Davis Co. attorney mum after Weber Commissioner Gibson says he won't be charged

Monday , April 16, 2018 - 4:26 PM2 comments

FARMINGTON — Two days after Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson said officials have declined to file charges connected to an Ogden Police Department probe, the prosecutor reviewing the matter remained silent on the subject.

Gibson and his attorney Peter Stirba said Saturday, April 14, that Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings had opted against filing charges connected to the police investigation, which came to public light last December. 

“What a relief and a blessing in my life to be able to see the process work appropriately even though it was a tremendously long process for me,” Gibson said at the Weber County Republican Party convention at Weber High School. He said he and Stirba received word late Friday night from Rawlings that he would not be filing any charges in the matter.

At any rate, Rawlings has yet to publicly sound off on the matter. The Standard-Examiner asked Rawlings about the matter Saturday and Monday, but he has yet to offer public comment.

Prosecutors asked to investigate matters often write letters when they decline to take action explaining their decision. The Standard-Examiner requested such documentation from Rawlings’ office on Monday, but had yet to receive a response.

Whatever the case, Rawlings’ apparent decision buoyed Gibson’s spirits. Gibson denied any wrongdoing all along as the Ogden Police investigation progressed, saying he suspected political foes were behind the matter.

“I am happy that this decision has been made and now I can move forward to restore my reputation,” Gibson said in a message after his public announcement Saturday. Rawlings offered no explanation for his office’s decision, Stirba said, and Stirba didn’t ask for details.

The last formal word on the Gibson matter to the Standard-Examiner from Rawlings’ office came on March 26, when Michael Kendall, a deputy county attorney, denied a request from the newspaper for a copy of the Ogden Police investigation into the county commissioner. In denying the request, Kendall cited a provision of state law that permits such action if an investigation is ongoing.

“Recently, the Davis County Attorney’s Office requested the Ogden City Police Department to continue its investigation regarding Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson in order to potentially obtain additional information relevant to Mr. Gibson...,” Kendall said in the March 26 response.

News of the police inquiry emerged last December after Gibson announced plans to step down as county commissioner to take a deputy director’s post at the Utah Department of Natural Resources. Those plans were put on hold, but Gibson said in a message Monday that he now looks forward to his “expected appointment” to the DNR post by Gov. Gary Herbert.

“Of course, this appointment is on his timetable, which I respect,” Gibson said. “I am eager to begin work at the DNR and serving the good people of Utah in state government.”

Officials have not said what spurred the probe into Gibson, a western Weber County dairy farmer and former Utah House member now in his second term as county commissioner. A former Weber County official, though, said it stemmed at least in part from concerns that county employees had done work on property owned by a Gibson family business.

Gibson, who is not seeking re-election this year to his commission post, said during his announcement Saturday that the process has taken a toll and he thanked family and others for standing by him.

“For any of you who care tremendously about your reputation and your name, you might understand how difficult something like this might be,” Gibson said.

Weber County officials asked Rawlings’ office to review the Ogden police investigation to avoid any potential appearance of conflict of interest. Among the duties of Weber County Attorney’s Office officials are advising county commissioners on legal matters.

All of the Standard-Examiner’s coverage so far of the Kerry Gibson investigation

Dec. 13, 2017: Police investigation into Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson revealed

Dec. 15, 2017: Weber County commissioners shuffled duties before news of a police inquiry

Dec. 15, 2017: Weber County Commissioner Gibson denies wrongdoing, says he'll stay in post

Jan. 23: As Gibson police probe continues, Utah DNR head remains supportive

Feb. 21: Gibson backers, officials say river project handled properly as probe continues

March 1: Kerry Gibson police probe done, Davis County Attorney's Office handling review

March 15: Weber Co. Commissioner Gibson won't run again, 2 others file to run for post

April 10:  Weber County roads employees' charges led to GIbson probe, ex-official says

April 14: Weber Commissioner Gibson says he won't be charged with any crime

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at [email protected], follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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