard to the borough for allegedly leaving junk vehicles on public property. He said Buzard was retaliating against him, and he said he feared physical injury or death because Buzard carried his gun around with him. 

A judge dissolved the initial protective order and didn’t grant a long-term one. 

Buzard said Nicks was fired and angry about it. 

He also said he is not a criminal. 

“I’m a firearms enthusiast. I own guns. I have a concealed carry permit. If I was a criminal, I would not have a concealed carry permit,” he said.

Nicks lives outside of Alaska now. He said he didn’t want to talk about the incident but he also sticks by his original story. 

In the other protective order request, a woman who lived in one of the properties Buzard managed said he was spying on her and making lewd comments while her husband was away at work. A judge didn’t grant that order either. 

Buzard said the woman and her partner were manufacturing drugs in the park. 

“An opportunity came up for us to evict them when they failed to pay their rent one month and we jumped on that,” he said. 

He said she filed for that protection order after getting the eviction order. That woman also appears to have left the community; she didn’t respond to any messages seeking more information about the incident.  

Buzard points out that he’s been on both sides of the state’s protective order process. In a more recent case, he was granted an order against a man who threatened his family with violence. 

“What I would like people to know is that — number one — I’m glad that the law is in place. But there’s two problems, one is that the law does not require enough proof to issue even a temporary restraining order,” he said. “The second problem is that if it’s granted — the restraining order — it’s only good for one year. It should be good for five years.” 

Buzard also had a run-in with the city after he fell behind on his sales taxes and ended up owing thousands of dollars. 

“When I bought the pest control company, it was a one-man show and I was on my own,” he said. “I had a really difficult time keeping up with all of the paperwork stuff — and I tried. I was behind and I just could not get it together. It’s not really my forte.”  

He ended up owing the city nearly $12,500; he and his wife set up a payment plan. Now, he said, they pay their taxes every 30 days.   

“We’re never late,” he said. “My wife has got it all handled under control. That’s why she runs the business because she’s so much better at the administrative side than I am.” 

Court records show that the judgment was paid off in 2017. Buzard said he was frustrated by the situation because he and his wife thought the agreement was with the city and wouldn’t end up in court unless they fell behind on their payments. But that turned out not to be the case. 

As a school board member, Buzard would be helping with the school district’s budget process. When asked what he learned from the situation he said: “Keep your paperwork current. Don’t let things fall behind, fall by the wayside. Make the time necessary to get it done in a timely manner, always.” 

Buzard and seven other people — including two write-in candidates — are in the running for three open school board seats. 

In this vote-by-mail election, voting is happening now. For people who prefer to vote in person, election day is Oct. 5.

Rashah McChesney

Daily News Editor, KTOO

I help the newsroom establish daily news priorities and do hands-on editing to ensure a steady stream of breaking and enterprise news for a local and regional audience.

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