The Utah attorney general's office has agreed to investigate allegations of mismanagement and the misuse of public funds at the Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center, Associate Chief Attorney General Paul Warner said Friday.
Utah County Attorney Steve Killpack asked the attorney general's office a week ago to look into the charges after allegations surfaced last month that center officials may have misused more than $1 million in public funds. Auditors from the legislative auditor's office are expected to finish an audit of the center Tuesday or Wednesday.Killpack, who worked for the center as a mental health officer when he was director of mental competency for the county, said he felt it was inappropriate for his office to handle a possible criminal investigation.
"The monies in question are state monies, the contracts in question are state human service contracts and the auditing team is a state team," he said. In addition, he said, Timp Mental Health and the county enjoy a close relationship.
"I don't see a conflict of interest. But it seems more appropriate that the attorney general's office handle it," Killpack said.
"In fairness to Steve and his office, we think we have to do it," Warner said. "There is sufficient reason to believe there may be criminal misconduct."
The investigation will include a review of the audit, Warner said. The attorney general's office also will conduct its own examination of the center's records, possibly doing a separate financial audit, he said.
"There are a lot of records to look at, " Warner said. "I don't look for a very quick resolution."