Attorney’s residency flap goes to court
January 13, 2007
Whether Summit County Attorney David Brickey lived in the county when he was elected in November might determine if the area’s top law enforcement official completes his first full term in office.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff this week asked a Third District Court judge in the Snyderville Basin to decide if Brickey broke the law last year by declaring himself a candidate for the Summit County attorney post even though he lived in Salt Lake City.
"The majority of time Brickey lives with his wife and children in their home in Salt Lake County," Shurtleff’s 3-page complaint for declaratory relief states. "Utah law requires that a county attorney be a resident and maintain his residency in the county during his term."
Because the law presumes a man’s residence is where his family resides, " Brickey is presumed to be a resident of Salt Lake County," according to Shurtleff.
Brickey receives a property tax discount because he declared his house in Salt Lake City his primary residence, according to the Salt Lake County Assessor’s Office.
"The issue has been raised whether Brickey is properly holding office as county attorney," Shurtleff states in his civil complaint.
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By the time Brickey was appointed in 2005 by the Summit County Commission to replace former County Attorney Bob Adkins, he had sold his home near Jeremy Ranch and moved his family to Salt Lake City.
Brickey won his first 4-year term running unopposed in November.
When he was appointed, commissioners encouraged Brickey, if he intended to pursue the elected position, to move back to Summit County.
"If the court removes David Brickey from office then we’ll have to appoint a county attorney to fill the interim," said Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott. "We never have been concerned."
According to Elliott, "I’m giving a house-warming party for him because he is moving to Ranch Place."
Shurtleff’s allegations were dismissed by County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme, who says, "the AG’s the AG and I’m me."
"We just consider the source," said Woolstenhulme, who refused to elaborate on the comment.
Woolstenhulme may be upset with Salt Lake City television reporters who may be responsible for outing Brickey to the attorney general.
When reports surfaced last year that Brickey spent much of his time in Salt Lake City after leasing a condominium from his friend Greg Skordas in Old Town "for a nominal amount," Shurtleff got complaints.
The most high profile of those perhaps from Mike Fierro, a detective in Park City who accused Brickey of voter fraud after the county attorney cast a ballot in Summit County in November while his primary home was declared in Salt Lake City.
But Brickey should be allowed to continue to serve as Summit County attorney, argued Skordas, who represents Brickey in the case involving the attorney general.
"The attorney general is not asking that he be removed from office," Skordas said, adding that state prosecutors seek "guidance" in the case. "I know [Brickey] has complied with the law."
Slordas wouldn’t discuss Thursday how much rent Brickey paid him each month to live in his condominium.
"I’m not comfortable saying," he said. "It was certainly below market value."
Within 20 days Skordas is expected to formally respond to Shurtleff on Brickey’s behalf.
"[Brickey] understood that he needed to get a residence in Summit County," Skordas said. "He’s just a great guy and I hope he keeps his job."