Cedar Hills residents look for healing and a fresh start following decade of controversy

Published: Saturday, June 30 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

"I don't think he's a devious person at all," she said. "He's just made some obviously poor decisions."

The task now falls to the City Council to appoint a new mayor. Martinez said the public has been notified that the position is open and the council will conduct interviews during a special council meeting July 19. She said she's looking for someone who is open minded and has goals for the city.

"We want to look at what their overall vision is for the community and that they're open to listening to residents," she said.

Augustus said he's looking for a candidate who is well-rounded and can work to bring residents together and heal the divisiveness in the community.

"We need somebody that is strong," he said. "We need someone who can get outside the box and think about what our community needs."

Augustus and Martinez both said there is an opportunity with the transition to have a fresh start, moving away from the years of controversy and contention.

"I hope this can give us an opportunity to actually step in and do our job," Augustus said. "We need to have all the residents come together."

Johnson echoed the sentiment, saying that rank-and-file Cedar Hills residents are weary of the incessant contention in everything from alleged scandals to bickering over commercial development and Sunday shopping regulations. More than anything, he said he hopes outsiders realize there's more to the community than political infighting.

"We're normal people and the government is 1 percent of our lives," he said. "Most of the time the people like each other and we raise our kids together and I couldn't imagine living in a better place in Utah."

Info Box

Cedar Hills timeline of events

 • May 8, 2001: Voters approve $7 million bond for golf course.

• Nov. 4, 2009: Eric Richardson defeats Jerry Dearinger in mayoral race.

• Sept. 2010: Federal agents search Richardson's home as part of an investigation into Christopher Hales.

• March 10, 2011: Residents file a petition over city's plans to build golf course recreation center.

• Nov. 1, 2011: Christopher Hales sentenced to 90 months in federal prison.

• Jan. 27, 2012: Paul Sorensen and Ken Severn file 46 pages of allegations against Richardson.

• Feb. 17, 2012: Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman says his office will not investigate the complaint against Richardson.

• May 1, 2012: City manager, city recorder and building and zoning officer resign from their positions.

• May 2, 2012: Richardson is accused in a federal complaint of soliciting more than $2 million in fraudulent investments.

• May 15, 2012: City Council approves an external audit into golf course finances.

• May 18, 2012: City officials agree to provide public records after meeting with State Records Ombudsman.

• June 15, 2012: State Records Committee orders city officials to comply with a public records request filed by Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government.

 June 24, 2012: Richardson resigns without explanation.

 June 27, 2012: Richardson is charged with bank fraud.  




E-mail: benwood@desnews.com

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