SL County GOP wants DA to resign over Gary Ott elder abuse investigation

Posted at 2:02 PM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-24 23:54:03-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Salt Lake County Republican Party is demanding District Attorney Sim Gill resign over his handling of an elder abuse complaint involving former County Recorder Gary Ott.

Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott in an interview with FOX 13. (File image)

In a news conference on Tuesday, party chairman Jake Parkinson said Gill has had the complaint for more than a year, with no results.

"Sim Gill failed Gary Ott and he failed Salt Lake County residents," he told reporters.

Ott died of Alzheimer's Disease last week. Questions surrounded the recorder's mental state while he was in office. His family has been engaged in a court battle with Ott's former aide and girlfriend, Karmen Sanone. She and Ott's chief deputy, Julie Dole, have been accused of covering up his deteriorating condition in order to keep their jobs.

"How long should it take to investigate a case of elder abuse?" Parkinson said, sounding frustrated.

Standing a few feet away from Parkinson was Dole, who insisted she had done nothing wrong.

"If there is anything for him to investigate, he should continue," she told reporters. "There is nothing I have to hide. Nothing that will be found. No wrongdoing on my part."

Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman Jake Parkinson looks at a prepared statement at a news conference on Oct. 24. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

Dole, who was fired by Ott's replacement, Adam Gardiner, said she wanted to see a separate investigation into how Ott died. She was ousted by the Salt Lake County Republican Party after its own investigation into the Ott situation. Parkinson said he could not release the results of that investigation, but Dole said what she was given was a collection of press clippings.

"Good for you guys," she told reporters. "I'm banished by the Salt Lake County Republican Party for what you've written or what you've reported."

Dole defended Gill's handling of the complaint. Asked if she believed she was under investigation by the DA, Dole replied: "I asked them that before I left employment here and it was, they were unable to answer that question for me."

However, she said she has not been questioned by investigators from his office. Parkinson said it appears few people have been questioned.

"He hasn't even met with the people who filed the complaint," he said. "That's problematic."

Former Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott (right) with his then-chief deputy, Julie Dole, in this undated photo. (Pic provided to FOX 13)

Responding to the party's news conference, Gill insisted his investigation was ongoing and subpoenas had been issued.

"We will conduct our investigation on our timeline and our way. We will not be held hostage to their whims," he said of the Salt Lake County GOP.

Gill refused to say if he believed that his investigation would result in criminal charges against anyone, but he said that he needed solid evidence to bring a prosecutable case. The recent court battle involving Ott's family has provided them some valuable information, Gill said.

"Perception is one thing. Reality is another. Evidence is totally different from that as well," he said. "Just because there's an emotional investment here and people want somebody's head on a platter doesn't mean you go out and start filing charges."

"You have to be able to connect the dots. You have to have admissible evidence. You have to be sure you can file on that and prosecute on that."