- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A mayor and a dog musher in Alaska have sued each other for thousands of dollars over an agreement to train together for this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Gwen Bogart of Wasilla filed her suit against Matanuska-Susitna Borough Mayor Vern Halter in December, alleging that Halter broke a contract by failing to provide training, housing and a dog team.

Halter has placed among the top five mushers in three Iditarod races.

Bogart wants him to return a $15,000 deposit, The Alaska Dispatch News reported on Monday (http://bit.ly/1RKw9I7).

Halter filed a counterclaim against Bogart. He denies owing her the deposit and claims she did not fulfill the entire $52,000 payment she agreed to under the contract.

“The unpaid balance is $37,000,” the counterclaim states.

Bogart agreed to pay $52,000 for a chance at completing the race. She made a down payment of $15,000 on April 15, five months before she planned to move into Halter’s Dream a Dream Dog Farm.

Halter owns and operates the Willow kennel and bed-and-breakfast with his wife, Susan Whiton. They have trained several Iditarod finishers who had similar arrangements as Bogart.

In her lawsuit, Bogart said she worked about 160 hours at the kennel and has not been paid for it. She said she left the business after experiencing Halter’s “bad temper and bad language” during a late summer training session.

Halter, in his counterclaim, said Bogart left the training facility Sept. 5 and stopped fulfilling the requirements of the contract.

Bogart could not be reached for comment. Halter referred questions to his attorney, Eric Jensen, who did not return a call.

A pretrial conference is set for March 10.

___

Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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