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Unwilling witnesses?

Some Workman co-workers dread hearing

Several people who work in Salt Lake County government and for the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Valley are going to be put in an awkward position Monday.

County Mayor Nancy Workman's preliminary hearing will be held then, with special deputy district attorney Mike Martinez calling eight witnesses from the two organizations to prove probable cause in charges of felonious misuse of public money that have been filed against Workman.

"I'm not excited about it or pleased about it," said county chief administrative officer David Marshall regarding the prospect of helping present the prosecution's case against his boss. "I'd rather I were not a part of it. . . . There is nothing about this situation that is normal. Yeah, it is awkward. It is totally awkward."

In accordance with a court order from 3rd District Judge Robert Hilder, Martinez released a list of witnesses Friday that he may call in the preliminary hearing.

The hearing is shaping up to be the most meaningful event so far in Workman's highly publicized legal saga. Preliminary hearings in some cases are short. This one, however, will likely be more involved.

"Pack a lunch," Workman campaign adviser Dave Owen warned.

If Marshall's situation is awkward, consider the situation of Workman's own daughter, the youth clubs' development director Aisza Wilde, who also is on the prosecution's witness list.

"I haven't even talked about it" with Wilde, the clubs' executive director Bob Dunn said. He has been called as a witness himself. "We're not taking sides on this. I appreciate everything the mayor has done for us. . . . I hope everything works out."

Wilde could not be contacted for comment.

Dunn's call to testify caps a summer full of controversy and grief for him. In addition to being caught up in the county's scandals and Workman's legal troubles, Dunn's mother died July 21 and his father exactly two months later, on Sept. 21.

"I've been better," he said. "I'd rather have knee surgery."

(Dunn in fact put off knee surgery to be present in court Monday.)

With regard to his testimony, "I'm just going to go in there and whatever they ask, I'll answer honestly," Dunn said. "Whatever they do with it, they do with it."

Other witnesses include secretaries and support personnel at the clubs and the county.

Martinez said he may not call all witnesses on the list — just enough of them to prove the elements of the case. Workman is accused of improperly using county money to pay the salaries of two Boys and Girls Clubs employees working under her daughter's supervision.

In the preliminary hearing, the prosecution will likely concentrate on how the positions were set up, since the matter came to light from a whistle-blower in the county's health department, who said a "ghost employee" was on the employee roster.

According to the findings of a panel of four different county attorneys, when Workman set up the position "no mention was ever made of (the Boys and Girls Clubs). Based on that information Marshall, believing the position to be a legitimate health-related job, made arrangements to hire (Alina Iorga, the first employee) as a health department employee. . . . (Workman) insists her intent was always to help (the clubs), that putting Iorga in the health department was Marshall's idea."

Workman is trying to get the case tried before November's election, and in fact attempted to waive the preliminary hearing to move things along. Martinez objected, and Monday's court date resulted.

Mysterious e-mail denounces Workman

In advance of next week's meeting in which the Salt Lake County Republican Central Committee will take a vote on whether they support county Mayor Nancy Workman's continued presence in the campaign, an e-mail was circulated to several precinct chairmen, other central committee members and other influential Republicans last week, urging them to withdraw their support from Workman.

The message, purportedly from a Republican Party member and donor named Brady Quivers, said that "I have given her campaign money, time, effort and held events for her in my home. She has betrayed my confidence in her ability to properly govern this county."

While there are certainly party members who feel that way, Quivers is not one of them. Party leaders couldn't find that name on any party, donor or voter roll.

"This looks to me like the Utah . . . version of the Dan Rather memos," one party insider said.

Possible witnesses

Witnesses the prosecution may call to testify at Nancy Workman's preliminary hearing Monday include:

Salt Lake County

Chief administrative officer David Marshall

Director of human services Kerry Steadman

Health department director Patti Pavey

Administrative aide Karen Lowe

Boys and Girls Clubs of South Valley

Executive director Bob Dunn

Development director Aisza Wilde

Accountant Jennifer Schroder

Former accountant Alina Iorga


E-mail: aedwards@desnews.com