The Salt Lake County GOP is calling for District Attorney Sim Gill’s resignation following what they say is a year of inaction in the case of former County Recorder Gary Ott.
SLCO GOP Chairman Jake Parkinson says it’s time for Gill to go because he failed to protect Ott after allegations of elder abuse were made a year ago.
“If someone in Gary’s position, who has influence in the community and a high public profile didn’t get the protection from Sim Gill that he needed, what chance to any other taxpayers have in their hour of need?” says Parkinson in a podcast interview with UtahPolicy.com.
Parkinson says he’s flabbergasted that Gill has not been able to make any progress on the case in a year.
“What is the typical time to investigate an elder abuse case in Salt Lake County? If it takes a year, we have a problem,” he said.
Ott passed earlier this month after he stepped down from his office in August. Before that, there were allegations that his Alzheimer’s disease was being hidden by his top deputy, Julie Dole, and his secretary and one-time fiancee Karmen Sanone. They deny those allegations.
Ott was diagnosed with an advanced case of Alzheimer’s before running for re-election in 2014.
A response from Gill’s office to the call for his resignation noted that elder abuse investigations are time-consuming, and the guardianship case between Sanone and Ott’s family revealed new information.
“Even in the best case scenario, with an alleged victim who is willing and capable of assisting in the investigation, those investigations can and do take substantial time and care by all involved. And here, as we know, we were never in a best-case scenario,” said Gill in a statement.
The Utah Democratic Party lashed out at the SLCO GOP for calling for Gill’s ouster.
“Shame on Salt Lake County Republicans for trying to politicize the death of a great man and a dedicated servant to Utah’s community,” said an emailed statement. “District Attorney Gill is doing his job and is working within his legal capability to bring to justice those whom (sic) exploited Mr. Ott’s illness for personal gain.”
“Someone is the victim here, and it’s not Sim Gill,” Parkinson shot back. “I just don’t see how an elder abuse investigation can take a year. If there was abuse going on during that time, as it’s been alleged, why did he allow that to continue? Why didn’t he protect someone who needed his protection?”
Jeremy Roberts, a longtime friend of Ott’s, who filed the initial complaints about Ott’s situation with the Attorney General’s office, as well as Adult Protective Services and Salt Lake City Police, says he’s outraged that he’s still waiting for action.
“If this was a rape, would you tolerate a one-year investigation? What about child abuse? What about domestic violence? Why then tolerate it when Gary Ott is a victim?” he said. “I get people want to make this about donkeys and elephants. I want to make this about my friend, Gary Ott.”