Dave Adams hopes to leave a legacy of a booming economy and a Winter Olympic bid, not one of indictments and scandal.
The resigning director of the state's Community and Economic Development Department, Adams says he is leaving state government at a time when his efforts are ready to bear fruit. He is confident that a highly publicized state attorney general's investigation of his office will uncover no wrongdoing.Adams, a former developer whose chief trademarks are a boyish grin and an enthusiastic demeanor, announced his resignation last week after four years as director of one of the state's most high-profile jobs.
He said his decision had nothing to do with the probe, which state Attorney General Paul Van Dam said is continuing. The investigation centers on alleged ethics violations concerning Adams' involvement with the Utah Sports Foundation, the privatized arm of the state's sports development office.
The possible violations first were mentioned in a legislative audit last year.
"This sports development thing has been hanging over my head," Adams said in an interview earlier this week. "It's been blown so far out of proportion by certain members of the press."
Adams said he has no concerns about the investigation.
"I have peace of mind," he said. "There are always corrections to be made after audits. None of us is perfect. Obviously, if I had the privatization to do over again I'd do it differently."
Adams was referring to the way the state chose to grant a contract to the Sports Foundation. The Sports Foundation was the only company to submit a bid, and the audit suggested other companies should have been involved.
Although he's not sure what he will do when he leaves state government, Adams said the time is right - finally - for him to resign.
"I really wanted just to do it for three years," he said. But, after three years, he decided it would hurt Bangerter, a long-time friend, if he left in the middle of a difficult re-election campaign.
"As you know, the economy had gone to hell in a handbasket during those three years. I decided to stay on," he said.
Adams would have left after Bangerter's re-election, but the Sports Foundation audit was in the headlines and he didn't want to appear to be leaving in disgrace. Besides, he wanted to work during the 1989 legislative session.
"If I want to be out by the summer, now is the time to leave," he said.
Despite the hard times, Adams has presided over unprecedented growth in his department. The state's economic development budget has grown from $1 million yearly to $10 million since 1985.
Adams has remained optimistic and cheerful, calling his position the best in state government and saying he has learned to greatly appreciate government and the democratic system.
Ironically, the things Adams feels best about are the things accomplished by the Sports Foundation with the state's help. Thanks to that office, he believes, the state will soon win the U.S. bid to host the 1998 Winter Olympics.