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Old veterans may remember that the World War II battle for Iwo Jima in the Pacific stretched for 33 days. But in Utah this week, the battle of the American Legion vs. lobbyists and state officials lasted less than 24 hours.

And the Legion came out largely victorious. It accepted a peace offer of bigger space and continued free rent in the basement of the Utah Capitol — if state officials proceed with plans to rent the organization's current office to lobbyists for an expansion of their posh hideaway.

The office of Gov. Gary Herbert issued a news release essentially declaring peace with honor, and a quick end to a potentially embarrassing conflict.

It started on Monday when the Capitol Preservation Board — consisting of legislators and other state elected leaders — voted 7-1 to try to find ways to expand space now rented by the Capitol Hill Association of lobbyists, including trying to get the American Legion to move out of its adjacent free-rent space.

The trouble was, preservation board staffers had not talked to the Legion about that possibility before they discussed it and voted on it in their public meeting. They said they wanted to see first whether the board had any interest in allowing expansion of lobbyists' space.

The Legion first learned of the issue in a call for reaction from a Salt Lake Tribune reporter. Legion officials were upset they had not been consulted, and did not want to move.

Legion adjutant Greg Rowley noted the Legion had been there since the 1920s, and ran Boys' State, Girls' State, Legion baseball and the Legion's 98 posts in the free office space with three employees. He said the state pressured it into buying $30,000 worth of furniture during recent Capitol renovation, which was another reason to remain.

But after a meeting with preservation board officials on Tuesday, Rowley said, "We were satisfied that if we are going to move, they were going to give us actually more space — so certainly I was amenable to it."

He added, "It would be about 150 feet from where we currently are, where they had some of the state police dignitary unit."

Rowley said, "Nobody likes to move," but "if we can pretty much get everything just like it was, we really can't argue about it. I think the Capitol is being fair. We're not one to cause trouble."

Rowley adds that the preservation board staff told him that "this is not a done deal. Lobbyists would still need to agree to certain things. But from our standpoint, what they showed me as alternative space would be acceptable."

The news release from the governor's office noted that while government agencies are located throughout the Capitol complex, private organizations that pay for the office space are also accommodated if possible. The American Legion has been granted free office space at the complex since 1921.

Jodi Hart, president of the Capitol Hill Association of lobbyists, says her group pays about $40,000 a year to rent its present suite. It is a posh place where lobbyists can bring legislators and others for meetings, and have places to work, make calls, eat or watch TV.

She told the preservation board that her group "has run out of space" for its current 35-member lobbying groups — who pay $4,500 per organization to join, and about $1,000 per person in annual dues — and has a waiting list of six groups that want to join.

The association originally proposed expanding into storage space next to its suite to add a few more conference rooms.

But state employees say they need that storage space, and instead suggested allowing expansion into the American Legion suite.