Hedqust Denies Conflict of Interest Allegations
In his first statement to the press since the city of Casper launched its conduct and conflict of interest investigations, Casper City Council member Craig Hedquist denies that he broke state laws or asked for secret construction contract information from the city.
Hedquist did apologize for what he called "unfiltered language" that occurred during a vulgar exchange with a city engineer during a construction meeting in August. The Ward II councilor, however, maintains that he did not use his position as a councilperson to leverage better road construction deals between Hedquist-owned Hedquist Construction and the city.
“The ownership of Hedquist construction was never an issue until I became critical of some of the action and inactions of the city manager and city employees,” Hedquist said. “I’ve always been able to separate my work as a contractor with my work as a city councilman.”
Hedquist broke his silence for the first time in several months on Monday. He told reporters that he feels like "David defending himself against Goliath." Hedquist also noted that he’s mounting that defense with his own money.
“I want the taxpayers to remember – they’re paying the city to do this,” Hedquist said. “So, they might want to think about how the city is spending its money.”
Hedquist is also requesting transparency in a forthcoming contested case hearing against him.
“I believe the public has a right to know how the city has conducted itself in these matters, and I also believe the voters have a right to know how I conduct myself,” Hedquist said. “I hope that, at the end of this hearing, that the city council, the city manager and staff can refocus their attention and money on the citizens of Casper.”
Hedquist attorney Michael Lansing says he doesn’t know when exactly the contested case hearing will take place. He says his firm is waiting for amended documents to be issued by the city and it may be months before both parties move forward.