Mayor asks Anchorage Assembly to settle lawsuit over unapproved construction work for $2.5 million

The Anchorage Assembly is holding a special meeting Monday where members will consider a request from Mayor Dave Bronson to settle a lawsuit over unapproved construction work for $2,455,352.

The issue stems from millions of dollars in work done last summer and fall by Roger Hickel Contracting at the site of a proposed homeless shelter and navigation center near the intersection of Tudor and Elmore roads in East Anchorage, a project championed by Bronson to bring 150 new shelter beds online. But, as the administration acknowledges in documents submitted to the Assembly, it authorized Hickel to go ahead with extensive work without ever receiving authorization to spend public funds from the Assembly, which halted the project last October after the procurement violations came to light.

In February, Bronson announced the administration’s intention to settle with Hickel Contracting in order to avoid a lawsuit, but was barred because of new rules requiring the mayor’s office to gain Assembly approval before spending taxpayer dollars on legal settlements.

In March, Hickel Contracting sued the municipality for compensation on the work it did at the Tudor and Elmore site.

The resolution from the mayor’s office asks the Assembly to reappropriate the money directly to the Maintenance and Operations Department from the Areawide General Capital Improvement Projects Fund in order to pay the settlement.

Bronson and two conservative Assembly members are backing a separate resolution requesting $7 million to restart and complete the proposed shelter.

Hickel’s lawsuit is not the only one hanging over City Hall. Last week, the Assembly voted down a $550,000 proposed settlement with former municipal manager Amy Demboski over allegations of a hostile work environment and retaliatory firing, increasing the likelihood her claims will head to court. At the same meeting, the Assembly approved $277,500 to settle a lawsuit by Heather MacAlpine, the former director of the city’s Office of Equal Opportunity.


The Assembly is convening at 12:30 p.m. Monday. Little of the Assembly’s discussion will be open to the public as it is slated to take place during an executive session.

Zachariah Hughes

Zachariah Hughes covers Anchorage government, the military, dog mushing, subsistence issues and general assignments for the Anchorage Daily News. He also helps produce the ADN's weekly politics podcast. Prior to joining the ADN, he worked in Alaska’s public radio network, and got his start in journalism at KNOM in Nome.