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Sparks council shoots down $2 million settlement over firefighter fracas, votes to counter at $500,000

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The Sparks City Council on Tuesday voted against a $2 million settlement with Maureen Hvegholm, the older woman assaulted by a Sparks Firefighter in late 2022. The board voted to give Hvegholm a $500,000 counteroffer.

There was no discussion among council members. Council member Paul Anderson motioned to counter the $2 million offer at $500,000. The council unanimously approved the counteroffer.

Members of Hvegholm’s family called the offer ridiculous.

“The family is disappointed that the City of Sparks continues to dodge responsibility and do the right thing. Given the assault, mom’s injuries as a result, and the lies and deceit which the Fairfax Report revealed, it’s disgusting what the council did today,” Gayla Ouellette said. “The area behind Sparks Fire Station No. 1, where Mom lives, is a low income neighborhood. It’s for this reason, I believe they made such a ridiculous offer — because they think she’s indigent and will accept that.”

She said that the offer will be rejected.

“We will only accept what it takes to see her through the end of her life,” Ouellette added. “They voted unanimously on this today and all of them continue to abuse their positions of power by refusing to do the right thing for mom and for the City of Sparks.”

Hvegholm’s son spoke during public comment at the meeting.

“I am dumbfounded that [Sparks Firefighter Timothy Egan] has not suffered a single consequence at all since Dec. 8, 2022, when he perpetrated a crime against my mother,” Mark Hvegholm said. “It was a very cowardly and despicable act on his part, and he has no business wearing a badge or a uniform of the Sparks Fire Department. 

“It’s disgraceful. I hope that you folks are going to make some changes here that are going to result in a better situation,” he added.

Egan was found to have instigated the incident where Hvegolm, who was feeding cats in an alley adjacent to a Sparks Fire station, was dropped on her face after she approached Egan. Hvegholm is suing for damages. The incident received international media attention when surveillance footage was released.

The city, through a Las Vegas law firm, tried to keep secret an investigation it commissioned into the incident. That report noted Egan violated department policies, but his actions did not rise to the level of criminal charges, the investigator found.

Disclosure: Hvegholm is represented by attorney Luke Busby, who represents This Is Reno in public records litigation. He did not provide information or comment on this story.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.

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