Although Santa Claus should have been busy at the North Pole Friday, he was in Boise clearing a last-minute legal hurdle that threatened to steal Christmas from children in Idaho.

Attorney General Jim Jones and the jolly old man appeared at a Statehouse news conference after Jones' staff rejected a consumer complaint filed early Friday morning by a "Mr. A. Grinch."The complaint alleged Santa Claus had violated the Idaho Consumer Protection Act with his promise to give gifts to good boys and girls. In a written response to the complaint, Grinch's attorney, Snidley Whiplash of Dry Gulch, said his client had always been good and yet had never received a gift.

"I'm pleased to say the complaint is totally unfounded," said Jones, who added "Mr. Grinch has rarely, if ever, been good."

Jones, who holds a similar news conference every year just before Christmas, said Santa Claus once again agreed not to violate Idaho criminal or environmental laws during his annual visit.

"He's been cleared for all traffic patterns over Idaho skies," Jones said.

In the past, Santa has accepted Idaho's request that he feed his reindeer a special feed mixture to avoid leaving a reminder of his visit on roofs.

"It was a very productive meeting," Jones said. "Santa is particularly pleased with the amount of snow we have in Idaho this year and the large percentage of good boys and girls."