The mayor of Orem is under investigation after a city employee discovered irregularities in documents he used to make unauthorized withdrawals from his city retirement account.
Those irregularities include changing dates on forms, submitting the same signed forms for multiple reimbursement requests and for requesting reimbursements more often than is allowed, according to a statement from the Orem City Council.
Mayor Richard Brunst, who was first elected in 2013, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday evening that he was sorry for what he did, and he does not believe it will affect his ability to do his job. He has also offered to pay for the private legal counsel investigating him.
In a statement, the city council said it was still “determining the appropriate course of action.”
Law enforcement is looking into the allegations. A call to Orem police Thursday evening was not immediately returned.
However, Brunst said he wasn’t trying to do anything illegal.
“I watched somebody speed and get picked up for breaking the law and going faster than they should’ve, and I watched one of my favorite quarterbacks throw an interception. These are all good people that do good things, and we all unfortunately make mistakes,” he said. “This was a mistake."
In a written apology provided to The Tribune, Brunst said he didn’t realize the city had placed a limit on the number of withdrawals one can make from city 401K accounts per year. He said that altering dates on withdrawal forms was a “mistake of convenience." He said it was wrong and he is “truly sorry.”
He added that in his private business, he would often make copies of the forms he routinely submitted and change the date on them when he sent them into the relevant government on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.
“This was acceptable to them. I believe that I looked at the withdrawal request forms in the same manner, and thus the reasons behind why I sent in the forms the way I did,” he wrote in the apology letter. “But while it is OK for me to change a date for myself on the forms, it is not OK for me to change the date on the signature of another person on the same form.”