This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
West Jordan City Councilman Jeff Haaga has taken the first step in suing his fellow city leaders as well as the municipality for what he claims is a continuing pattern of misconduct, malicious harassment, conspiracy to interfere with his free-speech rights and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In a notice of claim the precursor to a lawsuit he seeks $750,000 in damages.
The claims target five of his six colleagues on the council, with the exception of Mayor Kim Rolfe, who is also a council member. Also listed as potential defendants are the city itself, former acting city manager Bryce Haderlie, Police Chief Doug Diamond, Deputy Public Works Director Justin Stoker, former City Attorney Jeff Robinson and two other attorneys who have represented the city.
Haaga said in an interview that he filed the notice of claim on Nov. 4, one day after the election, so that it did not interfere with the muncipal election. He is not on the ballot this year, but several West Jordan Council races were.
His notice of claim states that he has been the target of disparaging comments, was "verbally assaulted" in a closed door meeting, has been "harassed," and was forced to sell his publishing business because of actions by some of the city officials.
Haaga's is the second notice of claim filed in recent weeks by a person in a city leadership post. The first was brought by Robinson, the former city attorney, who lodged a long list of claims surrounding his suspension and subsequent resignation earlier this year.
West Jordan City has been wracked with political intrigue, infighting and accusations for more than a year beginning with the August 2014 abrupt resignation of then-City Manager Rick Davis, who later was given a severance package worth an estimated $200,000.
Haaga claims the alleged actions of city officials have created his "inability to perform my elected duties because of fear of retaliation, causing great emotional and physical issue."
The councilman, who has not stepped down from the post he was elected to in 2013, said he was hospitalized last year as a result of these problems. Haaga said he has no plans to step down but here is "no way" he will seek re-election in 2017.