A City Council member in the Washington County city of Grant is suing the mayor and other City Council members, alleging retaliation for his “environmental advocacy” concerning a waste dump near the new Wildwood Elementary School.
Council Member Lawrence Lanoux, a longtime critic of city policies, alleges that the city, Mayor Jeffrey Huber, Council Member Tom Carr and former Council Member Christine Lobin tried “to silence, obstruct and retaliate” after Lanoux raised concerns about contamination from the waste dump.
Two Mahtomedi residents, Timothy and Sheila DeWuske, joined Lanoux in the suit, which was filed in federal court in Minneapolis.
The suit also alleges that the defendants harassed and threatened Lanoux and unfairly censured him.
In response, the defendants cite a lack of “plausible facts” and have asked for dismissal of the case.
“Not every personal disagreement or insult is a matter for federal court,” wrote their attorney, Paul Merwin.
The Wildwood controversy dates to 2011, when Lanoux and some other residents objected to construction of the school about 600 feet from what was once a 10-acre unregulated dump for common household garbage and a demolition landfill known as Bellaire Transfer No. 2, used for building materials.
A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency hydrogeologist said then that the site was safe because 553 tons of waste sludge was removed in a 1990s cleanup. The sludge contained lead and polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, which can cause cancer.