APRIL 15 TRIAL SET IN CHEYENNE HITCHING POST INN ARSON CASE

Posted 2 years ago

By John Axtell

Photo: Billings Gazette

Photo: Billings Gazette

An officer in the company that owns Cheyenne’s landmark Hitching Post Inn hotel has pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the 2010 fire that heavily damaged the longtime bunkhouse and watering hole of Wyoming state lawmakers.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal on Friday set bond at $1 million cash for 51-year-old Ajay Jariwala, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and scheduled his trial for April 15.

A federal indictment charges Jariwala with hiring another New Mexico man to torch the hotel for insurance money after taking out a $13.6-million dollar policy on a building his company paid only a little over $1-million for.

The insurance company has refused to pay on the policy, saying the fire was arson. Jariwala’s company has sued the insurer to force payment, but the suit is on hold until after the trial of the accused arsonist.