Casper City Council Approves Legal Counsel Agreements for Hedquist Conflict of Interest Investigation
Casper City Council approved several outside legal agreements on Tuesday night related to a forthcoming conflict of interest investigation into councilman Craig Hedquist.
Councilors unanimously agreed to retain Casper attorney Judith Studer as substitute legal counsel when the body discusses future developments regarding the upcoming investigation.
Council also agreed to hire the firm of former councilor Kathleen Dixon to conduct the investigation itself – Dixon’s firm, Dixon & Dixon conducted the initial investigation into Hedquist’s conduct. Tuesday’s approval essentially launches the second investigation.
Casper mayor Kenyne Schlager says both agreements are essential.
“Our city attorney is unable to represent all of council in this situation – he is conflicted out, therefore, we have to have outside legal counsel,” Schlager said.
Hedquist, who owns Hedquist Construction, a firm that does road work for the city, is accused of harassing city engineer Andrew Beamer about compensation for additional work done by his company at a Hedquist work site.
Hedquist, during the August construction progress meeting, reportedly asked Beamer if he was “… f—ing going to stand up, b—h? Are you going to start paying?” Beamer, per the Dixon & Dixon report, says Hedquist had a “challenging type of look” during the altercation.
Beamer, according to investigation documents, made a legal recording of the meeting.
Dixon’s firm, according to a memo in the packet for Tuesday’s meeting, will charge the city up to $440 an hour – that figure includes rates for partners, associates and paralegals.
Dixon & Dixon will charge the city a discounted rate of $175 an hour for Kathleen Dixon’s services, $200 an hour for Patrick Dixon’s services and $65 an hour for paralegals.
Studer’s firm will charge up to $670 an hour – $220 an hour for Studer, $200 an hour for firm partners, $150 an hour for firm associates and $100 an hour for paralegals.
Schlager says council will likely pay for the legal services through either a council fund for incidental expenditures or possibly the general fund.