NORTH OGDEN -- Resident Michael Dufrene says he has been wronged by mayoral candidate and current City Councilman Wade Bigler and is asking for an apology.
Bigler calls Dufrene "obviously disgruntled" and someone who is angry about the outcome of an auto shop controversy in the city.
Dufrene said he is frustrated and disappointed that Bigler accused him of being untruthful in a city council meeting last spring. Dufrene asked Bigler for proof of his accused untruth, but Bigler has yet to produce evidence of such.
In May, Dufrene was one of the appellants in an appeal of a conditional-use permit for resident Tom Baguley over a business license for an auto repair shop in Dufrene's neighborhood. During the discussions over the appeal, Dufrene and Bigler were at odds over some issues surrounding the appeal.
At the May 28 meeting, the council was trying to decide whether to open the discussion over the appeal to residents. Dufrene told Bigler he thought they should, but Bigler responded that Dufrene had written a letter stating the opposite.
Dufrene said he never wrote any letter asking that the council decline to allow residents to comment.
In August, Dufrene asked Bigler to produce the letter he spoke of in the May meeting. As the two went back and forth in emails, Bigler said he would produce the letter but never has.
In an email to the Standard-Examiner, Bigler said that at the May 28 meeting the council was acting as an appeals board, and when he addressed any of the appellants (there were three), he addressed them as one.
"The letter was sent to the city from one of the appellants," Bigler said. He did not say which appellant.
Dufrene maintains that there was no letter in the packet from him asking for no open discussion on the issue.
Dufrene attended the Aug. 27 city council meeting and confronted Bigler on the issue. Mayor Richard Harris shut down the conversation, telling Dufrene that the council meeting was not the place to discuss the matter.
Dufrene still is demanding that Bigler produce the letter and is insisting on a public apology from Bigler.
In an email, Harris told Dufrene that he could discuss issues with the council in a meeting but could not debate with council members.
"Once in a while a council member will ask a question for clarification of an issue, and once in a while a council member will even choose to answer a question, but that is entirely up to them," Harris told Dufrene regarding Bigler's lack of comment to Dufrene's accusations in the meeting.
Dufrene has sent Bigler emails with his demands, but he said Bigler has not responded with the letter or an apology. Dufrene said that's because there is no letter, and he said Bigler is being dishonest.
"I feel strongly the citizens of North Ogden need to see what this councilman and possibly future mayor stands for," Dufrene said in an in email to the Standard-Examiner. "My experience is Mr. Bigler makes flippant remarks/statements that are not true and then just as easily dismisses them as if he owes no explanation."
Dufrene said he has sent five emails to Bigler asking for the letter but has received no response.
Bigler told the Standard-Examiner there were more than 100 documents included in the May case.
"Mr. Dufrene was one of the appellants, therefore, he should know what's in the appellants' packet," Bigler said.
Dufrene said Bigler has now made three incorrect statements to and about Dufrene over the last few months, starting with the original dispute about the existence of a letter by Dufrene. Now Bigler has failed to deliver, he said, after Bigler "stated he would email the letter to me during the Aug. 27 meeting and he also stated the letter was in my packet."
Bigler said he thinks Dufrene is upset over the outcome of the case with the auto repair shop, because the city council upheld Baguley's conditional-use permit.
"Now that you know the facts and background involving this obviously disgruntled man, it would appear biased if you choose to print an article on this," Bigler said.
Dufrene maintains the result of the auto shop case has nothing to do with his issues with Bigler. He is upset that Bigler publicly accused him of misstatements and wants the record to be set straight officially.
He approached City Recorder Annette Spendlove about amending the minutes of the May meeting, and she told him she could not because they had been voted on and approved. That, he said, is why he is seeking a public apology now to have it officially on the record.
Dufrene will attend this Tuesday's city council meeting seeking an apology or proof of the letter.
Bigler did not say what his response would be.