Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)
BYLINE: Benjamin Wood Deseret News
CEDAR HILLS- Expressing his love for the community, Cedar Hills Mayor Eric Richardson resigned his position on Sunday in a prepared statement from the city. The motivation behind Richardson’s resignation was not explained in the statement, but his decision comes in the midst of criticism by a vocal coalition of Cedar Hills residents over his management of city finances.
Richardson was also named in an unrelated federal complaint in May, in which he and a partner are accused of soliciting $2 million in fraudulent investments. Richardson has served as mayor since 2010. Prior to that position, he was a member of the city’s planning commission and the Cedar Hills City Council. “Cedar Hills is a wonderful place,” Richardson said in the statement. “I have enjoyed my association with the residents of Cedar Hills and with those with whom I have served.” For months, the group Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government has campaigned for the removal of Richardson as mayor. In January, residents Paul Sorensen and Ken Severn filed 46 pages of allegations and supporting documents in 4th District Court. They claimed Richardson and then-city manager Konrad Hildebrandt improperly moved $371,726 from city recreation funds to the city’s golf course to make it appear profitable, unlawfully gave Hildebrandt a pay increase and obscured or withheld public information. During a hearing with the Utah State Records Committee earlier this month, city officials were instructed to comply with open records requests filed by the coalition and to gather email correspondences between city employees, Utah State Archives executive secretary Susan Mumford said. Ken Cromar, who has led the coalition’s public records requests, said Richardson’s resignation is a victory, but an audit and investigation are still necessary to find the “bottom of the barrel.” “It absolutely vindicates our long-standing efforts which have been ridiculed,” he said. “There’s clearly something going on behind the scenes.” Per Utah code, the Cedar Hills City Council will now have 30 days to appoint a new mayor. The city has recently dealt with a number of vacancies in administrative positions. In May, Hildebrandt, former city building and zoning officer Bradley Kearl and former city recorder Kim Holindrake resigned from their posts. In a prepared statement at the time of her resignation, Holindrake said she had been forced out of her position for political reasons. “On Tuesday, May 1, 2012, I was asked to resign my position as city recorder,” Holindrake said. “There was no cause to release me; it was political. I have offered my assistance to the city staff in completing any projects and to answer any questions relative to the duties of the city recorder.”
Copyright 2012 The Deseret News Publishing Co.