An investigation conducted by the Utah County Sheriff's Office found nothing wrong with the way the Utah County Department of Substance Abuse refers clients to alcohol treatment providers.
The sheriff's office began investigating the Substance Abuse Department in October after two providers complained about improprieties in the way Bruce Burdick, director of the Substance Abuse Department, referred court-ordered treatment for DUI offenders.Robert Stringham, a counselor for Assessment and Psycho-therapy Associates Inc., and Roger Coplen, director of DUI Educational Associates, both accused Burdick of favoritism. The sheriff's office also received a complaint that Burdick was receiving kickbacks from providers.
Coplen accused Burdick of supplying Stringham with privileged client information and of not fulfilling obligations in awarding contracts for 1991. Stringham accused Coplen of billing both the client and the Substance Abuse Department for the same service.
Sheriff David Bateman said investigators looked for evidence supporting the kickback and double-billing allegations but were unable to find any. Investigators also found no evidence supporting the favoritism claims.
"There was no glaring evidence that favoritism or anything else had taken place. And from what we could see, the contracts had been awarded objectively," Bateman said.
Before closing the investigation, the sheriff's office waited for the results of a state audit of Burdick's, Coplen's and Stringham's records. Bateman said that investigation also revealed no wrongdoing.
"As far as we are concerned the case is closed," Bateman said. "We found nothing that indicated the allegations were valid and either did the state audit."
However, Bateman said the sheriff's investigation did not focus on whether documents obtained by Stringham from Burdick's secretary contained privileged information.
In December, former county attorney Steve Killpack said that even though the the sheriff's office had cleared Burdick, he had heard that state officials were going to conduct another investigation to determine if the documents obtained by Stringham were public record or confidential. But Burdick said he recently heard from a State Office of Management Liability official who said his office is not being investigated and that the matter is closed.
Burdick said clients are referred to providers on the basis of which day they desire treatment. The schedules of each provider varies and the number of clients they receive depends on coordinating schedules. Because of scheduling conflicts, Burdick said, it is hard to ensure that each provider will receive the same number of clients.
"I do not try to give one provider more clients than another. It just happens sometimes because the clients choose when they want to receive treatment," he said. "It's their choice, not mine."