In January, Alta Mayor Tom Pollard will be sworn in for a third term in the storied town at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. But if Guy Jordan has his way, Pollard will be tossed out of office.
Late last week, Jordan, an Alta resident, filed papers in 3rd District Court challenging Pollard’s residency. He claims Pollard lives in Sandy — not Alta.
The legal action came after Jordan’s protest of Pollard’s voter eligibility at the municipal level was dismissed by Alta Town Clerk Kate Black. Black dismissed 11 other such challenges.
Beyond the mayor, Jordan also filed a court challenge against voter Marlena Briggs, who does not hold elective office.
Pollard and Briggs were among 34 residency challenges Jordan made this fall to the Town Clerk’s Office. According to Jordan, 22 of them either removed themselves or were struck from the voter list by Black. Prior to those protests, there were 171 registered voters in Alta.
"I challenged about 20 percent of the electorate," Jordan said Monday, noting that many people who work at Alta vote there even though they live in Salt Lake Valley.
The town clerk’s office responded to a Salt Lake Tribune inquiry through its attorney, Rich Mrazik of the Salt Lake City law firm of Parsons Behle & Latimer. "The town plans to respond [in 3rd District Court] to Mr. Jordan’s challenge," Mrazik said. "And it will speak for itself."
Earlier this year, Jordan successfully protested the residency of former Town Councilman Steven "Piney" Gilman before 3rd District Judge Keith A. Kelly. In wake of Kelly’s ruling, Gilman stepped down from the council.
"Judge Kelly’s opinion was pretty clear," Jordan said. "If you don’t live up there, you shouldn’t vote up there."
In his court filings, Jordan cited real-estate trust deeds as evidence that he alleges show Pollard and Briggs have primary residences in Salt Lake Valley. Salt Lake County property assessment records do list a Sandy address as Pollard’s primary residence for tax purposes.
But the mayor, who manages the Rustler Lodge, said he has a residence at the lodge and often stays there. He concedes, however, that he does have a second home in Salt Lake Valley.
"My registered place of residency has been Rustler Lodge since I moved here in 1981," Pollard said Monday. "I feel confident in my position."
Further, Pollard said, he doesn’t understand what Jordan is trying to accomplish. "I don’t know what his beef is," the mayor said. "What aren’t we doing that he thinks I should be out of here, when the community elected me."
Briggs could not be reached for comment.
Paul Moxley, who practices law in Salt Lake City and also sits on the Alta Town Council, said Pollard’s case is different than Gilman’s because the mayor has a residence in Alta.
"I disagreed with Judge Kelly’s decisions [in the Gilman case]," Moxley said. "And there is a difference in facts here. There is no evidence the mayor is not a resident of Alta."
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