Utah County Democratic Party leaders Friday appealed to 4th District judges to impanel a grand jury to investigate possible criminal activity at the Timpanogos Community Mental Center.

"This is the responsible way to have the Timp Mental Health situation answered," said county Democratic Party Chairman Bob Stringham during a Friday morning press conference.Democrats passed a resolution during the party's nominating convention May 14, calling on local party leaders to write and request 4th District judges to call a grand jury. Stringham, party Vice Chairwoman LaVon Laursen and party Secretary Vera B. Nielsen signed the letter.

"It is our feeling that a grand jury would be the most efficient and the most cost-effective way to bring into the light the truth about the alleged wrongdoing at the center," the letter said.

"It has been reported in the media that many reports and records from Timp Mental Health are missing. Since there are now at least 14 separate agencies that intend to audit the center, we fear that more records will be lost. It also appears extremely expensive to have 14 separate audits."

The letter says taxpayers and mental health clients would be best served by a grand jury investigation.

Stringham denied that the call for a grand jury is politically motivated. He said a grand jury will take politics out of the investigation. Speeches made during last week's convention, however, pointed to the Timp Mental Health scandal as a possible issue to help resurrect the Democratic Party in Utah County.

"We are a viable political force, and we're moving forward," Stringham said.