By TRAVIS REED
Associated Press Writer
SALT LAKE CITY – The mayor of Utah’s most populous county was charged Tuesday with misusing public money by placing a county employee at a nonprofit group as a bookkeeper to assist her daughter, who is the group’s chief financial officer.
The two felony charges mean Workman will be placed on paid administrative leave.
Last week, a panel of four prosecutors from neighboring counties said they’d found “sufficient credible evidence” for charging Workman with misusing $17,000 in taxpayer funds.
Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom, a Democrat who has clashed with the Republican Workman, turned over the investigation to the panel, which found charges against the mayor warranted, but left to Yocom the decision on whether to prosecute.
Workman has been defiant since reports of the alleged misuse of money emerged, saying there was no criminal intent in her actions. She dismissed any mistakes as a “procedural problem.”
“We’re going to prevail in this little deal with the DA’s office,” she said last week, responding to the panel’s announcement.
Workman has repeatedly mentioned the benefits the deal gave the Boys and Girls Club. When asked how an accountant would help kids, Workman said club leaders told her they could use a full-time bookkeeper.
Workman said this was not the responsibility of her daughter, the club’s chief financial officer, who oversaw a bigger financial picture that didn’t include keeping books, she said.
Workman acknowledges using about $17,000 in Health Department funds to hire a bookkeeper for the nonprofit South Valley Boys and Girls Club, but has said she did the right thing “to help those kids.”