A federal appeals court ruled last week that a U.S. District Court judge was correct in dismissing former Casper City Councilman Craig Hedquist’s lawsuit against the city and two local officials.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling comes nearly five years after Hedquist filed suit against the city, then-City Manager John Patterson and then-City Engineer Andrew Beamer. He alleged Patterson, Beamer and the City Council worked together to unlawfully keep Hedquist’s construction business from participating in city projects.
The suit further alleged Patterson attempted to derail Hedquist’s 2012 political campaign and pushed him into an exchange with Beamer where Hedquist told the then-city engineer, “You f———- going to stand up, b——?”
“We are happy that the city and Mr. Patterson were exonerated,” Mayor Charlie Powell said Wednesday.
Powell said it was unfortunate that both Hedquist and the city had to pay a significant amount in legal fees, but he felt that the city had no other choice. Powell said he never doubted that lawsuit would be dismissed.
“We were placed in a position where we had to defend ourselves,” he said.
A Hedquist attorney was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson dismissed Hedquist’s suit in April 2017 before it was considered by a jury. Johnson concluded Hedquist’s claim of a conspiracy to remove him from office lacked supporting evidence.
Johnson also found that there wasn’t evidence to show that Hedquist’s criticism of the city’s bidding process led to him being barred from obtaining city contracts.
Voters elected Hedquist to serve as a Ward 2 representative on the City Council in 2012. He also owns Hedquist Construction.
While in office, Hedquist was the subject of two city investigations. One found there was evidence he’d violated conflict-of-interest rules stemming from his roles as both a councilman and owner of a construction firm. A second concluded he committed workplace violence by using “fighting words” in his confrontation with Beamer.
Hedquist denied the charges.
In May 2014, the City Council voted to request Hedquist resign over allegations that he violated the city’s code of ethics. However, he remained on the Council until resigning in July 2015.