Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Envision Ogden Anniversary and Update

Statute of limitations has expired on mayor’s confessed crimes actions.

By Dan Schroeder

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the grand fundraising dinner where Envision Ogden raised most of its money--approximately $50,000--prior to the start of the 2007 municipal election campaign. While purporting to be a “nonprofit” organization to promote Ogden’s business and recreational opportunities, Envision Ogden was actually a political action committee, raising money to funnel to political campaigns. More than $20,000 ended up in the campaign coffers of city council candidates Blain Johnson and Royal Eccles, while additional thousands went to a legislative candidate, to the Utah Republican Party, and to independent expenditures in support of Mayor Godfrey’s own campaign.

Three months ago, the press reported for the first time that Mayor Godfrey admitted playing a major role in Envision Ogden, suggesting candidates to support and personally soliciting most of their large contributions. The press also reported that the Utah Attorney General’s Office had opened a criminal investigation of Envision Ogden in April 2009. Finally, the Salt Lake City newspapers reported that the two-year statute of limitations had already run out on the many potential misdemeanor charges for Envision Ogden’s deceptions, and that the statute of limitations for the potential felony charges would run out four years after the associated actions took place.

Today, therefore, is the day that Mayor Godfrey can breathe a heavy sigh of relief. Thanks to the four-year statute of limitations, he can no longer be charged with communications fraud, or with use of office for personal benefit, for the solicitations that he made prior to Envision Ogden’s major fundraising event. (Of course, Mayor Godfrey maintains that these solicitations were completely legal.)

Felony charges could still be brought for some of Envision Ogden’s subsequent activities. They continued to receive contributions after the fundraising dinner, and solicited additional contributions for the Salomon Center Sneak Peek event held in June 2007. However, it isn’t clear whether Godfrey played a role in this subsequent fundraising. He obviously did play a role in allowing Envision Ogden to use the Salomon Center for the Sneak Peek event, so he could still potentially be charged with use of office for personal benefit. Finally, Blain Johnson could still be charged with money laundering for his acceptance of over $20,000 from Envision Ogden, and for funneling these funds through an intermediate checking account (“Friends of Northern Utah Real Estate”) to conceal their source.

Meanwhile, Scott Reed of the Utah Attorney General’s Office continues to claim that the investigation remains open. When I inquired on January 13, he said we could “expect a public announcement within the next couple weeks.”

6 comments:

TURNUPTHEHEAT said...

Dan, Thank you for keeping FNURE and Envision Ogden in the forefront and allowing "possible criminals" from sweeping this under the carpet. Charlie Rangel, Tom Delay, William Jefferson and Rick Renzi used their political positions and influence to "make a better life" for themselves and those involved with the aforementioned organizations should be dealt with in the same manner. Politicians, even at the city and county levels should be held to a higher level of ethics and honesty due to their influence over large numbers of citizens. In addition, many of these politicians are educated attorneys and know the laws intimately. There can be no excuse for this behavior. Blain Johnson's answer to the complaint "I don't believe I did anything wrong" is just not acceptable! If the Utah attorney generals office and/or Ogden City allow these situations to go unchecked, what impact will it have on future Ogden politics? There is no better time and no better situations for Ogden City to bring these political antics to an end.......

Edmund B. said...

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Frank said...

As long as we have a one party, pay to play, state like we do here in Utah, we will never see the power brokers allow any prosecution of their own. Shurtleff flat out will never allow the AG's office to do any meaningful investigation of the rampant crimes committed on a regular basis by the Godfreyites, and he will never receive any pressure from the other GOP "leaders" to do so. It is called protecting your own and it is a fine art in Utah government.

blackrulon said...

Wow! I can just feel the healing beginning.

Bill C. said...

Well folks, now that the small stuff is outta the way, the only just recourse is to hammer these guys appropriately, felonies.
Everyone that has looked seriously at this case has conceded that there have been clear violations of the laws.
How can any public servant put himself above the law by allowing the petty likes of Johnson and Godfrey to walk away unscathed?
Every descision maker involed in this needs to hear from the public.
Gentlemen, start your E-mails.

Curiuos 1 said...

Didn't the US Attorney General get involved when locals didn't in some cases. Just curious as usual.

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