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Local News

Casseday house deal on rocks amid trouble in mayor's office

The 19th-century limestone house at 411 E. Jackson St. now is surrounded by construction fences, and windows have been removed. It was going to be demolished, but there are plans for it to be moved to another location.
The 19th-century limestone house at 411 E. Jackson St. now is surrounded by construction fences, and windows have been removed. It was going to be demolished, but there are plans for it to be moved to another location.

A deal to save the Casseday House is in jeopardy.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, also the city’s liquor commissioner, told the council Monday that he does not know if his office can process liquor and gaming licenses in time to satisfy Thorntons, which would fund the relocation of the house to make room for a gas station.

On Tuesday, the council approved an amended agreement with Thorntons that would allow the company to demolish the 19th-century Casseday house if it does not get approval of the licenses by Dec. 17.

O’Dekirk said his staff is short-handed, and he doubts it can meet that deadline.

“It’s unfortunate what’s happened,” O’Dekirk said. “I can’t control what’s happening in my office anymore.”

O’Dekirk did not go into detail, but his comments appeared to refer to developments concerning Officer Joe Clement, the police officer assigned to the mayor’s office.

“I’ve appealed to [interim City Manager] Steve Jones to fix it,” O’Dekirk said. “We’re not going to.”

Clement has been prohibited from working out of the mayor’s office amid an investigation of a September incident where, according to police documents obtained by The Herald-News, O’Dekirk and Clement contended that a sergeant working a security detail at Fiesta en la Calle was drunk.

Sgt. Lindsey Heavener had blood and urine tests taken that night to show his sobriety and later filed an ethics complaint against O’Dekirk, which is being investigated by an outside law firm.

The police department also is conducting an internal investigation, and Clement has been barred from working at the mayor’s office.

A liquor hearing on Thornton’s request for a license has been scheduled for Dec. 11, and the company wants the city to provide the licenses before the end of the year.

The mayor also has two part-time liquor commissioners.

O’Dekirk said he met with his staff Monday, and they doubt they can meet the end-of-year deadline.

“We can shoot for it, but we don’t think it’s possible,” O’Dekirk said.

The City Council on Oct. 15 approved an agreement with Thorntons in which the company would provide $300,000 for the relocation of the house in exchange for licenses needed for video gaming at a gas station to be built at Collins and Jackson streets.

The council was to vote on the liquor and gaming license Nov. 5, according to the agreement, but it was not ready. A representative from Thornton’s at that meeting asked that the council amend the agreement to push back the deadline for the license until the end of the year.

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