Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for August 11, 2010
Former Garfield County School Superintendent arrested
66-year-old George Park, former Garfield County School Superintendent and current School Superintendent of Carbon County, was arrested in Price on a second-degree felony charge of Misuse of Public Money.
The charge stems from allegations that in 2008, Park knowingly signed a fraudulent contract for Justin Baugh, former Garfield County School Financial Administrator, and intentionally aided Baugh in stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the Garfield County School District.
The arrest warrant also alleges Park directly paid himself unauthorized bonuses, gave himself a larger 401K contribution than the school board approved, and took a raise contrary to his previous statements that no raise would be given in lieu of his 401K increase.
According to school sources, Park was working in Oregon when he was hired by the Garfield County School District in July of 2006. In June 2009 Park was put on administrative leave pending an Utah State investigative audit that found multiple discrepancies and errors.
Park’s contract with the school district had never been formally presented or approved by the school board. After discovering the results of the audit, the board, wanting to expedite his departure, told Park if he resigned, the board would not personally seek to press charges against him, and the district would not make disparaging remarks about him to other potential employers.
Park decided to take that offer and resigned in April of 2010. He was hired by the Carbon County School District in July 2010.
Park is being held in the Garfield County Jail on 10,000 bail. This case is directly connected to the case of Justin Baugh, former Garfield County School District Financial Administrator. In May 2010, Baugh was arrested on three felony counts of Misuse of Public Money, Communications Fraud, and Tampering with a Witness, and is currently awaiting trial on those charges.