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STATE ENDS INVESTIGATION OF DE HAAS

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The Utah attorney general's office says it has found no substance to three allegations against Hans de Haas, the city's former police chief.

A city investigation continues, however, the results of which will be reported to the City Council on June 16, according to City Manager David C. Campbell.De Haas on Monday reiterated assertions publicized over the weekend that he has been the target of a vendetta by former City Manager Andrew Hatton-Ward. In remarks published Sunday, de Haas said he's "taking the kid gloves off."

"I'm tired of being a nice guy," he said. "My honor is at stake. I'm a fighter, and I have to fight back."

Asked Monday exactly what he meant by those comments, he said, "I'll do everything legally in my power to right the wrong that's been done."

But Hatton-Ward said de Haas is solely responsible for the position he's in.

"It's interesting to suggest that I am the only one that ever had any difficulty with him when the entire Police Department and the community at large has stood up and said they don't feel confident in his ability as chief of police," Hatton-Ward said. "He reminds me of a child caught doing something wrong but has to blame somebody else."

Hatton-Ward said that regardless of whether criminal wrongdoing is proved against de Haas, questions about his character should preclude him from the office.

"The real issue everybody seems to be forgetting is whether he ought to be chief of police; the issue is not whether he's a criminal," Hatton-Ward said. "The question you have to ask yourself is: `Is this guy the best guy for this position? Do you want someone there who has threatened legal action against you, someone who lied on his initial application?' "

De Haas came to Draper more than two years ago from California, where he resigned a police-officer post after two allegations of police brutality, though he was cleared of any wrongdoing in either case. He later was involved in a fatal shooting as a private detective but cleared of wrongdoing in that as well. Draper knew about those incidents when it hired de Haas but did not know the city of Westminster, Calif., paid $280,000 in settlements that arose from the police-brutality complaints.

Hatton-Ward said de Haas was asked in the hiring process whether he had been involved in any past litigation and his response was that he had not.

When de Haas resigned as police chief in January it was amid allegations of impropriety, and about three months later he approached the City Council with tape recordings of telephone conversations in which city officials were heard discussing de Haas with a man who said he was conducting a pre-employment background check on him. The former chief and his attorney contended that the conversations violated the terms of de Haas' resignation, which included a clause in which both sides agreed not to talk about it.

De Haas was subsequently rehired in a closed session that violated state open-meeting laws; the council later rescinded that decision after it was made public, putting it on hold pending the city investigation. In the meantime, Draper is negotiating with the Salt Lake County sheriff's office for possible takeover of the seven-man police force, a move that would eliminate the police chief's post. That is on Tuesday's City Council meeting agenda.

Ron Probert, chief of investigations for the attorney general's office, said Monday morning that he could find no basis for charges.

Probert said his office looked at three allegations that investigators felt might have constituted a crime: misappropriation of evidence, falsifying a police report and insurance misrepresentation.

One of those charges in particular - falsifying a police report - received publicity two weeks ago when a Draper police clerk submitted an affidavit to the attorney general in which she said de Haas had attempted to change a police report about a complaint against him. The report stemmed from a complaint by Hatton-Ward's wife that de Haas swerved his vehicle at her as she walked along a Draper street.

The clerk in her affidavit said de Haas had asked her to take his name off the police report and that when he was told that wasn't possible had her change the status of the incident from "suspicious" to "unfounded."

"It occurred as she described it," said Probert. "But it wasn't enough to charge him criminally . . . changing the status (of the report) wasn't enough."

Had de Haas been successful in deleting his name, however, Probert said state investigators "would've looked real hard at it."

Campbell, the city manager who is a former West Valley City police chief and former Salt Lake City police officer, said he will have his report on de Haas ready as directed by the City Council on June 16.

"I'm looking at everything I've seen in writing," trying to determine "is it true or is it rumor - where does it fall?"