Herriman Mayor, amidst calls for his resignation, apologizes for misuse of city funds

Dec 20, 2018, 3:12 PM
Herriman City Mayor David Watts...
Herriman City Mayor David Watts has apologized for his alleged missue of city funds. (Photo: David Watts for Herriman City Mayor)
(Photo: David Watts for Herriman City Mayor)

Herriman Mayor David Watts has formally apologized for his alleged misuse of $1,244.85 in city funds.

Recently, his fellow city council members had called for his resignation over the scandal. They criticized him, during a Dec. 12th meeting, for failing to go through with an earlier promise to repay the city and threatened to cut his salary and stifle his role in city affairs if he did not agree to resign.

Watts did repay the city by the end of Dec. 12th, but he has refused to step down.

The apology letter he put up on his website Monday night marks the first time the mayor has formally commented on the controversy.

Mayor David Watts’s apology

Herriman City Council meeting

The Dec. 12th meeting during which City Council demanded Mayor David Watts’s resignation. (Photo: Herriman City / Facebook)

The scandal began when Herriman city council members accused Mayor David Watts of making a series of inappropriate purchases with his city credit card. Most of those purchases involved securing an early flight home during a trip to Washington D.C., for which Watts bought a $690.80 plane ticket and a hotel room that exceeded the city’s approved rate by $166.09.

Not only were those purchases billed to the taxpayers, city council members say, but Watts only provided two receipts for the 21 purchases he made with his city credit card.

When they first brought the issue up on July 11th, the mayor offered to repay the city for the expenses. Watts, however, did not pay them back until they demanded his resignation five months later.

Until now, Watts has never explained why he waited so long to pay the city back. In his apology letter posted on Monday, however, he explained it for the first time.

In the letter, he says that, until Dec. 12th, the city council didn’t give him an itemized list of the amounts he needed to repay. Without them, he says, he had no way of knowing how much money he owed.

That problem was compounded, Watt says, when the city council brought the issue to the District Attorney’s office and looked into pressing charges against him.

Terrified by the possibility of criminal charges, Watts spoke to an attorney, who recommended he wait until the DA’s office completed their investigation before trying to resolve the situation with the city. Until then, he says, he was ordered not to make any statements about it, be they in public or in private.

“This went against everything inside me that has always valued transparency,” Watts says in his letter, “but I was repeatedly reminded that the stakes had been raised, as a criminal trial could have serious consequences for the City, myself, and my family — and I just needed to be patient and let the system do its job.”

Watts says that, after the DA office completed their review and opted not to press charges, he “promptly” turned in all the documentation.

“I take full responsibility for my failure to follow policy,” Watts says. “I apologize that my attempt to explain my actions came across as unapologetic and defensive.”

Councilwoman Nicole Martin responds

Nicole Martin

City Council member Nicole Martin spoke with KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic about Mayor David Watts’s apology. (Photo: Unified Fire Authority)

City Council member Nicole Martin, who first called for Watt’s resignation, told KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic that the apology was “a step in the right direction.”

She criticized him, however, for justifying his actions, saying: “An apology, in this case, should have only had two words included, and that’s: ‘I’m sorry.’ Period.”

Despite his apology, she says that the city will not reverse course on lowering his salary or stripping him of his responsibilities.

“We have said, in our disciplinary memo, that we will remove him from all boards and commissions,” Martin told Dave & Dujanovic. “That is what we will do.”

However, she now referred to stripping the mayor of his power as something they would do for a “trial period” and said city council would “revisit” the decision later on.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Martin said. “It doesn’t make sense to have a council member that’s not carrying the load equal to the others.”

She feels that City Council has a duty to the people of Herriman to go through with the punishment, saying that it’s a matter of “following through with our word.” She says, however, that city council just wants to “make a point” and move on.

“I hold no grudges,” Martin says. “I want to move forward in a positive way with the mayor and I hope that is the way he is feeling as well.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

affordable care actaffordable care act

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

Super agers have been identified by researchers as men and women over age 80 that have the cognitiv...
Curt Gresseth

SuperAgers — who are they, are you one, and can you become one?

SuperAgers are men and women older than 80 with the mental faculties of people decades younger.
3 days ago
A motorist drives through the snow in Olympus Cove in Salt Lake County. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret...
Curt Gresseth

Be Ready Utah: What you need in your emergency winter car kit

After a significant snowfall in northern Utah, are you prepared for a winter emergency while on the roads? Wade Mathews of Utah Division of Emergency Management -- Be Ready Utah joins the shows to give out holidays tips on being prepared for any challenges while driving.
5 days ago
Thanksgiving dinner with all the sides. (Stock photo)...
Alejandro Lucero

Pass the stuffing not the uncomfortable conversation this Thanksgiving

Dave and Dujanovic spoke with an expert who will help you void the gobble-squabble around the dinner table this Thanksgiving.
11 days ago
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 20: People hold a vigil at a makeshift memorial near the Club...
Curt Gresseth

‘I trained for this,’ says veteran who took down gunman at nightclub

A veteran joins the show to provide insight into the actions of another veteran who limited the loss of life at a Colorado nightclub by subduing the gunman until police arrived on scene.
12 days ago
Rioters at the US Capitol...
Curt Gresseth

Utah bill would limit police access to your cellphone data

A spokesman for a a libertarian think tank in Utah discusses why he supports a bill at the Legislature limiting law enforcement access to the cellphone of a person near a crime scene.
13 days ago
rollercoaster lagoon...
Curt Gresseth

Lagoon spokesman explains big price hike for day pass

Lagoon announces Primordial, a new one-of-a-kind interactive rollercoaster, coming in 2023, but with the new ride comes higher season passes.
16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Herriman Mayor, amidst calls for his resignation, apologizes for misuse of city funds