A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a Grant City Council member against his own city.
Council Member Lawrence Lanoux, a longtime critic of city policies, alleged that Grant 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 a former waste dump near the new Wildwood Elementary School in Grant.
Two Mahtomedi residents, Timothy and Sheila DeWuske, joined Lanoux in the suit, which was filed in federal court in Minneapolis.
In his order, Judge Paul Magnuson wrote that the suit failed to prove allegations of defamation, conspiracy and violations of constitutional rights.
He also took note of the back-and-forth nature of a long dispute.
“All sides of this conflict have expressed their opinions frequently and vehemently,” Magnuson said.
Huber said he’s pleased that the judge “totally exonerated” officials with the city, located in Washington County west of Stillwater.
“This is the type of critical and thorough review regarding these spurious claims the majority of citizens in Grant has looked forward to for years,” said the mayor, who called the order “stunning in its clarity and forcefulness.”
The Wildwood controversy dates to 2011, when Lanoux and 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 were removed in a 1990s cleanup. The sludge contained lead and polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, which can cause cancer.
Wildwood school is in the Mahtomedi school district.