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Busted? No way, county attorney says

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

With Park City facing a housing crunch it appeared this week perhaps the county’s top attorney can’t currently afford to live in the area.

Summit County Attorney David Brickey, however, insists he will soon live in the county full time, in compliance with state residency requirements for politicians.

A house Brickey owns in Salt Lake City, where his wife and children reside, however, is raising questions about whether he presently is meeting the spirit of the law.

"I am complying with the letter of the law," Brickey, a Republican, insists. "I have every intent to be a Summit County resident."

But the allegations this week dogged the former county prosecutor who is unchallenged in his Election Day bid to retain his office and $105,000 annual salary.

The Summit County Commission knew he lived in Salt Lake when he was appointed to replace former County Attorney Bob Adkins, a Democrat who retired to become a district court judge in 2005.

"When I interviewed with the County Commission, I said, we haven’t moved up here because I’m not the county attorney," Brickey said.

Though state law requires he intend to become a Summit County resident, sometimes Brickey spends nights in Salt Lake, he said.

However, Brickey told the Salt Lake County Assessor’s Office his primary residence is in Sugar House when he qualified for a reduction in his property taxes.

By leasing an apartment on Park Avenue in Old Town Park City, he is able to comply with the residency requirements for political candidates, Brickey claimed in a telephone interview.

"The law does not require my wife and children to live with me," Brickey said.

According to a spokesman in the Lt. Governor’s Office, no formal complaints had been lodged Friday regarding Brickey’s candidacy.

"The law does not say you have to sleep six nights a week, or three nights a week or one night a week," Summit County Democratic Party chairman Rob Weyher said. "Brickey is doing a good job and I think he has complied with the spirit of the law."

Complaints from Weyher last spring resulted in Park City Olympian Jim Shea withdrawing from a Statehouse race after his residency was questioned.

Brickey wouldn’t comment about how often he sleeps at his apartment in Park City, adding, "That places my family at risk and I already have had my car vandalized in Park City."

In April of 2005, county commissioners instructed Brickey to find a home in Summit County within a few weeks of his appointment as the county’s chief law enforcement official.

So he rented an apartment in Park City from longtime friend Greg Skordas, an attorney in Salt Lake City, Brickey said.

"I can’t afford to sell my house right now," he added.

Still, when asked whether developments this week could impact Brickey’s ability to serve, Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer said, "I do not know what the procedure is."

According to Summit County Clerk Sue Follett, after Brickey was appointed to the county’s top law enforcement post, "He brought in a lease, we registered him to vote and he signed at the bottom that he was a resident."

Brickey is currently running unopposed for his first four-year term.

"I’m trying to be the best damn county attorney this county has had," Brickey said.


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