Judge Dismisses Capitol Square Lawsuit Against Wyoming Governor, Legislative Leadership
A lawsuit over the Capitol Square Project filed last year by former Rep. Gerald Gay and Karl Allred of Evanston against Governor Matt Mead and legislative leaders has been dismissed.
Laramie County District Court Judge Catherine Rogers dismissed the lawsuit Wednesday, according to a news release from the Majority of the Wyoming State Legislature.
The suit claimed that Gov. Mead and legislative leaders improperly awarded contracts for the project, with a price tag of roughly $300 million.
The suit also asked for the courts to examine contracting practices for the project and for the state.
Rogers heard arguments from both sides in late December. During that hearing, Special assistant attorney general Jay Jerde argued that Gay and Allred lacked standing to sue.
Jerde also argued that no separation of powers issue exists, as argued by Gay and Allred. Jerde told the court the Capitol Building Restoration Oversight Group, which oversees the project, is a collaboration between the executive and legislative branches, and therefore neither branch had assumed the other's responsibilities.
Senate President Eli Bebout and House Speaker Steve Harshman lauded Rogers' decision in a statement Wednesday night.
"The State of Wyoming has been planning and saving money for more than 15 years to fund the first ever comprehensive renovation of the Wyoming Capitol," Harshman said.
"This project is important to ensuring public access and participation in the legislative process; addressing critical infrastructure and safety needs; and restoring and preserving Wyoming's 125-year-old Capitol building," Harshman added. The members of the House and Senate are working diligently to complete the Capitol Square Project on time and on budget."
"The Capitol Building Restoration Oversight Group, a collaborative effort between the Governor's office and the Legislature, has worked diligently and faithfully to restore and improve Wyoming's historic Capitol complex for the benefit of Wyoming citizens," Bebout said.
"With this ruling, we move on step closer to the Capitol Square Project's successful completion with one less frivolous distraction," Bebout concluded.