For nearly a year Casper City Councilman Craig Hedquist has been battling the City of Casper and City Manager John Patterson over conflict of interest issues. City Council voted to ask Hedquist to resign from office, but he refused saying the whole process was a sham. Now, he says he’s convinced the city is out to get him.
Michele Hedquist, Craig Hedquist’s wife, says, "It is affecting me. It is affecting me personally. You feel like you, I don’t' want to say personally attacked, but it feels that way."
When Craig Hedquist’s wife Michele drove by Aryon Lane Recently she saw something she never anticipated. "I was coming by to show a friend this property here and we own this property and when I drove up here, I saw that the city of Casper had parked and at that point that’s kind when it got emotional for me," Michelle Hedquist said.
Craig Hedquist is suing the city after year-long conflict of interest proceedings, which the couple believes is directory related to what’s happening in front of their property. Casper City Councilman Craig Hedquist says, "I took it as just another jab on the part of the city and another retaliatory type of tactic, which they've used on me since I've been on council, at least most of the time since I’ve been on council."
It started with a taped confrontation over a city project between Andrew Beamer, a city engineer at the time and Craig Hedquist. Beamer now runs the department and Hedquist says it’s no coincidence this is happening now. "I was kind of offended because I know that they know who owns the lots around here," Craig Hedquist says. However, Casper Public Services Director Andrew Beamer says that’s not the case "I knew that that Craig was the original developer, but I can tell you that street supervisor that parked his equipment there, that I did not know about, did not know it was Hedquist cul-de-sac."
City workers started construction Monday to repair 39th street and needed a place nearby to store their equipment. "This is a dead end cul-de-sac with no residential houses currently developed in that cul-de-sac it was a convenient space that was visible so hopefully we did not get any vandalism over the weekend. So it was out of the way of the public, but close enough for us to keep an eye on it."
However, no phone call was made to the current land owners, the Hedquists, to tell them city equipment would be parked in front of their property. "The city knows who owns this property. All they had to do was call me up and let us know they were going to do this," Craig Hedquist said, while Beamer says, "If it's vacant land, no, we don't see how it's negatively impacting the property owner."
Although, the vacant lot is more than just an empty filed to Craig and Michele Hedquist. "If I won't stand up then who's going to. That's been the point I’ve tried to make, if were supposedly the top contractor with all special ins then what other contractor is going to stand up? If they beat me up over this and we won't stand, I’m just worried that they will continue to do it," Craig Hedquist said.
When we asked Councilwoman Kenyne Schlager about these allegations she told News 13 council is “way too busy to engage in that kind of pettiness.” She also feels Hedquist made it personal when he decided to sue the city and city manager. Schlager added since the informal hearing, council and the city are just trying to move forward and focus on the real issues.