Wiseman Castigates City Leadership; Hedquist Apologizes, Says Other Council Comments Would Be ‘Gay Garbage’
Sam Wiseman allegedly assaulted the wife of the Casper City Manager during a council meeting two weeks ago, then vowed to never attend another council meeting after the district attorney declined to prosecute.
Tuesday, Wiseman not only attended, but spoke and castigated the council and City Manager John Patterson and his wife Cindy.
He referred to council's approval on May 5 of an amendment to allow the city to cover punitive damages in civil lawsuits against its contract employees -- city manager, city attorneys and municipal judges.
Acting City Attorney Judy Studer said the amendment would codify what already exists in state law about the city's ability to pay for punitive damages.
Critics said it directly affected Patterson, and would put city taxpayers on the hook if he lost a federal civil lawsuit filed council member Craig Hedquist. Patterson allegegly retaliated against Hedquist for freely speaking about city management after his election in November 2012, according to the lawsuit.
One critic, former council member Keith Goodenough said the council should have tabled the proposal to seek other legal opinions.
Others criticized the council for putting the amendment on the consent agenda that precluded public comment.
Those who opposed the amendment left in a group. They were standing in the lobby outside the council chambers when Cindy Patterson exited the restroom and began taking pictures of those in the group.
Then it all went nuts.
Cindy called John, saying she was being harassed. John came into the council chambers to yell that his wife had been assaulted.
"Unhappily, for poor Sam Wiseman, he fell afoul of Madame Patterson's too proximate photo-detective-like approach in her zeal to garner evidence of who it was that might be among those persons vocal in the public who would have the temerity to attempt to thwart Team Patterson's victory triumph or to rain on their parade," he said.
Wiseman had never made any comment in any council meeting, but he wound up being the object of a criminal proceeding that was later dropped.
"Not a single council member inquired as to what had happened outside the council chambers," he said. "Only Mrs. Patterson and Mr. Wiseman had been present in the 500-square-foot city hall antechamber. No one asked what happened."
Instead, council went along with John Patterson's loud declaration that his wife had been assaulted, he said.
"An apology is due from the council to me. I thank you for the time you have allotted to me, and I hope I have made myself clear," Wiseman said.
Hedquist was the first and only one to apologize.
"If anybody should understand how this operates, it's me," Hedquist said.
"I won't say anything against anybody else here, but I should have way known better, so I completely apologize," he said.
Wiseman thanked Hedquist, who wasn't done.
"There is no reason that anybody shouldn't be able to say what ever they want because that is part of the Constitution. All this other gay garbage that you guys want to do is a joke," Hedquist said.
Several council members told Wiseman they were not involved in the incident and the subsequent investigation, and therefore had nothing to apologize for.
Daniel Sandoval noted the irony of the drama as a result of council's voting to adopt the punitive damages amendment to city employee contracts.
"A lot of the Patterson detractors would like nothing more than to see him go," Sandoval said.
Yet the city's employment contract as it was written essentially kept Patterson as a contract employee, he said.
"We were actually doing his detractors a favor," Sandoval said. "And I just find it ironic that we came under such fire. It's an example of feeling instead of thinking, because if you thought it through, we're giving a lot of the critics exactly what they want because now he can leave."