By Mike Dunn 

Litigation issues not forum fodder

Saratoga mayor says he was advised to not comment


Mike Dunn

John Zeiger responds to questions at the VSO candidate forums. His no comment reply was met with disapproval from audience members.

Saratoga Mayor John Zeiger has recently been under fire for not commenting on pending and current litigation.

During the Valley Service Organization (VSO) Mayoral Candidate Forum, candidates were asked to respond to the litigation issues the town of Saratoga are facing.

Zeiger declined to comment because of ongoing litigation. Several audience members were noticeably displeased with his reply.

On Monday, Zeiger sent a written statement to the Saratoga Sun on why he could not say more on litigation issues during the mayoral forum on July 29.

In his letter, he said he appreciates the VSO for putting together the recent forums for the voters. However, he was "disappointed that with members of the Valley Service Organization, being both past and present elected officials, they should have known that the Saratoga Town Attorney and/or private council representing the Town is going to advise me, or any Town Council member not to comment on any ongoing, or pending litigation."

He said he had repeatedly been told claims against the town should be litigated and "not in the newspaper".

Extra-judicial comments, Zeiger said, have a way of being misconstrued or misreported. He added the Wyoming Legislature recognizes discussion concerning pending or current litigation is "an exception to the public meetings law".

Zeiger said because of the nature of litigation, and possibility of jeopardizing the town's position, he has been advised these matters are "best left in the courtroom".

Being asked questions about litigation puts him at an "unfair disadvantage" with the other candidates, as Zeiger said the VSO knew "full well that I wouldn't be able to respond in any other way than the way I responded".

The town of Saratoga is currently in the midst of litigation with Saratoga resident Randy Stevens, and is in pending litigation with former town treasurer, and Saratoga mayoral candidate, Lynda Healey.


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