The family of former Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott, who died after prolonged suffering from dementia that was unveiled before his death, has agreed to a settlement that will leave his house with the woman who was accused of keeping his condition a secret.
Ott died in October, amid a court case that may have determined whether his siblings or his former assistant and fiancee, Karmen Sanone, would get his entire estate. His death prevented a judge from ruling, and the parties agreed to terms in the ensuing estate case late last month.
Sanone will receive Ott’s Salt Lake City home, farm equipment, vehicles and some guns, according to court documents. She’ll also assume responsibility for the mortgage and the remaining balance of a line of credit.
Ott’s siblings, who represent his estate, are to control his bank accounts and private and state retirement accounts, the agreement says, along with remaining guns, cars, camera equipment and a wedding ring. It says the estate will receive a $28,000 lien against the home, which Sanone would pay if she sells or refinances the home by April 2019.
The settlement marks the possible end of a yearslong saga over Ott’s position as an elected official who quietly suffered from Alzheimer’s, won election and stayed in office unbeknownst to the public that elected him.
The family and Sanone signed the agreement March 26. The agreement says it’s final and settles another case that Sanone filed, in which she says she was Ott’s common-law wife before his death.
Although all parties signed the agreement, Sanone said Friday that she didn’t view the case as closed and implied that she planned to make another court filing in the next week; she declined to elaborate.
“There was some misrepresentation,” she said. “If I were you, I’d kind of hold onto the story. It’s going to get better. There’s more drama to come, I think.”
The attorney for Ott’s siblings, Mary Corporon, said they want to “put a family tragedy behind them.”
“Their objective was always to insure that he received proper care, that his assets were used for his care, and that he was not subjected to public humiliation,” Corporon said in an email to The Salt Lake Tribune. “Given all the continuing legal conflict, they have not been able to mourn their brother’s disability nor his passing.”
Scott L. Hansen, Sanone’s attorney, did not respond to a request for comment Friday evening.
If the terms go unchanged, they will represent a substantially different outcome from one that Sanone envisioned when Ott was alive.
A May 2016 email, obtained by The Tribune, was sent from Sanone’s public address to her personal one. It included an attachment labeled "Gary Ott Trust Outline.” The document was dated three years after his first Alzheimer’s diagnosis, according to court testimony.
“Upon my demise I want my assets (assets of the trust) to be divided as follows,” the outline read. “… All stocks and investments will also go to Karmen.”
Sanone would also get the farm equipment, and $100,000 would be set aside to be used for legal fees, “should the trust or any provision of the trust be challenged.”
Of the remaining assets, the outline proposed giving the siblings 11 percent of Ott’s estate. Sanone would have received the rest.