Cedar Hills • Officials misled residents over golf course, critics say.
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Utah County prosecutors are examining complaints that Cedar Hills' mayor and city manager misappropriated funds to build a clubhouse at the city golf course.
The 46-page complaint filed with 4th District Judge Samuel McVey by residents Paul Sorensen and Ken Severn alleges that Mayor Eric Richardson and City Manager Konrad Hildebrandt took $371,726 in impact fees that were to be used for a recreation center and pool to subsidize the golf course.
The residents also claim that Hildebrandt received a $9,000 raise without City Council approval, misled residents about the impact fees and conspired to block an initiative on the golf course issue.
"We hope the facts will come out," said Sorensen, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in 2009 and 2011.
Hildebrandt said he and Richardson could not comment on the matter beyond a written statement in which they denied any wrongdoing.
"During my term as mayor I have done my utmost to perform all of my duties and responsibilities by law, resolution or ordinance," Richardson said in the statement. "Further, I have tried to ensure that all of the laws, ordinances and resolutions are faithfully executed and observed."
The court transferred the complaint to the Utah County Attorney's Office for investigation.
Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said Friday he was examining it to determine if an investigation is warranted.
Sorensen was satisfied that the county attorney was looking into the matter.
Sorensen said the impact fees were collected to build a city recreation center and pool, but instead were diverted to the golf course, which he argued has been losing money. He said the diversion created the impression that the golf course was making money.
In an earlier interview, Hildebrandt said greens fees were covering the operating expenses for the course, but residents had to pay off a $6.25 million bond on the course.
Sorensen also claims the city thwarted an effort by residents to put to a public vote the use of recreation impact fees to pay for a Cedar Hills Community Recreation Center at the golf course.
Critics attempted to block the building, which will double as a clubhouse for the golf course, on the grounds that the impact fees funding its construction were meant for a recreation center and pool.
In an earlier interview, Hildebrant said the clubhouse would do double duty as a community center, as well as make the golf course more profitable by providing a place for wedding receptions.
The center replaces a temporary shed that was used for cart storage and a trailer that served as the golf course office. It will be completed later this year.