Wyoming Legislators Respond to Lawsuit
Leaders of the Legislature's two houses and the Oversight Group on Capitol Restoration have responded to the lawsuit filed by Casper Representative Gerald Gay. The suit charged that the group led by the Governor had violated the state constitution by using No-bid contracts and that some of those contracts had gone to political supporters of the Governor.
Here is that response issued this morning...
STATE OF WYOMING LEGISLATURE NEWS RELEASE
FOR RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: CAPITOL REHABILITATION & RESTORATION OVERSIGHT GROUP, LEGISLATIVE MEMBERS
TO REACH: PHIL NICHOLAS, SENATE PRESIDENT, 307-742-7140 | KERMIT BROWN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, 307-745-7358 | TONY ROSS, OVERSIGHT GROUP ON CAPITOL RESTORATION CHAIRMAN, 307-638-1551
LEGISLATORS RESPOND TO CAPITOL SQUARE PROJECT LAWSUIT
CHEYENNE – Thursday, the Attorney General and members of the Capitol Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group, including the Governor, were served with a lawsuit alleging legal violations in the manner in which the Capitol Square Project has been conducted. The lawsuit also makes assertions regarding the manner in which general contracting practices by the State of Wyoming have been handled.
It is critical to note first, that the complaint states that it “makes no accusations against the recipients of contracts for work related to the Capitol Square Project or for other contracts awarded by the State of Wyoming.” The complaint also states that it does not seek to set aside any contract. The complainants seek a court review generally of contract actions taken by the State.
In regard to the Capitol Square Project, the law directing the management and conduct of the project was passed in 2014 by a vote of 27-3 in the Senate, and 50-10 in the House of Representatives. The legislation was signed by the Governor and duly enacted into law. As with all enacted laws, the law controlling oversight of the Capitol Square Project is presumed constitutional and will only be overturned by the courts upon a clear showing of a constitutional violation.
As a matter of fact, the manner in which contracts have been issued for the Capitol Square Project has been found to be constitutional by the Wyoming Attorney General. The Attorney General publicly issued a formal opinion on Feb. 12, which addressed many of the exact allegations contained in the lawsuit and found the allegedly improper actions were in accordance with the Wyoming Constitution.
This is not the first time we have heard the allegations in the lawsuit. 2016 House Joint Resolutions 10 and 11 contained many of the same allegations. Those resolutions were received for introduction and published on the legislative Website for the world to see. There has been absolutely no attempt to hide activities of the Oversight Group. The Capitol Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group has worked long hours in public meetings, working as best as it can to accomplish a project, within a set budget, that the people of Wyoming will be proud to call Wyoming’s Capitol Building.
Having failed in the political process to derail efforts to accomplish the Capitol Square Project as mandated by law, the plaintiffs to this lawsuit have now turned to the courts to air their alleged grievances. This is certainly their right. However, we trust that the Wyoming judiciary will view these issues in the same manner as have the Wyoming Legislature, the Governor of Wyoming and the Wyoming Attorney General and will find the allegations without merit.