On June 13, 2017 the Chaffee County District Court dismissed Walt Harder’s lawsuit against the City with prejudice. Based on the dismissal agreement, Harder cannot refile or appeal the case.
On August 11, 2016 Harder originally sued the City, the City Clerk, the Deputy City Clerk, the Mayor and all six of the elected City Councilmembers. He claimed the City Council improperly removed him from the NRCDC Board of Directors in violation of the Colorado Open Meetings Law (COML). He requested that the Court undo the City Council’s decision and place him back on the NRCDC board.
On December 23, 2016 the Court dismissed Harder’s COML claim. The Court ruled that his claim had been improperly joined with unrelated claims that “do not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence nor do they share any question of law or fact common to each other.” The attorneys representing Harder then filed a new lawsuit.
Now, the Court has dismissed Harder’s new COML lawsuit as well. His decision to file a new lawsuit did nothing but run up costs and attorney fees for all those involved. On December 19, 2016 the City divested itself of the NRCDC and, as of that date, had no power to place Harder back on the Board. Nevertheless, he continued to press the litigation.
Addressing his lawsuit with the Mountain Mail on March 29, 2017 Harder said, “It was not my intention to carry it very far, but Jim Miller wanted to run with it. I have not been involved, and I really don’t have a great deal of interest.”
Despite his lack of involvement and interest Harder’s lawsuit — between August of 2016 and dismissal in June of 2017 — cost the City of Salida no less than $21,000.00. Under the terms of the dismissal agreement Harder will not repay the City for any of its incurred costs or fees.
With this COML litigation now behind us, I once again urge the citizens of Salida to set aside the hostility and work together instead on harmonious and productive community goals. As your Mayor, I remain confident about the future of the City and our community.
-Mayor Jim LiVecchi