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Credit-card audit is ‘balderdash,’ Overson says

He says Yocom has been out to get him since 1998

SHARE Credit-card audit is ‘balderdash,’ Overson says

Former Salt Lake County Commissioner Brent Overson said the review of his credit-card expenditures was nothing more than the district attorney making good on a threat he hissed to him more than a decade ago.

"(David Yocom) said he had a long memory, and I had better watch out," Overson said Friday.

The Salt Lake County Auditor's Office is reviewing two years' worth of county credit-card expenses incurred by Overson and colleague Mark Shurtleff while the two worked as commissioners.

The review, which is expected to be finished fairly quickly, was requested by Yocom and is being done month by month to determine if the former commissioners failed to reimburse the county for any personal expenses.

Overson, holding a press conference late Friday morning to answer the allegations, described a Nov. 9, 1988, encounter he had with Yocom outside commission chambers.

He said Yocom was upset over some disparaging remarks Overson made about then-Salt Lake County Treasurer Art Monson.

Yocom, Overson said, turned to him, called him an expletive and warned him to watch out.

"This review is pure balderdash," Overson said. "There is absolutely nothing there. Under the cloak of being the district attorney, he is making allegations without actually having conducted an investigation."

Yocom, in meetings late Friday morning, couldn't be reached for comment.

Shurtleff, now the state's attorney general, also defended his use of a county credit card, saying he feared he was being dragged into the battle between Yocom and Overson.

"I think this is more of that feud between them. In this so-called investigation, there is nothing there at all. "

Overson said monthly credit-card expenses were reconciled with receipts and then submitted to the Salt Lake County Auditor's Office for approval and payment.

"If we had violated any county policy, surely the auditor would not have approved the expenses. They received and reviewed every bill. If anybody had any suspicions we were doing anything unlawful, surely it would have come up during that period."

Salt Lake County Auditor Craig Sorensen said his office was asked by Yocom to review the credit-card expenditures of both Shurtleff and Overson.

While Sorensen acknowledged what Overson said was essentially true regarding the procedures for credit-card payments, he said the review was specifically looking at possible lapses in reimbursements.

"It's the timing of when the county may have been reimbursed" for personal expenses, Sorensen said. "They have up to six months to reimburse the county."

Sorensen said it is possible for credit-card bills to be paid without immediate reconciliation of the expenses.

Both Shurtleff and Overson said they always paid back any personal expenses.

"I have absolutely nothing to hide," Shurtleff said.

Overson said Yocom is continuing to fume over the Salt Lake County Commission's December decision to pay a $5 million settlement to Alliant Techsystems, which claimed its business was overvalued for years by the assessor's office.

"He's been on a tear ever since."

All three commissioners, Mary Callaghan included, endorsed the controversial settlement. Callaghan, however, had opted not to use a county credit card.

E-MAIL: amyjoi@desnews.com