CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge over how state officials are managing a $300 million project to renovate the state Capitol complex in Cheyenne.
The court unanimously ruled Tuesday that former state Rep. Gerald Gay, of Casper, and Evanston resident Karl Allred lacked legal cause to sue the state over the matter.
Gay and Allred contended that Gov. Matt Mead and legislative leaders violated the state constitution by issuing contracts without competitive bids.
Gay argued he had the right to sue over the matter as a state representative at the time the suit was filed, and Allred contended he was representing all Wyoming residents.
But the court ruled that Gay and Allred failed to show they suffered injury or harm and thus do not have the right to bring the lawsuit, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
Writing for the court, Associate Justice Kate Fox said that Gay’s claim that he had the right to sue as a legislator during the time that Capitol Square legislation was passed did not hold merit.
“His personal disappointment in the actions of the Legislature does not provide him a special right to act,” Fox wrote.
She added that while taxpayers might have some standing to sue over laws or the actions of Wyoming’s state government, Gay and Allred did not claim to be harmed in their capacity as taxpayers in the lawsuit itself.
“Although Appellants strenuously argued in their brief and at oral argument that they had standing as taxpayers, they made no allegations in their amended complaint that would support such a claim,” Fox wrote. “In fact, the word “taxpayer” does not appear in the amended complaint.”
Associate Justice Keith Kautz wrote in a concurring opinion that by asking the Supreme Court to grant them standing, Gay and Allred were asking the court to violate the separation of powers principle of the state constitution.
Gay said he was “disappointed” in the court’s decision.
“It leaves the citizens of Wyoming without a pathway for the court to address their grievances,” he told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com