GENOLA A town councilman in this Utah County community who has crusaded against what he terms "government corruption" has been accused of deceitful practices.
Less than two weeks ago, Mayor Eric Hazelet received a curt, anonymous letter stating the Utah State Bar recently disciplined Town Councilman Chris Greenwood a lawyer by trade. The complaint, signed by "a concerned citizen," called for an investigation.
"I believe it is important that our council members reflect the values of the town of Genola by being honest and upstanding in all they do," the letter stated.
Genola is a small town southwest of Payson.
Greenwood confirmed he had been disciplined once by the bar, but he maintains that has nothing to do with his performance as a town official. He said he thinks the letter writer is someone who is desperately trying to discredit him.
"They're reaching if they want to try to attack me personally," he said.
According to documents obtained from the Utah State Bar Office of Professional Conduct, Greenwood received a public reprimand on April 30 for violating rules regarding truthfulness in statements to others and misconduct. A reprimand is considered a disciplinary measure meant to declare the conduct of a lawyer improper, but it does not limit the lawyer's right to practice.
The reprimand against Greenwood stems from a hotly contested, drawn-out divorce. During the process, Greenwood prepared a stipulation and order and submitted it to the attorney for the other party. Greenwood then submitted a second order with different terms concerning ownership of the house. He failed to attach a cover letter to the order explaining the changes. As a result, a bar screening panel said the incident was tantamount to misstatement of fact.
"Mr. Greenwood's conduct was deceitful and had the strong potential of prejudicing the administration of justice," the panel stated in its finding of facts.
Since Greenwood had no prior disciplinary history, the panel decided to merely issue a public reprimand. The panel said it also based its decision on "good character" and "lack of any substantial actual harm resulting from conduct."
Greenwood said he chalks the incident up to "one of those innocent mistakes."
"I ... have made changes to make sure I do not make the simple mistake again," he said.
Whether this will have any bearing on his position with the town remains to be seen. Hazelet did not return multiple requests for comment Monday.
Greenwood has been outspoken against the Genola Meadows Subdivision at 350 E. 800 North a joint venture between Genola and Planning Commission Chairman Marty Larson because of perceived noncompliances and conflicts of interest involving town officials. The town's minimum lot size is 2.5 acres, and eight of the development's 10 lots range in size from 2.08 to 2.31 acres.
Town Councilman Bryan Draper also holds three trust deeds on lots in the subdivision. And his son, Dale Draper, was hired by the town as project manger without a public bidding process. Dale Draper's contract with the city has been terminated.
Last week, 11 trees surrounding Greenwood's house were cut down shortly after a heated Town Council meeting in which the council voted to lift a temporary injunction on issuing building permits on the Genola Meadows subdivision.
Greenwood said whoever sent the anonymous complaint is trying to make as much out of the reprimand as possible, but he doesn't think the incident has any bearing on his service on the Town Council."I do the best I can under my oath of office to support, obey and defend the Constitution," he said.