Highland business owner pleads no contest to theft
A 56-year-old Highland consignment shop owner accused of stealing property, including priceless Olympic memorabilia from a former well-known Olympic booster, entered a no contest plea Tuesday to the thefts.
Salt Lake County prosecutors agreed to reduce the first-degree felony charges filed against Constance Lynn Millet to a class A misdemeanor in return for her plea of abeyance. In addition, Millet must pay $25,000 in restitution at a court-ordered rate of $1,500 per month and not commit any other criminal offenses in the next 36 months. If she successfully completes all the terms, the case will be dismissed.
But 3rd District Court Judge L.A. Dever warned Millet that if she fails to comply, she could spend time in jail.
Just prior to her plea, Millet's then-boyfriend, Kurt Hunziker, 59, of Switzerland, entered into a diversion agreement, which is a type of good behavior probation. His case will be dismissed if he commits no new criminal offenses during the next 18 months.
The criminal case against Millet's son, Spencer Tidwell, 26, of Pleasant Grove, was dismissed.
Millet,who owns My Finer Consigner, was accused, along with Hunziker, and Tidwell, of stealing property belonging to former Olympic booster Alma Welch.
Welch's now ex-husband, Tom, once was the chief 2002 Winter Games organizer. He later resigned as president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee the job Mitt Romney eventually took over following an altercation with his then-wife.
Among the high-profile items reportedly embroiled in the theft case: a 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic games torch, which used to hang on a wall of Alma Welch's home; boxes of Olympic paperwork that allegedly belong to the International Olympic Committee; and an autographed Lillehammer Olympic Commemorative plaque. It wasn't immediately clear what has happened to the items.
Millet currently owns a consignment shop in Pleasant Grove, but recently had locations in Cottonwood Heights and Murray, authorities said.
A search warrant filed by Cottonwood Heights police shows that Alma Welch and Millet allegedly entered into a consignment agreement Millet would sell certain items for Welch for a cut of the profits. That initial contract was reportedly worth about $45,000, the search warrant shows.
However, police say Millet became greedy and illegally altered the terms of the agreement, forging a new contract by writing in the margins of the original that she was now entitled to take all the property from Welch's East South Temple home, all her property in storage units as well as property stored inside a warehouse. Police say Welch was going through foreclosure at the time so she had a lot of her property stored in large storage lockers that Millet and her co-defendants also wanted to get their hands on.
Authorities allege Millet, Hunziker and Tidwell struck while Welch was indisposed and stole close to $1 million worth of property. Police said earlier this year that Millet had sold most of the high-dollar items, but hadn't paid Welch.