Craig Hedquist Defaults On Casper Construction Projects; Company Dissolved
K2 Radio News has learned that businessman and former Casper City Council Member Craig Hedquist has decided to dissolve his contracts with the city.
City Manager Carter Napier confirmed the information in a phone call Wednesday night.
Likewise, Vice Mayor Charlie Powell said Wednesday that Hedquist Construction, Inc., essentially has gone under and defaulted on a series of contracts, and those issues go back several months.
“I take no pleasure in seeing the guy suffer,” Powell said. “It’s a sad thing because he’s done a lot for the community.”
Hedquist did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Casper City Council dealt with two of those contracts at its meeting Tuesday.
The city entered an agreement with Hedquist’s insurer United Fire and Casualty Company and Powder River Construction, Inc., to complete the Robertson Road South Parkway along the west side of Robertson Road from the bridge over the North Platte River to the Green Valley Mobile Home Subdivsion.
The city entered the contract with Hedquist Construction in June 2017.
On May 21, Hedquist defaulted on the project, the insurance company offered Powder River Construction to complete the project. The remaining amount for the project was $143,579.
Likewise on May 21, Hedquist voluntarily relinquished the remaining work on the K Street Improvements Project, which was contracted in March. This project included mill and overlay asphalt surface, pipe replacement and street light replacement on K Street from Kimball to Grant streets and from Wolcott to Center streets.
The insurance company hired 71 Construction to finish it. The remaining work for this project was $591,260.
The apparent demise of the construction company marks the latest episode in Hedquist’s relationship with the city.
Hedquist was elected in November 2012 to represent Ward II, and resigned in July 2015 when Powell was mayor.
The resignation ended a nearly three-year series of disputes among Hedquist, other council members, some city staff members, and former City Manager John Patterson.
Other disputes included alleged conflicts of interest by Hedquist and his company’s contracts with the city and several federal lawsuits.
According to several federal lawsuits, Patterson allegedly tried to retaliate against Hedquist after criticisms over a land deal during the summer of 2012. Patterson then met with city council candidates to try to thwart Hedquist’s election.
In the summer of 2013, Patterson asked former Police Chief Chris Walsh, now a council member himself, to conduct an illegal search of Hedquist’s background as part of a political vendetta.
Walsh initially declined. The database requires law enforcement agencies to comply with laws, specifically the Driver Privacy Protection Act, that require subscribers use it for actions such as protecting against fraud; investigating matters related to public safety; or acting on behalf of federal, state or local courts.
But Walsh later asked a police department employee to conduct a search that resulted in a report with personal and business information, and information about relatives, associates and neighbors. Walsh and Patterson talked about the results of the search, according to a lawsuit against Walsh.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson dismissed that lawsuit against Walsh in April. In May, Hedquist appealed that decision to the Denver-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.