Who’s running UTA, anyway?


Photo credit: vxla

Terry Diehl used to be a board member of the Utah Transit Authority. But no longer. He’s being investigated by the Attorney General’s Office for allegedly misusing official information about the location of a potential commuter rail station in Draper and buying up the land rights in the surrounding area.

That’s bad enough, but get this – even though he’s no longer on its board, Terry Diehl continues to work with UTA and wants to develop more land opportunities. Now this sort of stuff only happens in the darkness of political corruption. If UTA were operating in the bright sunshine, no one in their right mind would allow this to happen.

[pullquote]If UTA were operating in the bright sunshine, no one in their right mind would allow this to happen.[/pullquote]Diehl told The Salt Lake Tribune that he has followed all the rules, that he filed a conflict of interest report and that he abstained from voting on his personal projects. As a side note, this sounds an awful lot like the state Office of Economic Development where board members often vote themselves tax dollars for their pet projects. Don’t you love how these characters defend themselves by saying, “I followed the rules” when the rules are so clearly corrupted?

When State Senator Kevin Van Tassel asked Representative Greg Hughes why Diehl was allowed to continue to do business with UTA, even as he’s being investigated by the Attorney General’s Office, the Tribune reports, “Hughes said that was done to help persuade Diehl to resign. He said if he stayed on the board, he could continue to be involved in developments as long as he declared conflicts and abstained [from voting on his projects.]”

Okay, are you thinking what I’m thinking? Who’s running that joint? This alleged criminal or the rest of the board? He had to be persuaded to resign so UTA gave this guy the opportunity for more inside deals? Are you kidding me?

I hope the Legislative Audit Committee and the Legislature’s transportation committees stay on top of UTA. I guess it’s because most transportation dollars are federal money that legislators think they don’t have power over these agencies. But they do have power and they ought to use it to shed light on the operations of UTA.