Friday, November 19, 2010

Standard-Examiner AP Story: AG Attorney: Envision Ogden Probe Will Start Over

We'll also be hoping that Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's office hasn't malpracticed, and allowed any important limitations of action statutes to have run

Here's another Envision Ogden campaign corruption story from the Standard-Examiner Live! Website, this time from Tom Foy of the Associated Press:
AG attorney: Envision Ogden probe will start over
Today's AP article reveals new information. It seems the Utah Attorney General's Office isn't merely renewing their earlier-abandoned investigation... they're re-starting "from scratch":
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah attorney general's office will "start from the ground" in its reopened investigation into whether an Ogden civic group misled contributors about the money it raised that ended up going to political candidates.
Scott Reed, the chief of the attorney general's criminal division, told The Associated Press that he was looking at allegations that Envision Ogden raised the money to promote the city's outdoor amenities but funneled it to "political guys" through another organization.
At first, Reed said he didn't think the case merited prosecution. An investigative report released by the Utah Department of Public Safety to Utah newspapers in recent days quoted Reed telling state investigators in 2009 that he didn't believe the allegations amounted to fraud.
Reed said he hesitated because the allegations were politically motivated and he was overwhelmed with more important cases in 2009, but now has time to take a closer look.
"We want to take a look at a couple of additional things," Reed told the AP. "We're taking this back into our shop. We have the capacity to do this and start from the ground. The case is active and pending."
Nice to see that the Utah A.G.'s Office is finally taking this case seriously at last. We'll also be hoping that Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's office hasn't already seriously malpracticed, and allowed any important crimimal limitations of action statutes to have "run."

19 comments:

Ernie the Attorney said...

"Reed said he hesitated because the allegations were politically motivated..."

Since when has "political motivation" ever been a lawful defense to a political crime?

Reed is a Moron.

blackrulon said...

will he investigate the violations that were "cured" by city attorney Williams?

Dan S. said...

Although I may sometimes act like I'm an expert on these things, I'm really an ignoramus when it comes to criminal law. Now I'm kicking myself for not checking any sooner into the statute of limitations. I had wrongly assumed that the clock starts running when prosecutors learn about a crime, but in fact it starts running when the crime is committed (with limited exceptions that don't apply here).

The 2-year statute for misdemeanors means that it is now too late to prosecute Envision Ogden for any of the misdemeanors that it committed in raising its funds (e.g., violations of the Charitable Solicitations Act), or to prosecute FNURE or candidates Johnson and Eccles for misdemeanor violations of Ogden's campaign disclosure ordinance.

And the 4-year statute of limitations for felonies will start to expire in January of next year, four years after EO's first solicitations occurred.

Perhaps I should add that the last time I spoke to the investigator, in late October, I got the impression that little or nothing would happen in this case before Christmas. If we had decided to wait until then before releasing the report on the 2009 investigation, there would have been practically no time at all for the AG office to conduct the investigation and file charges regarding the initial solicitations. Now, at least, they cannot quietly let the statute of limitations expire while nobody notices.

Danny said...

Investigators said Friends of Northern Utah Real Estate "clearly violated" a city disclosure law that prohibits one person or organization from making another's campaign donation.

So does that mean that Gary Williams is "clearly" incompetent, "clearly" a liar, "clearly" Godfrey's lapdog, or what?

Dan S. said...

Interesting, by the way, that the AP article makes no mention of Mayor Godfrey. The same was true of Wednesday's Standard-Examiner article.

ozboy said...

Jump and shout all you want, but the bottom line is that the little bastard and his circle of lying scampsters are going to get away with this sleazy series of crimes - just like they have in all of their past exploits. The punk boss and his suck ups ain't exactly novices at breaking what ever law they find to be inconvenient.

Ain't nobody with any authority to do anything about it gonna do nothin about it! They will make a litte noise and pretend to look into it, but in the end they will do diddly squat, and the bastards will live to commit more criminal infractions as time goes by.

As long as they (Godfrey and friends) are representing that they are trying to turn Ogden around, and rescue it from the darkies, ain't nobody in any authority gonna do shit about the Godfreyite's well established criminal methods of operation.

The future citizens of Ogden can just simply buck up and pay through their collective noses for the zillions of dollars of debt incurred through the Godfryite folly of the past several years.

Nothin gonna change unless, and until, the gread unwashed of Ogden finally wakes up and votes the little pecker head out of office!

pragmatist said...

Hopefully, our newly elected crook will not be as incompetent.

Curmudgeon said...

Ernie:

Exactly right. What matters, or in a state where the AG's office is honestly run, what ought to matter is whether or not the allegations are true, not the motives of the people making them. It's beginning to look like the AG's office simply stalled until the Statute of Limitations ran out on several of the players involved [all Republicans, I think], and will now make a grand show of starting over from scratch as the clock runs out on the only remaining possible action.

If I were of a suspicious turn of mind, I might begin to wonder if the fix was in with the AG's office from the git-go to drag its feet until it was too late to act on illegal conduct turned up on the part of most of those involved.

Nicely Done said...

We gotta wait for the feasibility study results for the field house before the AG can do anything guys and gals....this whole thing stinks and unfortunately I fear nothing will happen

Dan S. said...

Curm:

There's more than one remaining possible action:

1. The mayor and/or his staff can be prosecuted for use of office for personal benefit, for soliciting contributions and allowing Envision Ogden to use the Salomon Center.

2. Anyone who solicited contributions can be prosecuted for communications fraud, for misleading contributors about the nature of Envision Ogden.

3. Johnson (and perhaps others) can be prosecuted for money laundering, for concealing the source of the contributions.

All of these are felonies. There may also be potential conspiracy charges, which could also be felonies.

But time is now short. The crimes were committed between January and November, 2007. The statute of limitations is four years.

PROTECTYOUROWN said...

Could this be a case of "protecting your own" by the attorneys involved? Running out the clock is a tried and true strategy. Blain Johnson may not be joining the "corndog thief" with jail time afterall. Pity.....

Sad Day, sad day said...

I guess that the next step is to let the judicial council now go after the AG office of misfeasance of office. Maybe there is justice in all this. So is the fall guy going to be the AG himself?

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

The problem is that they are felonies. I doubt they'll go to charges on felonies for the [relatively] small potatoes laundering of money in Council races. There was a much higher likelihood I think of something coming of lesser violations, and the opportunity for that has passed.

I'm also wondering about the city attorney. Didn't all this go on under his nose and he managed not to be bothered by any of it? Or was it not his charge to go after violations of the municipal ordinances? I don't know. I'm asking.

Curmudgeon said...

Sad Day:

Please do not bet the money for the baby's new shoes on that happening.

Dan S. said...

Curm: if the potential charges didn't include felonies, the AG office wouldn't have gotten involved in the first place.

just wondering said...

As I recall, Shreve declined to talk to investigators until he had lawyered up - maybe next week. Did that ever happen i.e., did he hire an attorney or, was he referring to using the Ogden City hack? Also, did the so-called investigators ever bother getting back to Mr. Shreve?

Curmudgeon said...

JW:

You wrote: "As I recall, Shreve declined to talk to investigators until he had lawyered up."

I can't criticize him for that. If I had even the vague suspicion that the AG's office or law enforcement people of any sort wanted to interview me about my actions that they thought might possibly have violated felony statutes, I'd decline to talk to them until I'd gotten legal advice first. He'd have been a damn fool not to have done that. People who've gone the "I've done nothing wrong. What do I need a lawyer?" route have sometimes come to regret it I think.

FPS said...

Looks like this article was printed in Sunday's Deseret News:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700084368/Utah-AG-reopens-fraud-probe-of-Envision-Ogden.html

Dan S. said...

Breaking news:

Tom DeLay guilt of laundering campaign contributions

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