Two of the city's more enduring and entertaining political figures--perennial candidate/magician Loch David Crane and defrocked mayor-turned-talk-show-host Roger Hedgecock--settled their legal differences out of court Wednesday.
With mutual apologies and a joint $6,000 contribution to a shelter for homeless teenagers run by Catholic Msgr. Joseph Carroll, the two pronounced an end to Crane's damage suit against Hedgecock.
The news did not rock the city.
"Now that this is solved," noted political consultant Bob Glaser, "maybe we can turn our attention to solving the energy crisis and building a ballpark."
Crane, five times a loser for mayor, had sued Hedgecock over a shoving incident that allegedly occurred outside Hedgecock's restaurant during last year's mayoral primary.
Crane was miffed that Hedgecock had not invited him to a candidates' forum. Crane was running on a promise to "change the Kitty Litter at City Hall."
Hedgecock may--or may not--have pushed Crane and may--or may not--have torn up Crane's protest sign. Failing to get prosecutors to file criminal charges, Crane filed a lawsuit for damages.
Hedgecock responded by denouncing Crane on his radio show. Crane struck back by wearing a Santa Claus suit and handing out copies of the police report about the alleged assault.
At a news conference outside the Toussaint Teen Center, the two issued a statement apologizing for past misbehavior: "Roger understands how what he said hurt Loch. Loch is also sorry for loudly protesting against Roger at Election Central . . . which embarrassed Roger."
Crane, 52, dressed in his Buffalo Bill regalia, was ebullient. He brought his own video crew and $1,000 in cash for the teen center--his share of the $6,000 joint donation.
Hedgecock, 55, appeared somewhat chagrined. He shook hands with Crane but declined to assist him in breaking a symbolic arrow.
"We were trying to get this lawsuit out of the courts where it did not belong," Hedgecock said.
Other terms of the settlement--including whether Hedgecock paid Crane a portion of the $100,000-plus the latter was seeking--were not disclosed. Under the settlement, a document that Crane received from Hedgecock while he was probing his financial situation during discovery will remain sealed.
Crane backed Hedgecock in 1983 when he was elected mayor to succeed Pete Wilson. Felony convictions for perjury and conspiracy stemming from that campaign chased Hedgecock from office in 1985 and turned him into a radio host.
Even as they litigated, Crane and Hedgecock could agree on their support of the priest known locally as Father Joe.
Hedgecock has long championed Carroll's various programs, and Crane has sought contributions for Carroll at political events by passing the hat--a purple, floppy one.
The deal was brokered by Superior Court Judge J. Michael Bollman. "Never in my 16 years as a judge have I seen a case like this," he said.