Orem Mayor under investigation for misuse of personal retirement funds

Aug 1, 2019, 5:17 PM | Updated: 9:13 pm

Photo courtesy City of Orem

OREM — Orem City Mayor Richard Brunst is being investigated for the misuse of personal retirement funds.

In a statement, the Orem City Council says Mayor Brunst altered dates and made unauthorized withdrawals from his retirement account. The statement also indicates that Brunst is suspected of submitted multiple reimbursement requests for the same expense.

Deputy City Manager Steven Downs says it’s not city money Brunst had access to.

“These are forms that anybody would use to withdraw from their own retirement account,” says Downs. “He was using those forms that the alteration of dates took place. They were associated, again, with his signature and the signature of other city employees.”

“I will reiterate that it wasn’t City money he was accessing,” says Downs, “it was his personal money he was accessing.”

Downs says the discrepancies were discovered by people employed by the city.

“As of right now, there’s no action being taken,” Downs says. “After this investigation, the [City Council] will review all the facts, once that’s complete, and determine the best course of action.”

Downs says the investigation has been ongoing for the last couple of months.

Mayor Brunst also reiterated it was his own money affected in this case.

“It’s really a mistake of convenience and just not paying a lot of attention to the form,” says Brunst. “I should not have done that.”

Brunst says he did not change the signature on the form, just the dates.

The city says there’s a limit on how many times you can withdraw from the retirement account; Brunst says he didn’t know there was a limit from the City and that there was no criminal intent.

“I am a very busy Mayor, and I just didn’t give it the attention I should have,” says Brunst. “For that, I’m at fault. I apologize to the citizens of Orem. I expect better behavior out of myself. The wrongdoing is mine. But there was no intent to do anything wrong.”

Orem City Council says this behavior dates back as early as 2017. The investigation has been forwarded to the Orem Police Department.

Councilman Tom Macdonald says the council is looking forward to the conclusion of the investigation so they can get back to the business of running a city.

A full copy of Mayor Brunst’s apology can be found here: Mayor Brunst Apology

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Orem Mayor under investigation for misuse of personal retirement funds