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SUIT FILED IN PENSION, BILLING DISPUTES

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Utah County counselor Robert Stringham, charged with over-billing and filing false pension reports, has filed suit claiming the reports were correct.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court claims the Carnegie Pension Fund illegally terminated his benefits after it factored his wife's income as his own, thus making him ineligible for $400 in monthly benefits.A second suit, filed in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City, alleges his former employer, Assessments and Psychotherapy Associates (APA), owes Stringham and his wife $34,000 for unpaid services.

Stringham, a certified addictions counselor, and his wife, Gale, a licensed psychologist, performed administrative services for Salt Lake-based APA and its owner, Mercedes Reisinger. The String-hams left the company in August 1992 and set up another counseling firm in Orem.

Stringham's suit against APA also alleges Reisinger made false reports to police. Reisinger's police reports prompted Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson to charge Stringham with 16 counts of communications fraud, a second-degree felony.

Stringham, 50, is to be tried in February in Provo's 4th District Court.

The charges, filed in November 1993, accuse Stringham of over-billing Reisinger for about $11,000.

Stringham, a former Utah County Democratic Party chairman, claims the criminal case was aimed at undermining his 1994 Utah County Commission bid, which he lost.

"The criminal charges were filed in error," Gale Stringham said Tuesday. "It was a civil matter between Mercedes and Bob and myself. The suits give it a chance to be aired in the civil courts."

Art Marshall, an APA officer, denied that APA owed the Stringhams any money.