Some Lehi residents have established a fund to help their mayor in his legal battle over recent allegations about land-sales profits.
The Utah County attorney's office charged Guy Cash on May 2 in 4th Circuit Court with receiving unlawful compensation as an elected official. That third-degree felony stemmed from an investigation by the Utah County sheriff's office into a land transaction involving a residential lot owned by the city, during which Cash allegedly acted both as mayor and as a real estate agent.The lot in question was one of 10 in the Cedar Hollow subdivision that the city acquired through default on payments in a special improvement district. On Oct. 25, 1990, Cash allegedly sold one of the lots without notifying other city officials and received a commission on that sale.
Cash is not commenting on the matter. Lehi businessman Russ Schneider said Cash is concerned about the emotional and financial costs of fighting a lawsuit.
"He was really down and told me he was wondering how long he could remain mayor," Schneider said.
Consequently, Schneider has founded a Mayoral Assistance Fund, administered by the city's Wasatch Bank franchise, to aid Cash financially in his legal struggle.
Schneider said he has received an avalanche of phone calls since founding the fund. He said most callers support the mayor, with a margin of 10-to-1 saying at least that he should have his day in court.
"Everybody in this town knows what kind of man Guy Cash is," he said. "There is just no guile in this man, and if there's a problem with him it's that he cares too much about Lehi."
Schneider said the fund is being set up not to necessarily keep Cash in office but to ensure that Cash "has the due process of law." He said Cash has already been tried and convicted in some officials' eyes.
"There's a belief among certain residents here that this whole matter could have been taken care of in-house - that Guy could have resolved this all with the City Council after he'd realized what he's done. He should have had the chance to correct his mistake."
Schneider said much of the to-do about the issue comes from internal squabbling between members of the council and the mayor.
In particular, Schneider said Councilman Keith Jenkins met with two other council members - Johnny Barnes and C. Wesley Rasmussen - without consulting the other council members, Carolyn Player and Sherwin Allred, a move he calls unethical in its own right.
"I realize that this happens in small towns - they may have even met over coffee or on the phone. But this was done without full communication of the council, and that smacks of dirty pool."