Utah Transit Authority misses deadline for federal watchdog

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Transit Authority missed a deadline to bring aboard an independent watchdog — a key component of a deal the agency made with federal prosecutors last year to avoid prosecution in a criminal investigation.

The state agency had agreed to hire a federal monitor by last July to review its adherence to reforms and to recommend additional changes, The Salt Lake Tribune <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=”https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2018/03/14/to-sidestep-a-criminal-investigation-uta-agreed-to-have-a-federal-watchdog-nearly-a-year-later-it-still-doesnt-have-one/”>reported</a> .

The action was stipulated in a non-prosecution agreement, which said failing to appoint the watchdog within the deadline could void the deal.

The agreement had exempted the state agency from an active investigation into possible misuse of federal dollars, ethics violations, improper bonuses and self-dealing involving land transfers.

The missed deadline for appointing the federal monitor has not put the deal into jeopardy, said Greg Bell, the agency’s chairman. The agreement is still on track, he said.

The state agency is waiting for the Justice Department’s response after it forwarded its recommendations for a monitor to the department, said Carl Arky, an agency spokesman. The watchdog has not yet been appointed.

The agency declined to comment on when it submitted its recommendations to prosecutors.

“Because the procurement remains open and no final decision has been made, it would be inappropriate to comment on this matter,” Arky said in a statement.

Bell said on Wednesday that federal prosecutors gave the agency a list, and it picked the monitor from the list. The prosecutors may still be in negotiations with the monitor, he said.

Bell said he did not know when the agency sent its recommendations.

The office of U.S. Attorney John Huber said the deal has not been broken.

“The parties intend to move forward with the monitoring agreement. Neither party is in breach of the non-prosecution agreement,” said Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the office.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=”http://www.sltrib.com”>http://www.sltrib.com</a>

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