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Salt Lake County Council Closes Door On Gary Ott Episode

Nicole Nixon / KUER

Gary Ott left his post as Salt Lake County Recorder on Tuesday, and the County Council is ready to move on.

The County Council voted on Tuesday afternoon to end all discussions and investigations into Gary Ott. The council had been investigating the residence of the former recorder, trying desperately to get him out of office due to his visible decline in health.

Several county officials, including District Attorney Sim Gill, expressed regret at the public way the episode played out, and continued frustration that it took so long for Ott to resign.

“At the end of the day, I think everybody agrees the most urgent thing was to make sure Gary Ott was taken care of, and that was our primary focus,” said Gill.

The council also addressed concerns stemming from a letter from the state auditor sent to Council Chair Steve DeBry Monday.

Auditor John Dougall noted that since at least 2014, Ott had no financial oversight of his office. The letter also said that Ott may have violated the county’s nepotism clause by cohabitating with an employee.

The letter does not name that employee, but it is likely Ott’s legislative aide, Karmen Sanone. The two said publicly in 2011 they were engaged, but since then, accounts have shifted from that label, to girlfriend, to “close friends.” 

Gill says if the county wanted to prosecute Sanone for the nepotism violation, Ott would also have to be named in that lawsuit, a revelation that prompted council members to balk.  

Council chair DeBry said he is ready to move on.

“Now that’s just me,” DeBry said. “We’re at a good place. Gary’s taken care of. I think that it’s a new day now, we need to move on for the benefit of Salt Lake County.”

Ott’s deputy, Julie Dole, was sworn in Tuesday as the interim recorder and said she has accepted the resignation of Karmen Sanone.

The Salt Lake County GOP will choose a replacement nominee on Aug. 17.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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