A lawyer representing embattled Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill has threatened legal action against legislative critics who removed much of her power.
In a letter sent Monday, attorney Robert DiLorenzo claims Rep. Rosie Berger published a libelous report concerning the law that removed Hill as head of the Wyoming Department of Education. He demands she prove eight statements in the paper.
“Should we not hear from you within 10 days, we will take all legal steps necessary to protect the reputation and integrity of our client,” DiLorenzo wrote.
Reached this afternoon, Hill referred questions to her attorney. She did verify the authenticity of the letter.
DiLorenzo did not immediately respond to a phone message. No one answered when a reporter called Berger's home.
The report attempts to explain why lawmakers passed Senate File 104, controversial legislation that transferred many of the superintendent’s duties to a director appointed by the governor. Rep. Tim Stubson said he and several other lawmakers, including House Speaker Tom Lubnau and House Minority Leader Mary Throne, collaborated on the paper.
Stubson said he had no plans to retract the report.
"I don't think the letter should have its intended purpose, which is to silence discussion on these issues," he said.
Stubson released the Hill letter to reporters this afternoon. Hill’s response was disappointing, but not surprising, he said.
“It seems like there has been a number of times where we try to talk policy where the result has been threats and those type of things,” he said.
In a statement released today, Lubnau also indicated he had no plans to back down.
“I will resist any efforts to intimidate any legislator from explaining why they voted on a particular piece of legislation,” he said.
Hill has already sued Gov. Matt Mead, claiming the law violates the state constitution. A judge denied her request to halt the law until the matter could be decided by the courts. The Wyoming Supreme Court agreed last month to hear the case.