Bryan Robinson, former mayor of Benton City, spent a few hours in the Benton County jail on Thursday after trying to stop a city work crew from digging out a ditch on his property.
He was released after his wife paid $250 bail following his arrested on investigation of disorderly conduct.
Robinson claims city officials trespassed on his three acres at 210 Second St. He also said he has the right to fill in the ditch, even though he said Benton City officials denied him a permit to do the work.
"I told them it was private property and they should stop. They refused, so I stood in front of the heavy equipment," Robinson said Thursday after leaving the jail in Kennewick.
Robinson said the crew included the city maintenance supervisor, two maintenance employees and the city's code enforcement officer.
Robinson said the employees told him they were sent there by the state Department of Transportation.
The standoff ended when Robinson called for a Benton County sheriff's deputy, who told him the city had the right to be there and that he could be arrested if he tried to stop them.
"I told him I was protecting my property, and I was not disorderly. Then I stuck my hands out," Robinson said. "So he handcuffed me and took me to jail."
Robinson said the dispute with the city about filling in the ditch began two months ago. The issue recently was taken to a hearings officer who has yet to rule on the issue.
Benton City Mayor Lloyd Carnahan said he could not comment Thursday on the ditch dispute because a decision is pending.
Carnahan confirmed city workers were sent to Robinson's property. He said the state wanted dirt on Robinson's land removed from the area in front of a culvert on a state right of way along Highway 225, which fronts Robinson's land.
It's not Robinson's first run-in with authorities.
During his four years as Benton City's mayor, he argued with chamber of commerce leaders and the county sheriff's office. He fired the longtime city attorney.
Under his leadership, Benton City officials were found to have met illegally 30 times. And some poor accounting practices drew the ire of state auditors.
Robinson was jailed five days for giving false or misleading statements to police regarding a fight with a neighbor. He also was the subject of two recall efforts before Carnahan replaced him in 2007.
And last year, a Benton City man served time on a jail work crew after pleading guilty to harassing Robinson.
w John Trumbo: 582-1529; email@example.com