Former RS Mayor Requests City Investigate Councilman

The former Mayor also asked the Council to remove the Councilman from office.
Former RS Mayor Requests City Investigate Councilman

ROCK SPRINGS — In a letter to the City of Rock Springs, former Mayor Tim Kaumo is requesting the Rock Springs City Council investigate Councilman Rob Zotti’s actions in regards to the Bitter Creek Restoration Project’s bidding process. Kaumo also asked the Council to remove Zotti from the Council due to his alleged misconduct throughout the bidding process of this project while on the Council.

“I am writing to request that Councilman Rob Zotti be investigated for misconduct with respect to his involvement in the Bitter Creek Restoration Project,” Kaumo’s letter to the city stated.

In the six-page letter, Kaumo makes claims against Zotti and his involvement in the restoration project’s bidding process. In April of 2020, the City of Rock Springs asked engineering companies to submit proposals for the project. JFC Engineers (JFC), Western Engineers (Western), and William H. Smith and Associates (WHS) put in proposals. All of the proposals were reviewed by a selection committee and the committee recommended JFC.

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According to Kaumo, after the committee made its recommendation, Brandt Lyman, Western’s president, complained to Zotti about the selection committee’s choice. In his letter, Kaumo says Lyman testified in court at his hearing that Zotti provided Western with business insurance in 2020 and that Western was a client of Zotti’s. Back in April, Kaumo changed his plea to guilty to one misdemeanor charge of official misconduct and one misdemeanor charge of conflict of interest in a case that revolved around the Bitter Creek project and JFC.

Kaumo claims that after Zotti received a complaint from Lyman he took it to the City Council and played a pivotal role in convincing the City Council to vote against awarding the bid to JFC. The Council decided to review the selection committee’s decision and a second selection committee was created.

All three companies submitted updated proposals. Kaumo claims up until the second “selection committee made its decision, Zotti continued to assist and advocate for Western.”

He also claims Zotti shared confidential city documents with Western, including the first selection committee’s score sheets and tabulations. He also claims Zotti purposely tried to slow down the second selection committee’s process after Western filed a complaint against JFC with the Wyoming State Board of Engineers.

Kaumo claims Zotti violated Wyoming State Statute 16-6-118 and the oath of office, and is asking the Council to conduct an independent investigation and remove him from office. Under State Statute W.S. 16-6-118, it is unlawful for a councilman to represent a company, either as agent or otherwise, with respect to an application for a contract on which he may be called upon to vote. A councilman violates this law unless he discloses the nature and extent of his relationship with the company, does not participate in the considerations or vote, and does not act, directly or indirectly, for the city in the inspection or administration of the contract.

“Accordingly, I request that Mr. Zotti be investigated for crimes of official misconduct,” Kaumo stated in his letter.

Councilor Zotti Responds

“The accusations stated in Tim Kaumo’s letter were first made during the initial investigation that was conducted by DCI and the FBI. The findings of this investigation were then reviewed by the prosecuting attorney and it was found that I did nothing wrong,” Zotti told SweetwaterNOW Monday. “Tim is the one who was charged with five counts of official misconduct and one count of conflict of interest. This is purely an attempt to smear my name and reputation by a man who refuses to accept responsibility for his own actions.”

Zotti went on to say that he and another Councilor simply wanted to know why they were being asked to approve a bid that was more than twice the bid the two other bidders provided.

Zotti pointed out that Kaumo is the one who has already been charged and pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct and one count of conflict of interest.

“He showed little remorse for his actions during his bench trial and he continues to show little remorse now while trying to point the finger at someone else,” Zotti said. “It’s time for Tim to grow up, own up to what he did, and move on.”

Mayor Max Mickelson said the city would not comment on the letter.

See the document below to review the entire letter.

Other Business

Under presentations, the Council will hear about the NLC Service Line Warranty Program from Steve Bieranowski, who is the city’s account manager.

The Council received a letter from Pacificorp, doing business as Rocky Mountain Power, regarding proposed rate increases and asking for comments on the proposal.

For the complete packet, click here. The Council will meet on Tuesday, August 1, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.