Councilman says he was acting in best interests of the city due to liability concerns
A former Bossier Civic Center vendor claims he is the victim of retribution by Bossier City government for speaking out against the leasing of the civic center.
Wayne Hogue, former owner of the civic center’s concession stand Primo Concessions, said at Tuesday’s council meeting that he was terminated and immediately evicted from the civic center in retribution for taking a stance against the city.
“On the morning of Feb. 7, I was at the civic center concession stand preparing for the Cyber Innovation Center’s robotics competition. CAO Pam Glorioso came into the civic center and told me that a city councilman had just visited the mayor’s office and told him he wanted me out of the civic center immediately,” Hogue said. “He had requested the last contract and an insurance certificate the day before. So, he was obviously looking for a reason to attack us.”
Hogue was speaking at the council’s public hearing regarding an ordinance declaring the civic center as surplus and a 10-year lease of the center.
Hogue said that at least one elected official used his or her political position and power to have him evicted.
“At least one elected official used his political position and power to take revenge on me for speaking up on behalf of the citizens of the community that are going to be impacted by this ordinance. It was a vicious attack on my First Amendment right of freedom of speech. I believe this is a crystal clear abuse of power and retaliation on a private citizen and company by at least one city official,” said Hogue.
He said that before the end of 2019, the city did not renew his contract and the business’ insurance was shown as not current.
“Someone decided those would be the two reasons to fire us on the spot. Later that day, I sent the CAO and mayor a current copy of our insurance that has always been enforced,” Hogue. “We were terminated and immediately evicted in retribution for daring to get involved in a city government action that directly impacted us and our company and thousands of other stakeholders.”
District 3 Councilman Don Williams answered the allegations, saying he was the one that requested the contract and that the outdated insurance put the city at liability.
“What was just said is very far from the truth. This wasn’t an attack on Mr. Hogue. I asked for the contract. The contract was outdated, we had no contract. So, that was a lapse of someone within the city, probably. Then I asked for the insurance. The insurance certificate that he said was up to date was outdated from August of last year. So, you’re working over there without an insurance certificate, which puts the city at a liability,” Williams said.
He continued, noting that it was not a personal attack on Hogue.
“My job is to protect the city and that’s exactly what I did. When we found out the insurance was outdated, Pam went over to see Mr. Hogue. It wasn’t our fault, it wasn’t Pam’s fault, wasn’t the Mayors fault. If you’re a vendor, you need to keep up with your own insurance,” said Williams.
Hogue told the council that he was not completely against the ordinance for the civic center before surrendering his position.
“As for my objection to the ordinance, I’m actually not completely against doing something new with the civic center, never have been. I’m probably more concerned than most of you when it comes to government. I simply wanted to be involved and offer my experience and expertise to develop what I think is a much better alternative,” said Hogue. “So, go ahead and pass the ordinance, I don’t believe anything anyone could say here today could change that anyway.”
The appraised value of the civic center is $352,000 per year. Any lease would include the facility’s continued designation as an emergency special needs shelter and take into account some annual city events and other events.
The city’s argument for the move is that the center’s operating costs results in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Final adoption of the ordinance would be March 3.