DA: No Criminal Wrongdoing in Mayor's Turin Trip

DA: No Criminal Wrongdoing in Mayor's Turin Trip

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom has concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing in Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's Olympics-related goodwill trip to Turin, Italy, in July.

In a letter to the mayor on Monday, Yocom wrote Monday that, "It is the conclusion of this office that no criminal acts occurred in the solicitation or expenditure of public funds for the 'Message to Torino Project.' "

Democrat Yocom was investigating the trip at the request of the county's Republican Party, which accused Anderson of misusing public funds because Anderson brought his friends and his girlfriend on the trip and the city reimbursed some of their expenses with private donations.

Yocom said a second inquiry into Anderson's use of a city credit card to pay a bar tab was not included in Monday's decision because it is a civil matter.

Critics contended that Anderson violated city policy by spending taxpayer money on alcohol while entertaining guests during the city's jazz festival last summer. Anderson has since changed that policy to allow the purchase of alcohol. He also reimbursed the city for the expenditure.

While taxpayer money was initially expended for some of the Turin trip costs, it was reimbursed with private funds so that no city funds were used for the $136,715 trek, which included for some members bicycle trips from Salt Lake City to New York and from Belgium to Torino.

The city attorney had cleared the Turin expenses before the trek, saying reimbursing the non-city employees' expenses was legal.

Anderson issued a statement late Monday praising the trip, but adding, ""It is regrettable that this accomplishment has been virtually ignored by much of our local media, while it was greeted so enthusiastically across the United States and in Europe.

"One must also lament that politics has reached such a low level that some have tried to score partisan political points by besmirching the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices of several people who achieved such a great feat on behalf of Salt Lake City," Anderson said.

Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman James Evans, who requested the investigation, said the worst display of partisan politics was by the district attorney's office in finding no fault in Anderson's use of public money.

"I think the public now will come to understand the good old boys network on the Democratic Party side. They'll do what they want and they'll make the law fit whatever it is they want to do," he said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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