Workman Bills County for Legal Expenses

Workman Bills County for Legal Expenses

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Former Salt Lake County Mayor Nancy Workman has billed the county for nearly $200,000 in legal expenses incurred defending herself last year against felony charges of an alleged misuse of county funds.

Workman was acquitted of the charges in February.

She also has asked that her $196,811 in legal fees be paid by April 15.

"The lawsuit should have never happened," said Workman, whose attorneys told her from the beginning that the county would have to pay her legal fees.

John Solits, civil litigation director for the district attorney's office, disputes the assumption that the county should pay Workman's bill.

He says the DA's office and current Mayor Peter Corroon should determine if the fees are reasonable and if Workman is entitled to reimbursement. There's also a question about whether to apply the Government Immunity Act, which protects governments from liability when an employee commits fraud or misconduct.

The Utah Supreme Court has never ruled in such a case, Solits said, adding that the county will make a decision on Workman's request by tax day.

Workman attorney Greg Skordas says to deny Workman's request would be "a significant departure from county procedure."

"We expect it will be paid in a fair manner." Skordas wrote in a letter dated March 25.

Skordas offered to waive just under $5,000 of the total bill if the county cuts a check by April 15. Workman borrowed $65,000 against her mortgage in order to pay her lawyers.

Workman, a Republican and the first person to serve as county mayor, ended a bid for re-election last fall after District Attorney David Yocom, a Democrat, charged her with two felonies. Yocom alleged that Workman used public funds to hire two bookkeepers for the South Valley Boys and Girls Club run by her daughter.

Besides getting her legal bills paid. Workman is seeking clarification from Yocom's office as to how she can spend about $175,000 in campaign funds left sitting in an account since she withdrew from the mayor race.

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

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