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Katie McKeller, KSL, File

Gary Ott's family settles with fiancee, leaving her his house

By Katie McKellar, KSL | Posted - Apr 16th, 2018 @ 8:05pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — The family of former Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott, who died after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, has signed a settlement agreement with his former employee and fiancee who was accused of hiding his condition, leaving her his house and other belongings.

Karmen Sanone — who was Ott's girlfriend and caretaker, as well as his employee in the recorder's office — has been locked in legal fights with Ott's siblings since before his death in October, which came amid a court battle over whether Sanone or Ott's siblings should be his permanent guardian and financial conservator.

Ott's death ended the court proceeding, leading Sanone to file a new suit in October for Ott's estate and a separate petition claiming she was Ott's common-law wife.

Nearly six months later, on March 26, Sanone and Ott's family reached an agreement to terms leaving Sanone Ott's Salt Lake City home, his farm equipment, vehicles, some guns, gun safes, and an array of other personal belongings including kitchenware and Christmas decorations, according to court documents.

Sanone will also take responsibility for the home's mortgage, and the remaining balance of an equity loan, which caused Ott's house to fall into default when payments weren't being made last year. Sanone attributed the nearly yearlong missed payments to a banking error.

Ott's siblings — Kathy Chamberlain, Kristine Williams and Martin Ott — who manage the estate, will control Ott's bank accounts and retirement accounts, along with remaining guns, vehicles, some camera equipment and a wedding ring.

The estate will also receive a $28,000 lien against the home, which Sanone will pay by April 2019 or when she sells or refinances the home, whichever comes first.

The agreement states it's "a full and complete settlement of all claims" between Sanone and Ott's family through March 26, including the case in which Sanone claimed she was Ott's common-law wife.

The settlement comes after years of controversy over Ott, who remained a county elected official collecting about $180,000 a year in taxpayer-paid salary and benefits while he suffered from a progressive form of dementia. He was diagnosed in 2013, a year before his last 2014 re-election campaign. It wasn't until last summer, when his family signed a resignation agreement with county officials, that he left the office.

But the settlement may not be the end of the battle between Sanone and Ott's family. Ott's siblings' attorney, Mary Corporon, declined to comment Monday, citing possible pending litigation.

Sanone and her attorney, Scott Hansen, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

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