Former Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo is scheduled for a bench trial next month to contest six misdemeanor criminal charges stemming from accusations he used his position as mayor to beat out competitors bidding for a construction project.
Kaumo, who served as Rock Springs mayor from 2010-2022, is scheduled for an April 25-28 trial in front of a Uinta County judge because of conflict-of-interest concerns in Sweetwater County.
Kaumo is facing five charges of official misconduct and one of conflict of interest in relation to allegations that he attempted to use his position with the city to secure an engineering contract for his own business.
If found guilty on all charges, Kaumo could receive up to $30,000 in fines. The charges stem from a nearly two-year investigation by the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation and the FBI filed in August 2022.
Began In 2020
In August 2020, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office requested an outside investigation related to possible illegal activity within Rock Springs city government related to a request for proposal (RFP) for a $3.8 million construction project.
Kaumo is president of JFC Engineers & Surveyors, which was one of the companies that had bid on the project.
During a three-month stretch in 2020, Kaumo is accused of sending emails to city council members attempting to convince them to choose his company’s bid for the project.
“The lowest bidder is most likely an incompetent bidder as we well know which leads to a shitty job, time delays and change orders,” Kaumo wrote in an email to council members.
Campaign To Discredit
Kaumo also is accused of using his mayoral position to obtain private documents and sealed bid proposals submitted from the competing firms.
He described one of his competitors, run by a former employee of his, as disgruntled. The employee, Brandt Lyman of Western Engineers, disputed the claims to Cowboy State Daily in August 2022.
“In my professional life and my firm, we hold our ethics above all else,” Lyman told Cowboy State Daily at the time. “We are absolutely not being charged with anything in this case.”
Kaumo’s company was chosen as the winning bidder by an internal committee, but those committee members raised questions about the cost of the company’s engineering services, which was twice as high as bids from competing engineering firms.
In July 2020, the Rock Springs City Council voted to not award the contract to JFC and another company ended up winning the job.
In May 2022, Kaumo announced he would not run for a fourth term as mayor.