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West Jordan City Councilman Jeff Haaga has formally withdrawn a notice of claim against his municipality and fellow city leaders for what he claimed was a pattern of misconduct, malicious harassment, conspiracy to interfere with his free-speech rights and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In his notice of claim filed Nov. 4 he sought $750,000 in damages. He withdrew the action in a letter dated Dec. 2. A notice of claim is the required first step in filing a lawsuit against a government body.
"There's some rumor that I sued my own city, and that's not true," Haaga said during the Dec. 2 council meeting.
He withdrew the claim, he said, on advice of his counsel and from "my own heart. I would never ever sue my city. I've lived here going on almost 40 years."
Haaga did not publicly explain his motives in scrapping the notice of claim, saying, "the council knows why."
The claims targeted 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's 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 was 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.
Despite the allegations in his claim that the city had made it impossible for him to perform his elected duties, Haaga said he had no intention of resigning, although he said in an interview he would not seek re-election in 2017.
He suggested during the Dec. 2 council meeting that the body receive some training on decorum at its next retreat.
"We're always going to have disagreements, that's the nature of America. But we should have civility," he said.