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Jonestown council member involved with failed wind energy project resigns

Jonestown City Council Alderman Lance Wedell, who has faced public criticism for his involvement in a failed wind energy project, has resigned his position on the City Council.

During a special meeting on Tuesday, the City Council acknowledged Wedell’s resignation, which takes effect Thursday.

For months the Jonestown Action Committee, a citizen watchdog group, has sought the resignations of Wedell and Mayor Deane Armstrong for their roles in the Jonestown wind energy project.

Charlie Malouff Jr., founder of CM Energies, and Mary Jo Woodall, a former state comptroller’s office staffer and grant administrator, are accused of conspiring to illegally obtain up to $2 million in federal stimulus money by overselling CM Energies’ ability to deliver the electricity-generating wind turbines to the City of Jonestown.

In documents obtained by the American-Statesman, Wedell was listed as an employee of CM Energies.

The project is the subject of an ongoing grand jury investigation, and the city has also filed a lawsuit against CM Energies.

Wedell made no mention of the scandal in his resignation letter.

“As you are aware, I currently have my house for sale in Jonestown and plan to locate out of the area to pursue setting up a Labrador dog rescue organization,” Wedell wrote in his April 18 resignation letter. “Having been on the City Council for the past four years, I have no intention to run for another City Council term.”

At the next regular council meeting in May, the City Council will discuss appointing someone to fill the remainder of Wedell’s term, Alderman Bill Nichols said Tuesday.

Dan Dodson, who was the city administrator at the time of the scandal and oversaw the project, tendered his resignation in February.

Timeline of wind energy project

2008: City Council approves resolution to conserve electricity use in city facilities.

2009: Jonestown applies for federal stimulus grant. Hundreds of jobs are anticipated.

2010: Concerns from former CM Energies employee about wind energy project reported to Travis County district attorney.

October 2011: Jonestown officials learn about investigation into wind energy project; court documents say Charlie Malouff Jr. and Mary Jo Woodall conspired to illegally obtain up to $2 million in federal stimulus money.

November 2011: Malouff is charged with illegally possessing firearms and explosives.

December 2011: City Council decides to end $80,000-a-year contract with City Administrator Dan Dodson.

February: Dodson submits resignation letter.

March: City attorney issues letter in response to citizens group’s complaints.

April: Alderman Lance Wedell resigns position on City Council.