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Casper-Alcova Irrigation District faces litigation over board election

The Casper-Alcova Irrigation District voted to back the results of its recent election, after a candidate from that election threatened to take the board to court to force a new election.

Community members listen Friday as the Casper-Alcova Irrigation District commissioners discuss potential legal issues stemming from the recent board election. (Tommy Culkin, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper-Alcova Irrigation District is facing a potential court battle as a candidate in the district’s recent board election alleges that improper procedures and potential fraud took place.

The lawsuit is being raised by John Bentley, who at the board election challenged and lost to incumbent Brad Olson. In a letter to the CAID, Bentley said he wanted a new election to be held for District 3 and said he would take the district to court if it doesn’t agree to one.

At a special called meeting on Friday, though, the CAID district commissioners voted to challenge Bentley’s claims in court. The decision came in a 5–0 vote, with Olson recusing himself.

While the board voted to back the results of the initial election, Commissioner Ric Herman said the board hopes to meet with Bentley and attempt to resolve the situation outside of court.

One of the grievances levied by Bentley is that his name was not on the ballot while Olson’s was, even though neither candidate was officially nominated until the night of the annual meeting when the election was held, Herman said. Bentley also alleges that he requested for his name to be put on the ballot, but was denied.

Bentley also cites a lack of a roll call as an alleged problem with the proceedings.

“In my mind, nothing improper occurred,” Herman said.

Herman also said that Bentley alleges fraud occurred.

“My question is where the fraud is,” he said.

Several community members attended Friday’s special meeting, voicing a number of opinions. Some encouraged the board to redo the election, while others said it’s worth taking the dispute to court.

Community member Linda Davis said the board should speak to the Natrona County Elections Office, but Herman replied that legal counsel advised against that.

Bentley was not in attendance at the meeting.