- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah prosecutors are looking into allegations that a Democratic state lawmaker who worked for Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams cannot account for thousands in missing campaign cash.

Justin J. Miller served as McAdams 2012 campaign manager and later as an associate deputy mayor in Salt Lake County until he was fired late last year. Miller was then elected in November to represent Salt Lake City in Utah’s House of Representatives.

Miller did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday but told The Salt Lake Tribune that he’s confident he didn’t do anything wrong.

McAdams, a Democrat, said he discovered last summer that Miller was using money from the mayor’s campaign account to rent office space for his private political consulting firm.

After Miller was notified in August that he would be fired, he notified the campaign that he owed the organization $10,000, McAdams said.

McAdams told The Salt lake Tribune on Tuesday (https://bit.ly/1HdT0og ) that about $30,000 was missing, but on Wednesday, McAdams said he couldn’t provide an exact number and prosecutors will determine how much is missing.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings told The Tribune that he began investigating the issue several months ago at the request of Salt Lake County prosecutors and that investigation was ongoing.

Miller said Tuesday night that he’s confident he didn’t do anything wrong and is being retaliated against for reporting a potential conflict of interest about McAdams’ own campaign office space.

Miller said he believes he was fired after questioning whether it was legal to move McAdams’ campaign office to a space leased by the Salt Lake City public-affairs firm The Exoro Group, which he said also had a $100,000 consulting contract with the county.

Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney Darcy Goddard told the Tribune that investigators found no merit to the allegations. Goddard said The Exoro Group’s contract with Salt Lake County had expired by the time the campaign office relocated and there was no conflict.

Miller filed a notice in December with the county saying he was wrongfully fired and intends to seek damages of more than $788,000. He has not filed a lawsuit.

Yándary Zavala, a spokeswoman for the Utah Democratic Party, said Democrats see the dispute as an employer-employee issue.

Suzanne Mulet, the chairwoman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party, said the matter is concerning and that residents deserve transparency.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com

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