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Former Natrona County planner, wind businessman owes $58,000 to local developer

The former Natrona County planning and development director must pay a local contractor for work done for his wind energy business, according to a recent court order.

Blair Leist and his WindWorks Energy LLC owes Ricor Investments $58,156.70 plus interest for failing to pay invoices for equipment, tools and labor for wind projects sent to him in 2010 and 2011, according to the order issued by Natrona County District Court Judge Catherine Wilking in December.

Leist had promised to pay, but eventually refused to communicate with the company, so Ricor sued on June 14, according to the order.

Ricor, a McMurry-related company, was not able to serve papers on Leist, who did not have an attorney, and the court entered a default judgment against him in September, according to the order.

Mail from the court about the lawsuit sent to his listed residences in Casper and to his residence in Steamboat Springs, Colo., was returned.

Leist declined to comment on the case when reached Wednesday at his Colorado home.

Ricor attorney Ryan Ford said Wednesday the responsibility for recovering the debt rests with the bank involved with the companies.

“They [the bank officials] determine how they want to pursue the judgment order,” said Ford, who works for the Casper firm of Williams, Porter, Day & Neville.

Leist started WindWorks Energy LLC in January 2010, a month after he resigned from the county Planning Department. According to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s business database, WindWorks Energy was declared administratively dissolved on March 12.

Leist had his share of controversies after the county hired him in June 2008 to replace Patsy Horton, who resigned in October 2007.

Leist’s most notable accomplishment as development director was crafting of the “wind energy conversion systems” regulations approved by the county commission in September 2008.

But after the commission granted a conditional use permit for Chevron Global Power Co. in early 2009 to build its 11-turbine wind farm near Evansville, neighbors said the regulations were contradictory. Leist and the county subsequently made changes to the regulations.

Before coming to Natrona County, Leist previously had worked for the Teton County Planning Department and the Archuleta County (Colo.) Planning Department, according to database searches.