FARMINGTON -- The Davis County Attorney's Office filed, in 2nd District Court on Tuesday, a class A misdemeanor charge of "using position to secure privileges" against Syracuse City Councilman D. Matthew Kimmel.
The charge centers around Kimmel's sharing of inside information on a $730,000 property purchase made by the North Davis Sewer District and a $3,000 finder's fee he was reported to receive prior to declining it.
A hearing is scheduled for March 12.
Kimmel served as Syracuse city's representative on the NDSD board for about one year. The Syracuse City Council removed him from the board in June at the request of sewer district officials.
The charge -- which carries a maximum of one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine, according to Utah State Courts -- was filed after a six-month investigation.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings declined to comment on the matter.
Attempts to reach Kimmel and his legal counsel, Ed Brass, were unsuccessful.
"I was not aware it had been filed, and I don't have any comment," Syracuse Mayor Jamie Nagle said when contacted.
The court documents, based on information obtained by Deputy Davis County Attorney Investigating Officer Craig Webb, report that between Oct. 14, 2010, and April 21, 2011, Kimmel attempted to use information, influence and relationships he had, as a result of being on the North Davis Sewer Board and having ties to the real estate industry, for his personal benefit and the benefit of a colleague.
"The defendant (Kimmel) attempted to use these circumstances in an effort to substantially further his personal economic interest, as well as to secure special privileges for himself and his colleague in real estate," reads the probable cause statement.
Kimmel, by virtue of his position on the sewer board and his personal business dealings and connections in real estate, was able to link a specific real estate agent and the sewer board together with respect to a land transaction.
Kimmel did so without disclosing to the board the true nature of his relationship with the real estate agent and without disclosing in a timely manner that he was to receive a significant finder's fee of about $3,000 or more, the document reads.
Early on, Kimmel instructed the real estate agent not to disclose their relationship (and the fact that he would gain financially himself from a finder's fee) to the sewer board, the document reads. Kimmel informed the agent he would take care of the disclosure.
For months, the agent assumed Kimmel had done so.
In a May 6, 2011, Standard-Examiner article, Kimmel said he stayed completely out of the deal. Because the real estate agent was going to be paying Kimmel a business referral fee, he said, he recused himself from the board vote.
The property purchase was voted on by the board at its April 21, 2011, meeting.
Before the county attorney's office completed its investigation, Kimmel said in the May 6 article that he would decline accepting the finder's fee if it violated any criminal or ethical statute.
"Ethically or legally, I want to walk the line. I can understand how that would look bad to anybody," he said.
Syracuse City Councilman Douglas Peterson replaced Kimmel on the board as the city's representative in June 2011. He will fill the remainder of Kimmel's four-year term, which expires in 2013.
NDSD Chairman Ivan Anderson said the purchase price of the land was $730,000, creating a commission for the agent of more than $21,000.