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Weber’s charges dismissed

By Staff | Oct 25, 2010

Mike Weber

The city of Wells has ended legal action against a former City Council member.

Faribault County Attorney Brian Roverud says Mike Weber won’t be prosecuted for burning without a permit, a misdemeanor charge filed in October 2009. Police Chief Jim Ratelle was listed as the complainant.

A jury trial was scheduled to begin on Oct. 14.

Roverud says Mayor Shannon Savick sent him a letter last month requesting the charge be dismissed.

In a court document, the county attorney writes “in the interest of justice” the state will not prosecute.

“After visiting with city officials and the police officer, I thought it was the right thing to do and in the best interest of both parties,” says Roverud. “It all revolved around the relationship between him and the city.”

In August, Weber and his wife reached an agreement with the city to end a civil dispute. But, Roverud says the five-part legal settlement did not play a part in his decision.

“That case had nothing to do with this. They are completely separate,” he says.

In November 2009, the City Council hired an investigator to look into a written complaint filed by Weber, alleging misconduct by Ratelle and former Street Department supervisor Rick Lavalliere.

The city spent more than $26,000 on the five-month probe.

During negotiations in the civil dispute with the Webers, the League of Minnesota Cities appointed attorney Jeff Zaleski to assist the city.

Savick says Zaleski advised the city to consider dropping the charge.

“That was one of the things the Webers wanted. It was part of the agreement. But, we didn’t promise them anything,” she says.

One of Weber’s attorneys, Don Savelkoul of Albert Lea, says Roverud ultimately made the right decision. He says his client should never have been charged in the first place.

“Had this case proceeded to trial, we believe that Mr. Weber would have been acquitted,” Savelkoul says. “His decision had to take into consideration the evidence that was available, the witnesses that would testify and the likelihood of obtaining a conviction.”