By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy
Many municipalities in the United States were concerned about their residents’ ability to pay their bills after the Covid-19 closures. But Uintah County, Utah spent its relief money on a snow tubing hill.
Uintah County received $5.1 million in CARES Act funding for Covid-19 relief, and public records show the county spent at least $322,000 on the Buckskin Hills Ski and Snow Tubing Hill, the local CBS affiliate KUTV reported.
That spending caused several anonymous whistleblowers to report it, which spurred an audit on the 2020 finances by the Utah Office of the State Auditor.
According to the audit, this was one of many examples where the commission tried to circumvent the 2020 public procurement process.
According to the newspaper, six snow guns purchased for $19999 by commissioners were one dollar lower than what would be required to receive bids.
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“We didn’t build a tubing hill with the [CARES] money, we expanded the tubing hill,” Commissioner Bart Haslem told The Tribune, saying the expansion was need during the pandemic for “spacing, getting people outside.”
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Of the $5.1 million, almost $3.5 million went to business recovery grants, but officials didn’t verify whether applicants had been impacted by the pandemic, the audit found.
That led to $117,000 going to “companies owned by certain county officials and their immediate family members,” the audit found.
Haslem’s son received $20,000 for his aviation business and Haslem’s wife received $20,000 for her travel business, the Tribune reported. Commissioner Brad Horrocks’ sons also received a total of $77,000 for their RV, farm, energy and hunting outfitter businesses, the Tribune reported.
Uintah County whistleblowers are there to protect taxpayers from officials’ greed for money.
RealClearWire permission granted this syndicated version.
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