OGDEN -- An admitted exaggeration by a city consultant regarding America First Credit Union's participation in a fundraising campaign for the Ogden River Restoration Project shouldn't impact a $1 million state grant awarded to the municipality, a member of the Utah Water Quality Board said Friday.
"It's sad if it's true," Leland J. Myers, a water quality board member, said referring to consultant Caroline Bradford's admission that America First has not agreed to help with the campaign. "But I don't know that it would change the final outcome."
The Water Quality Board awarded the city $1 million Wednesday to further its efforts to clean up a polluted 1.1-mile section of the Ogden River from Kiesel Avenue to west of Gibson Avenue.
The city still needs to raise an additional $1 million to complete the project by late 2011.
The project will cost more than $5 million and will include the stabilization of riverbanks, the creation of recreation access and planting vegetation.
Documents prepared by Bradford and submitted to the Water Quality Board indicate a "quiet, private" public-awareness and fundraising campaign is being developed in cooperation with America First.
However, Nicole Cypers, director of public relations and community outreach for America First, said the credit union never agreed to assist with the campaign and does not get involved in third- party fundraising efforts.
America First has established a Community Assistance Fund to help the homeless and less fortunate in the areas it serves.
Bradford first mentioned the concept of the fundraising campaign to Randy Halley, senior vice president of branch delivery for America First, in early September, Cypers said.
Halley told Bradford he wasn't authorized to make a decision on the campaign and referred her to America First Executive Vice President John Lund and Vice President of Marketing Craig Sanders, Cypers said.
Bradford, who is based in Eagle, Colo., never met with Lund and Sanders and there was no agreement that America First would participate in the campaign, Cypers said.
Bradford said Friday in an e-mail to the Standard-Examiner she has apologized to America First officials and the state Water Quality Division for prematurely sharing the concept of the fundraising and public awareness campaign before any commitments had been made.
"Unfortunately, the final exaggerated reference in the submittal I prepared makes it sound like America First relationship with the Ogden River restoration is all in place rather than just a developing concept in its infancy," she said in the e-mail.
"I have not yet had the opportunity to meet with all the appropriate representatives of America First to work out the details in order to even submit a formal proposal for their consideration."
Mayor Matthew Godfrey said Bradford handed him material regarding the proposed campaign just minutes before Wednesday's Water Quality Board meeting, adding he did not review them in advance.
Godfrey also described Bradford's admitted exaggeration as troubling.
"We need to discuss the issue with her and issue a statement of correction to the Water Quality Board and America First," he said.
"We will scrutinize the rest of it (materials prepared by Bradford) to make sure everything she gave the board is factual."