board of directors of the village of Alvo sued for failing to call recall elections for two members | Crime-and-Courts
A small village in Cass County, already embroiled in controversies over a huge mountain of scrap tires, ownership of the local rescue team and embezzlement of village and firefighters’ money, has a new dispute at its doorstep.
The Alvo village board is now being sued by one of the state’s top prosecutors for failing to call recall elections, as required, after a campaign of petitions gathered enough signatures to force a recall vote on two members of the village board.
Omaha lawyer David Domina filed a complaint Thursday on behalf of Alvo resident Dennis Tempelmeyer, who criticized members of the village’s board of directors for failing to oversee the operation of the used tires.
Alvo, 132 residents, is located halfway between Omaha and Lincoln, just south of the Interstate 80 Greenwood exit. But despite its quiet streets, the city has been in the news with more than one feud in recent years.
The most recent involved a pile of used tires from a local recycler that had grown to double the size allowed by state environmental regulations, creating a fire hazard and breeding ground for mosquitoes. After months of give-and-take and dozens of truckloads to a David City landfill, the state proclaimed in September that the B-Rose / LAL Enterprises junkyard had become compliant.
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One of the board members targeted by the recall effort is Larry Langer, one of the recent owners of the junkyard. The other recall target is Robin LaPage, who chairs the board.
The recall organizers claim that Langer abused his position for personal gain and had a conflict of interest while serving on the board of directors while running the tire recycling company. The allegations against LaPage were that she had embezzled village funds and “actively disengaged” from her duties.
The Cass County Election Office certified in September that a sufficient number of voters had signed petitions to trigger a recall election. But the village council voted 5-0 at its October 5 meeting against calling the elections.
County Election Commissioner Linn Moore said Langer and LaPage participated in the vote when they should have recused themselves because the case involved them. Moore and Domina say the state’s election law is clear: if enough voters sign a recall petition, then a village council or city council must call a recall election. It’s not discretionary, Moore said in an interview and Domina said in the lawsuit.
LaPage told a reporter on Monday that she was not aware of any lawsuits. Langer said he voted against holding the recall elections because he did not want Alvo taxpayers to pay for what he saw as a “personal vendetta.”
Tempelmeyer said his lawsuit was aimed at getting the village council to do what is required by state law. He said he hopes the five council members as individuals will be required to pay his costs for filing the complaint because the village has no money.
âLet’s move on,â he said. âWe have many more families moving to the city and wanting to bring Alvo back to a community. “
The controversies, Tempelmeyer said, are based on “old grudges.”
Langer, whose tire recycling business was recently sold to a son, said he was calling for a state investigation into the unrest at Alvo.
In 2020, state auditors alleged that Alvo Fire Chief Ben Glantz embezzled $ 18,000. A criminal trial is scheduled for next year. It came after the former village clerk, Ginger R. Neuhart, pleaded guilty to embezzlement. She was accused of taking $ 105,000 from Alvo and an additional $ 200,000 from two other villages she worked for, Memphis and Ithaca.
One of Alvo’s disputes was recently resolved. On October 18, an out-of-court settlement was approved regarding the ownership of the property of the volunteer rescue team. A group of former volunteers will get two ambulances, while the village of Alvo will keep the fire station and the money in a bank account. The rescue team would be allowed to resume operations as a separate entity from the village.
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