Cedar Hills • Mayor Eric Richardson hopes, after being cleared by the Utah County attorney, that city politics will become more civil.
"I would like to be able to have a debate," he said, "without it becoming a battle of good versus evil."
Richardson and City Manager Konrad Hildebrandt were accused of misappropriating funds to build a clubhouse and recreation center at the city's golf course and other misdeeds.
Residents Paul Sorensen and Ken Severn filed their complaint with 4th District Judge Samuel McVey, who turned the matter over to the Utah County Attorney's Office.
County Attorney Jeff Buhman issued a letter stating that there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. If the charges were true, Buhman added, they would be troubling but a matter of ethics rather than criminal law.
Sorensen and Severn said in their complaint that the impact fees the city is using for the clubhouse were originally earmarked for a pool and rec center. City officials say the building, which will be completed this year, will also serve as a community center, as well as a clubhouse that can be rented out for wedding receptions.
Sorensen said he is going to meet with Buhman, asserting that the prosecutor had a duty to investigate. "We' re not giving up on this," Sorensen said.
Richardson and Hildebrandt dismissed the pair's claims as "sour grapes," noting that Sorensen had lost council elections.
"Stop being vindictive when you don't win an election or have the direction of the city go your way," Hildebrandt said, referring to Sorensen. "Stop saying judges and county attorneys don't know their job."
Richardson said the case underscored the need for a statewide ethics commission that could hear such complaints, such as the one Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, is hoping to create with SB180.