FLASHBACK: A 2002 golf financial WARNING

Written By: admin - Jul• 27•15


In January of 2002 – a newly elected City Councilman Rob Fotheringham, a financial professional, wrote a letter to Cedar Hills residents the day before he was to be sworn in.  One week later Mayor Brad Sears published a Rebuttal. Ten years of audited city financials later, it is clear the warning was not heeded.   (See JPGs of their letters below…)

Fotheringham’s letter explained that the golf course purchase had been passed by CH voters the previous May of 2001, but was based on faulty information provided by then Mayor Brad Sears and the City Council.  Additionally, written promises to the citizens were being broken, causing “significant concern”. Fotheringham wrote to the residents:

“So Why am I writing? In anticipation of taking office I have been…doing some research…. …Using my professional experiences as a financial controller for the Intel Corp., … I learned some information that I believe you should be made aware of: …”

Fotheringham’s letter went on to highlight key points regarding the May 2001 election when the residents narrowly approved the golf vote:

  1. The promise the golf course would remain closed on Sundays was broken by a Council vote less than six months later.
  2. Many voters told him they felt cheated, regretted their vote for the golf course, saying they wouldn’t have voted for the golf course if they would have known.
  3. Financial concern that the golf course would take funds from the school system.
  4. The seller provided THK Associates projections of $150,000 annual — with over $400,000 profit growth by year #10 — by were faulty.
  5. The City (buyer) did not seek independent financial analysis, but rather trusted optimistic analysis provided by Developer (seller).
  6. Projected profits for the golf course were declared to be at risk.


Prior to publishing his findings for the citizens, Fotheringham had provided his research to the 2001 Mayor and Council for their review and corrections, in any. When none was received he published his findings for citizens. New Councilman Rob Fotheringham’s letter concluded:

“I feel that our elected officials have overlooked significant risks inherent in city ownership of the golf course, and that the Mayor issued a misleading flier to secure our support in the election of the golf course bond. These actions merit our scrutiny. …

“…Many of the decisions required of the Council are mundane and even tedious. But this is significant, and deserves our attention as concerned residents.”       (emphasis in original letter)


2002 Councilman Fotheringham’s warning letter was distributed at his own expense to the Cedar Hills community.

Since then, the golf course has averaged over $550,000 in losses (taxpayer subsidies) with 20 more years likely, which is a huge difference from the promise of $150,000 annual profits, no taxpayer money, no Sunday operation and no alcohol.   No wonder the golf course and $3.3 million clubhouse has drawn so much attention over the years.  Additionally, 10-years of impact fees were collected to build a swimming pool & rec center but a golf clubhouse, golf grill, and wedding reception center was built with the money instead.

New Councilman Rob Fotheringham letter to CH residents 2002 01 06 - golf financial analysis-1of2





New Councilman Rob Fotheringham letter to CH residents 2002 01 06 - golf financial analysis-2of2


Financial facts don’t cause contention, only people who fight against facts and withhold them from the public.

Here are the facts as reported days ago by current Councilman

Rob Crawley, also a financial professional (current CFO and former CPA) to the Mayor and Council. As of yet, the year by year golf course losses have NOT been reported to Cedar Hills citizens generally in the monthly Newsletter, the annual State of City report, or on the city website. Reprinted here:



by current Councilman Rob Crawley

  • 2004    $7,114,152
  • 2005    $ 105,260
  • 2006    $ (14,767)  (Used leftover funds from original loan, paid down some debt)
2007    $ 448,741
  • 2008    $ 848,418
  • 2009    $ 591,176
  • 2010    $ 429,747
  • 2011    $ 348,196
2012    $2,631,780  (much of this is the building of the rec center/clubhouse)
  • 2013    $ 786,541
  • 2014    $ 358,886  (Total spent to date through 6/30/2014 is $13,648,130)
  • 2015    $ 400,000  (estimate)
2016    $ 800,000  (estimate, includes $300,000 for a golf maintenance shed)


For more on 2015 Councilman Rob Crawley’s golf course financial findings and possible alternative options, please see our CHCRG posting…

Golf Course Financial Report – Possibly most important doc in 10 years



In 2002, one week Fotheringham’s letter, then Mayor Brad Sears provided a Rebuttal to Councilman Fotheringham’s letter. Considering 10-years of financial facts above, Sears’ sudden resignation as CH Mayor, and 10-years of continuous free golf he has accepted, — though the rebuttal is a mute point, it is provided for your consideration.   (see letter at bottom)


In a courageous act, Pete Cannon, a Councilman who originally supported and promoted the golf course purchase in 2001, has recently apologized for his part in promoting the ill-fated golf course.  (for details see Facebook: Courageous 2001 CH Councilman Pete Cannon golf apology — http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/facebook-courageous-2001-ch-councilman-pete-cannon-golf-apology/ )


The good news is that 10-years of financial facts makes considering alternatives to a golf course, such as trading it for parks, trails, soccer fields, a cemetery, etc., an easier decision.  20 more years of golf losses is not required.  Solutions can be considered that serve 100% of the community not just 10% who golf.  Many people are starting realize this and are promoting park & trails for the kids of Cedar Hills.

Mayor Brad Sears REBUTTAL to Councilman Rob Fotheringham's golf analysis 2002 01 15 pg1of2Mayor Brad Sears REBUTTAL to Councilman Rob Fotheringham's golf analysis 2002 01 15 pg2of2







FACEBOOK – Courageous 2001 CH Councilman Pete Cannon golf apology

Written By: admin - Jul• 20•15

Councilman Rob Crawley Cedar Hills Chat Room Facebook post about Questionable Free Golf

July 18, 2015 at 8:46 a.m. –

(Note: This version of Crawley’s post was removed by a moderator, but was resubmitted with the final two paragraphs removed – highlighted in BLUE below – and added a one paragraph conclusion.)


I raised the concern a little while ago on the forum about the original contract between the city and the developer. Based on our contract to purchase and maintain the golf course, the developer was able to enjoy charging a premium for the homes surrounding the golf course while pushing off the risk and costs of maintaining the golf course to the city.

This appears from hindsight to have been a very one-sided contract. Through my research I found that in addition to the sweet deal the developer got from the city, they were also given (in the contract) 50 years of gift certificates with 30 free games per week for those 50 years. An astronomical amount of free golf. I asked if anyone knew why we would throw that on top in this already lopsided contract. Nobody had a good answer.

I have called two previous city council members, who were here at that time, and asked them if they knew why this happened. I want to document these conversations:

First I called Pete Cannon and explained the above. His response to me at first was that he didn’t remember that we gave them free golf with the contract. But after recounting the contract and the fact that the land of the golf course was given by the developers to the city, he can understand why we would give some gift certificates to the developer. The city paid the developer for the costs of developing the golf course (I believe management fees were included in this, but no land costs). However, he was shocked that we would give that much free golf for that many years. At the end of the conversation I asked if there was anything he would like to add. He said that “for what it is worth, I am sorry for voting yes on this as it has cost the residents a lot of money.  The arguments for the golf course were convincing and we thought that it would be saving the residents tax dollars through profits. I wish I had been more conservative and voted no. I remember Ken Cromar pulling me aside and telling me that the golf course industry trends are not looking good and that the numbers would surely lead to losses. I wish I would have listened to Ken.”

The other previous council member I called was Terry Sparks. He said he didn’t remember anything about free golf for the developer and said it sounds excessive the amount they were given. However, he defended his vote for the golf course because the residents had voted by a narrow margin in favor of it and as an elected representative he felt it best to follow the voice of the people

I haven’t had a chance to talk to Mayor Sears about this yet, but I am troubled by his actions. I have heard from credible sources that over the last 10 years since the start of the golf course he has been golfing for free quite often and sometimes bringing friends with him to golf for free. I would think there would be a little more humility than to take advantage of his previous position and not help the golf course succeed by at least paying for his golf. I know two years ago in the golf course committee meeting that I was told that for his free golf he fixes divots he sees and informs the staff of any thing he sees that needs improvement. However, fixing divots is what all responsible golfers would do and suggestions for improvements are what the golf manager and employees are responsible for. Lately I have heard that he has been given gift certificates from the developer (part of the 50 years of 30 rounds per week) that he negotiated with the developer. This looks really, really bad.

I have been told that someone from our staff has confronted Mayor Sears on this issue. I have heard conflicting accounts about whether he has used any of the developer gift certificates this year or not. I would suggest that Mayor Sears apologize to the city for taking advantage of the situation that he was a key part of creating and pay for all of his golf in the future.




Monday July 20, 2015 – revised & re-posted by Crawley around 3:00 a.m.

[apparently same post – minus last two in BLUE above regarding former Mayor Brad Sears, until this last paragraph in conclusion…]



I still don’t understand why we gave so much free golf away to the developers. Mr. Cannon did mention that on hindsight we were getting free land. However, according to our agreement with the developer, we were requiring that land for open space and so thee land was really a liability as the developer was required to maintain the golf course on that land in exchange for getting higher density on the housing. The amount of free golf still doesn’t make sense to me.

Councilman Rob Crawley Facebook post - 2015 07 18




[Final Note:  Councilman Rob Crawley is a current CFO, and former CFO for other companies and a former CPA.  

He has calculated the potential cost of 30 free golf games per week, for 50 years, at a potential cost of over $2,000,000.  No wonder some folks don’t want to discuss this issue and fight so hard against exposure.]



Meet the Candidates

Written By: admin - Jul• 18•15

The following is from Joel Wright’s Facebook posting about candidate responses at the July 14th Meet the Candidates event, and used here with his permission. (Edited for readability name consistency only.)  The meeting was not recorded, so having this is appreciated…



Curt Crosby

Chris Fowler

Benjamin Bailey

Jenney Rees

Paul Sorensen

Angela Johnson

Michael Geddes

Brian Miller

Craig Clement



Joel David WrightJuly 14 at 6:15pm

OPEN THREAD! Post anything and everything about the City Council debate tonight in the thread below.



 How will you be a team player?

– Curt Crosby says you shouldn’t be if team isn’t doing the right thing.

– Chris Fowler says you have to work in teams in business. Can’t personalize things too much.

‪- Benjamin Bailey says it takes the whole team to accomplish a task. You won’t always agree, but you need to play nice. You’ll be insulted, don’t take it personally.



 Thoughts on golf course?

– Jenney Rees says it is an asset the city has, must pay our debts. She’ll look at any option, but hasn’t seen one better than status quo. Course does add value to our city.

‪- Paul Sorensen says it is a divisive issue. He did extensive analysis. We have 10 years of history now. ‪Rob Crawley gave good options, and residents should decide.

‪- Angela Johnson says Rob has spent hundreds of hours. We need to look at options. We are losing about $500,000 a year on the golf course. The residents should vote on any change.



 What is number one thing you would do to increase safety in the city?


– Michael Geddes says he doesn’t even lock his doors. He thinks AF police do a good job. Just thank them for their service.

– Brian Miller is a former prosecutor. He says he lives in Cedar Hills because it is so safe. We should look out for each other. Need to reduce target shooting and fires on our foothills.

– Craig Clement says he doesn’t worry too much.



Can we build a community pool?


– Chris Fowler doesn’t know yet. He knows they typically lose money.

‪- Benjamin Bailey says it doesn’t look like we can afford it from taxpayers. He would like a community pool, but with so many so close, doesn’t think we can do it with taxes. ‪- – Jenney Rees says her kids would love a nearby pool, but too many pools nearby. Would add too much debt. Could do a feasibility study, and let residents vote on it.



 What is most important issue facing cedar hills?


‪Paul Sorensen says it is what we do with out tax dollars. We are subsidizing golf course at $550,000 a year.

‪- Angela Johnson says AF Canyon needs to be protected. And our commercial zone very important. She doesn’t like the high density housing.


What should be done with golf course?


‪- Brian Miller says we have a municipal golf course doing well. We are minimizing the costs for running it.

– Craig Clement says we need to sell the land to reduce the debt.

‪- Curt Crosby says the golf course is not what government should do. We shouldn’t force others to pay for the golf course.



When does metering our pressurized irrigation make sense? (My question!)


‪- Benjamin Bailey doesn’t want to spend 2 million on it. But it will happen. Wants help paying for it.

‪- Jenney Rees says our water consumption is high. She would like to see how the water restrictions work this year. Thinks state might require cities to do it and provide funds for it.

‪- Paul Sorensen likes the restrictions we are trying. Need to look at other options. Might have more water than we think. Wants to wait also.



Position on developing land south of Walmart?


‪- Angela Johnson says most residents don’t want high density housing. She says we need more land in commercial. A development more fitting to our community.

‪- Michael Geddes says that it isn’t city owned land.  The owners have property rights, so long as they comply with our laws. He would prefer something more than weeds.

‪Brian Miller says he would like a retail center, but Walmart has eliminated that. Want the right thing.


Have you volunteered at a city event?


– Craig Clement has volunteered at fan festival and on planning commission.

‪- Curt Crosby has volunteered, but wasn’t wanted. Says you should just pick up the trash.

‪Chris Fowler says he has coached soccer for 4 years. And at Cedar Ridge.


                        Preferred committee assignments?


‪Jenney Rees says Family Festival and Planning Commission.

‪- Paul Sorensen says we don’t get to chose. He would chose golf committee and planning commission. City council should choose assignments.

‪- Angela Johnson says planning commission and Mountainland. Wants Mayor to allow city council to help chose the assignments.



Support selling beer on golf course?


‪- Michael Geddes says the trash cans on course have lots of beer. Says it isn’t appropriate because young people working on course.

‪- Brian Miller says we are losing revenue on people who don’t come. It is something happening anyway.

– Craig Clement says he opposes it.



[Joel apologized that had to leave before questions finished, leaving his documentation incomplete.]

Original available at… http://www.facebook.com/groups/1595779503974389/



Golf Course Financial Report – Possibly most important doc in 10 years

Written By: admin - Jul• 18•15

Golf Course Options


Cedar Hills Councilman Rob Crawley

(Email Sent to City Council And Mayor 7/14/2015)

The Cedar Hills Golf Course is the single largest non-essential expense and most controversial issue that has ever faced the City. Further it is the cause of much of the discord that continues to permeate the city. We need to explore possible solutions

Therefore, after several years of researching the costs of the golf course and looking into ways to improve the profitability (individually as well as with the golf course finance committee), I would like to propose an alternative to continuing as is with the golf course. The golf course will continue to lose money at least until the bond is paid off in over 20 years and possibly indefinitely. Some have said that we have no option but to stay the course and continue to spend a large part of our city budget on the golf course. I believe there are always options. I have researched into many options and found all of them troubling individually, but I feel that a council-crawley-150x188combination of several different changes becomes a real option that may good for the city overall. Originally, the city residents did vote for the golf course. However, much of the information this decision was based on was inaccurate. I believe it is time for us to reassess the golf course as a city and decide if we want to continue as we have been, or whether to make a change. I am comparing two options.


Options for consideration:

Option 1 – Continue our same course of annual losses for 20 years until the bond is paid off.

Option 2 – Save money by turning the golf course into parks and other uses and pay off the bond.


Originally, the city residents did vote for the golf course. However, much of the information this decision was based on was inaccurate data; promising no cost to the taxpayers and profits of $1.5 million within 10 years (see attachments from 2001 golf course bond vote) Over the 10 years of operation, the average annual loss of $550,000 in taxpayer subsidies is the reality.
I believe it is time for us to reassess the golf course as a city and have the residents decide if we want to continue as we have been or whether to make a change. I am comparing two options. The residents need to vote on this, as they originally voted for it (albeit based on false data). They should now vote on accurate, historical data.


Option 1:

The first is continuing to run the golf course with cash expenditures of between $300,000 and $800,000 per year for the next 20 plus years. 
As a point of reference, following are the historical subsidies (cash and debt amounts) paid per year on the golf course:

2004    $7,114,152

2005    $ 105,260

2006    $ (14,767)  (Used leftover funds from original loan, paid down some debt)

2007    $ 448,741

2008    $ 848,418

2009    $ 591,176

2010    $ 429,747

2011    $ 348,196

2012    $2,631,780  (much of this is the building of the rec center/clubhouse)

2013    $ 786,541

2014    $ 358,886  (Total spent to date through 6/30/2014 is $13,648,130

2015    $ 400,000  (estimate)

2016    $ 800,000  (estimate, includes $300,000 for a golf maintenance shed)


(Note:  The total cost through June 30, 2014 would be reduced to approximately $12.3 Million if we only include ½ of the cost of the rec center/clubhouse as in reality it is used about ½ for golf related activities and ½ for reception and city related activities)


Based upon this track record, I would estimate cash needs of approximately $500,000 per year for the next 20 years. The average cash needs per year have been approximately $550,000 per year for the last eight years (excluding 2012 spending on the rec center). Based on conversations with city employees, I believe that the number of regular golfers from our city is between 30 and 100. This means that we subsidize between $5,000 and $18,000 per regular user of the golf course yearly. I do understand that others benefit from the golf course and there are those that golf less regularly. I am currently researching the data to determine the actual number of regular golfers from our city.


Option 2:

Orem recently closed Cascade Golf Course and turned it into the new Palisade Park with soccer fields, etc. Salt Lake City polled its citizens and found that 75% preferred to have parks trails, open space, et., in contrast to only 6% who wanted to keep golf, —with 19% undecided. The Salt Lake City Council decided to close two of its golf courses in a cost savings effort and expand the use of the land to serve more citizens. (see link to newspaper report below)


  • Refinance the golf bond debt with no strings attached to the golf course.
Discontinue operations of the golf course at the end of the 2015 season.
  • Sell enough of the land of the golf course to pay off the bond over the next few years. It is estimated that it would take selling less than 25% of the 115 acres of golf course property to pay off the bond. 50 of the acres of golf course currently are not maintained (i.e. 50 acres have native landscaping). Some of the acreage that would be sold and developed would be from the currently maintained area, some would be from unmaintained areas.
  • For the homes that border the golf course, expand the property line several feet to give them increased value to compensate for any reduction in value that this change could cause to bordering homes. Include a fence paid for by the city for these same residents.
  • Negotiate a new contract with either our current parks maintenance company or another company (based on bids) to maintain the golf course lands. The cost per year is estimated at $3,000 per acre and would probably cost approximately $150,000 per year. This is very comparable to the yearly operational losses of the golf course.
  • Abandon the plans to develop the Harvey Park that has been on the budget to purchase for several years, but due to legal issues has not been purchased.
  • Use the funds that we would have spent on the potential purchase of Harvey Park ($2 Million to $3 Million) to develop the golf course lands. There would need to be roads and parking lots to access the newly formed parks and there would need to be some land re-work to make some of the space usable as parks. The $2-$3M would only go so far. The city/residents would have to prioritize what the most important needs are (Parks/Soccer Fields/Baseball diamond, etc.).
Continue to charge the funds for the bond to the residents to upgrade and develop more of the space each year until it is all beautified and developed into what is ideal for the city and then reduce the taxes to the residents for the amount of the yearly PI Bond payment.


For option #2, I believe we could get the debt paid off and only have costs of $150,000 per maintenance. I believe we would have several thousand of our residents using the different parks and venues that we could create per year. If we assume that 1,000 residents use these parks, the cost per year per user would be $150 per user compared to the $18,000 per regular user of the golf course.


Advantages of Option #2:

  • Our losses from the golf course that we incur yearly would be stopped.
  • We could create parks and recreation venues that our residents could ALL enjoy on a regular basis.
  • Soccer and ball fields, additional trails, and picnic, etc., land would be available for resident use.
  • We would be able to have the resources to do future projects that we currently can’t afford.
  • The debate and arguments about the golf course would come to an end.
  • The need for a grill at the city would go away.
  • The need for proposed $300,000 golf maintenance shed would end.
  • The arguments and debate about whether to serve alcohol to golfers would end.



Arguments Against Option #2 and Rebuttal:


1) “We have a legal obligation to keep the golf course open.”  REBUTTAL: We do not have a legal obligation to keep the golf course open. Our development agreement was between the City of Cedar Hills and Lone Peak Links, the original developer. We fulfilled all of our obligations to Lone Peak Links in relation to the building of the golf course. As far as our obligation to others goes, we have no other contracts regarding the building and maintaining of a golf course. Nobody can expect an entity to lose $500,000 per year and continue doing so for many years to come and to commit to losses indefinitely is irresponsible to the residents.


2) “We have an ethical obligation to keep the course open for those that live in the Cedars.”

REBUTTAL: The City of Cedar Hills has gave a very valiant effort to make this work for the residents of the Cedars. After 12 years and $13.5 Million in expenditures, the City has done its due diligence to make this work. Those that live in the Cedars will benefit from wonderful soccer parks, baseball diamonds, and other green space options that they will be able to use at no cost. There is no legal liability from the city for those that live in the Cedars if we change from golf course green space to parks green space.


3) “Highland City will not allow us to change the area of the course in Highland City from golf course to parks.”

REBUTTAL: I have spoken about this to one of their city council people and he felt that there would be no problem at all making this change.


4) “The majority of residents want us to keep the golf course.”

Last year we did a survey for the city and one of the questions was “What would you do if you were mayor for one day.” The number 2 answer was shut down the golf course. The majority of the residents that I have talked to are tired of the losses of the golf course and would like to be freed from the burden so that we can do other things as a city. If Cedar Hills were to take a poll centered on the subject of the golf course, the results may be similar to Salt Lake City’s poll result of 75% preferring something other than golf for the land use.


5) “We will pay off the debt in about 20 years and then become profitable.”

REBUTTAL: The golf course industry is a declining business. As baby boomers age and are no longer able to golf, they are not being replaced by the younger crowd. This is a national trend. (See attached golf trend articles) For many years there have been more golf courses closing down than opening due to this trend. A recent study in Salt Lake City showed that of all the parks, trails and open space used in the Salt Lake City area, golf courses were utilized the least by residents. One of the questions posed to the city was “What would you do with repurposed Glendale Golf Course and Jordan River Par 3?”. Only 6% of those who responded wanted to keep the space as golf course. The golf course will not ever become profitable. Two problems the golf course has that will always keep it from becoming profitable are the other courses close by that are competition and the fact that we border a mountain that means we only have a 180 degree area to gain customers from. Additionally, our golf course has been characterized by players as difficult to play, hence not reaching the larger pool of potential golfers. If reconfiguration of the golf course to make it desirable to the average golfer were considered it could potentially cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands, in not millions more.



The golf course industry is declining. We have lost $13.5 Million plus in this experiment thus far. We can convert the golf course to other usable green space that residents will use and appreciate much more than the golf course. Nobody can expect a city to continue to lose money on a project like this without seriously considering making changes, in fact it is negligent to continue down this path without looking into other options. There are obstacles in order to make the proposed changes, but I believe there are none that are insurmountable. When the residents of the city realize that we have a viable alternative to continuing as we are with the golf course, a large majority of the city will agree to a change. This same scenario has proven out in Salt Lake City recently. Let’s let the residents vote on this very important issue now that options and facts are now evident.


The Golf Course Finance Committee has been re-convened and we will meet this Thursday to begin researching and discussing options for the golf course. I don’t claim to have all the answers and I believe there is wisdom in numbers so I feel that this committee with the help of experts and residents can present the best possible alternative to the status quo. I present this as a rough draft to begin the serious conversations going forward. I hope to have two options on the ballet in 2016. Once the facts have been presented in an unbiased manner and two options voted on by the city (status quo vs the best possible alternative), I am prepared to support the voice of the people and to help to make sure that there is peace in our city regarding this issue.



Rob Crawley/City Council



Supporting Documentation:


Link to Deseret News report on Salt Lake City Council’s golf poll and decision to close two golf courses



Link to articles discussing the decline of the golf industry





Link to articles about Orem turning Cascade Golf Course into their new Palisade Park  




[Attachments:   The 2001 Mayor Brad Sears & City Council authored and promoted the flyers below used to encourage residents to vote in favor of buying Golf Course.  Though successful in convincing 56% voter support, their information promising profitability, no alcohol or Sunday operation, no tax dollars to support golf course, etc., proved grossly inaccurate,  misleading and costly to Cedar Hills taxpayers.]

Mayor Sears golf flyer May 2001.a


Golf Course Open House May 2001 1of2a Golf Course Open House May 2001 2of2a


[NOTE:  Rob Crawley is a financial professional, currently employed as a CFO, having served as a CFO for other companies and as a CPA. ]


For the complete document above…

Golf Course Options – Councilman Rob Crawley – 2015 07 14

VIDEO: 9 current & former CH Council members attend Preserve & Protect AF Canyon meeting at AFHS

Written By: admin - Jul• 16•15

Preserve and Protect American Fork Canyon has posted their video of the July 1, 2015 meeting at American Fork High School.


Nine current and former Cedar Hills Council members were in attendance at the two-plus hour meeting.

Along with CH Mayor Gary Gygi, our current, sitting Council members Trent Augustus, Rob Crawley and Daniel Zappala spoke, with Jenney Rees not speaking.

Three former Council members spoke; Joel Wright, Ken Cromar, and Marisa Wright spoke, with Darren Lowder not speaking.

Click here to play…

Use the following time-codes to find each speaker.

0:39:00 Joel Wright – former CH Councilman – Can you make sure campaign donation recipients be removed from the committee.
0:40:20  –  Daniel Zappala – current CH Councilman
0:58:50   –  Marisa Wright – former CH Councilman
1:09:10  –   State Auditor John Dougal
1:15 45   –   Ken Cromar – former CH Councilman
1:26:20   –  Alpine Mayor Don Watkins
1:31:15   –   CH MAYOR GARY GYGI given opportunity to explain himself and the “considerations” he received from Snowbird – and follow-up Q&A – and, audience members ask Mayor Gygi if he will voluntarily step down from AF Canyon Vision Committee, but Mayor declines saying he has worked hard and is doing a good job.
–  34:30   Q. Property interest
–  35:30   Q. Your emails with Snowbird
–  37:30   Q. Land swap
–  38:45   Q. Mountain Accord
–  40:05   Q. AFCV pamphlets
–  41:40   Q. Buck Swaney – conflict of interest
–  42:40   Q. Will you recuse (leave) yourself from committee *
–  46:35   Q. Comment – bigger than Mayor Gygi
–  48:40   Q. Property rights
1:50:40    –   Daniel Zappala #2 suggests Commission promote zoning change
1:57:50    –   Trent Augustus  – current CH Councilman – contradicts Mayor Gygi claim
2:05:50   –   Rob Crawley – current CH Councilman – exposes helicopter ride gift from Snowbird



VIDEO: AF Canyon Preservation Resolution – THANKS to Councilman Augustus & Crawley

Written By: admin - Jul• 16•15

Councilman Augustus Resolution to Preserve & Protect AF Canyon

At the July 7th Cedar Hills City Council meeting, Trent Augustus proposed a Resolution in favor of preserving and protecting American Fork Canyon.  And, due to questions surrounding considerations given by Snowbird to Mayor Gary Gygi, the Resolution proposed replacing him on the American Fork Canyon Vision Committee with a representative approved by the Council.

Council members Rob Crawley & Trent Augustus voted AYE.  Council members Jenney Rees, Daniel Zappala and Mike Geddes voted NAY.


Councilman Zappala alternative Resolution

Councilman Zappala presented an alternate, similar Resolution, without the provision to replace Mayor Gygi.    Council members Rees, Zappala and Geddes voted AYE, — with Crawley & Augustus voting NAY.

Cedar Hills Resolution July 8th 2015 – YouTube posted by www.americanforkcanyon.com



Use the following time codes to hear specific speakers:

6:40 – Cherrel Bowen Haggen- former CH Councilman
9:50 – Aimee Augustus
11:00 – Brent Swienevelt sp? – UDOT & CH resident
15:00 – Councilman Daniel Zappal – makes hypocritical statement on “civility”, while he simultaneously managies www.AboutCedarHills.org which allows anonymous, defamatory postings against those who disagree with him and Mayor Gygi. Zappala’s website has sunk into insignificance lately due to the hostile and toxic environment. Marisa Wright’s managed FaceBook – Cedar Hills Chat Room has replaced it, attraching reasonable people and respectful, non-anonymous CH dialogue.
20:45 – Councilman Rob Crawley challenged Zappala’s “civility” comments
22:45 – Councilman Trent Crawley agree with Crawley’s challenges Zappala’s “civility” comments
24:05 – Paul Sorensen – Candidate for CH Council
24:05 – Angela Johnson – Candidate for CH Council
31:04 – Ken Cromar – former CH Councilman
34:25 – Dave Fields – VP of Resort Operations for Snowbird
48:05 – Councilman Trent Augustus proposes AF Canyon Resolution
58:35 – Mayor Gygi makes counter claims
1:01:00 – Councilman & Candidate Mike Geddes
1:05:00 – Councilman Rob Crawley challenges secretive Mayor on his claim of transparency
1:21:35 – Councilman & Candidate Jenney Rees
1:23:20 – Councilman Daniel Zappala

…Followed by discussion and votes on Augustus Resolution and alternative by Zappala, resulting in a CH Preserve and Protect AF Canyon Resolution.
Congratulations to Council members Trent Augustus for and Rob Crawley championing the will of the citizens.  Without their efforts the Resolution to Preserve and Protect American Fork Canyon may not have been resulted.  Thank you!


The Daily Herald reported the passing of the Resolution here…




Mayor Gygi asked if he will voluntary resign from AF Canyon Vision committee

Written By: admin - Jul• 02•15

20150701_181239Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi, and eight current and previous Cedar Hills Councilmembers attended the Preserve and Protect American Fork Canyon (PPAFC & www.americanforkcanyon.com ) public meeting at American Fork H.S., moderated by Mark Allen and County Commissioner Bill Lee.

Remarkably, a total nine current and former CH Council members were in the audience.  Former Council members Joel Wright, Ken Cromar and Marisa Wright also made comment and asked questions.  Sitting Mayor Gary Gygi and Council members Daniel Zappala, Trent Augustus, and Rob Crawley also commented.  (Former CH council member Darin Lowder and current council member Jenney Rees were also in attendance, but did not speak.)

The Meeting

When former CH Joel Wright took the microphone he challenged the transparency of those on the American Fork Canyon Vision (AFCV)  committee.  Wright said he felt anyone who had received any sort of consideration from Snowbird shouldn’t be representing the interests of the citizens and should not be representing Utah County citizen interest on the American Fork Canyon Vision committee.
Ken Cromar – researcher for CHCRG and former elected Councilman thanked Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee and P&PAFC leader Mark Allen for alerting and fighting in behalf of Utah County citizen representation on this important issue, to which the audience applauded them with approval.
Cromar reported that at Monday’s AFCV committee meeting he asked during public comment if anyone at the table had received any considerations from Snowbird or related entities.  Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson had acknowledged a $3,500 campaign contribution connected to Snowbird, but no one else responded admitting Snowbird connections, including Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi.
Cromar added that he surprised Tuesday to find a PPAFC FaceBook post of GRAMA requested email chain between Snowbird owners Dick Bass and Ian Cummings with Mayor Gygi, demonstrating a connection at least as far back as November of 2013.  (see related CHCRG post… http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/snowbird-seeks-gondola-up-af-canyon-with-mayor-gygis-help/ .)  Cromar wanted to know if there would be any other conflict of interest surprises.
Cromar then asked Utah State Auditor John Dougal to address state law requirement for written conflict of interest statements from public officials.   Dougal explained details of when they were required, but said that he was aware of many who didn’t file the statements because their supporters claim, “It’s not necessary, because everybody knows he’s a good guy and doesn’t need to.”  Dougal said being a good guy doesn’t matter, and that the conflict of interest statement filings were still required by state law.
Alpine Mayor Don Hadfield stood and publicly declared that he had received nothing from Snowbird, and was sympathetic to citizen concerns that the process be open and transparent, because he felt the same way.

CH Mayor Gygi

Mark Allen offered Mayor Gary Gygi the microphone and opportunity to share his perspective.      20150701_194757
Mayor Gygi came to the front for the next number of minutes explained that he had been to a banquet honoring Robert Redford with tickets provided by Snowbird, but claimed no other conflict of interest except that he has a house in Cedar Hills.
CH Councilman Trent Augustus spoke pointing out the Gygi had failed to mention city-owned residential lots near the mouth of the canyon and that the CH Council had preliminary consideration a potential zone change to commercial.  This morning Augustus followed up his comments by posting an email document Gygi sent to “27 various mayors and city council members in Utah County” just prior to the last night’s meeting, lobbying for  “private property” rights (Snowbird’s), demonstrating additional contradictions regarding his claim being transparent and without conflict of interest.  (see separate post today with details at http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/councilman-augustus-mayor-gygi-ignoring-council-ch-af-and-county-residents/ )
Then, CH Councilman Rob Crawley stood and added that he was aware of another item omitted by Gygi at least one helicopter trip given Gygi by Snowbird, and wondered if there would be any other surprises.
An audience member then asked Gygi if in the interest of public trust if he would himself from the AFCV committee. Gygi claimed that he had no conflict of interest, that he was representing the will of the CH residents, but did not directly answer whether or not he would step down.  The question was reiterated requesting that he answer.  He didn’t, but maintained that “everyone on the Committee would tell you” that he is fair and above board.
                Alpine Mayor Don Watkin – former CH Councilman Ken Cromar
                             –  Eagle Mountain Mayor Chris Pengra 
After the meeting Alpine Mayor Hadfield & Eagle Mountain Mayor Chris Pengra came away from meeting expressing question regarding Mayor Gygi’s transparency and full disclosure.
Based on the questions and comments throughout the evening, the subject of trust and credibility appeared foremost  on the minds of most audience members.
             Mark Allen of Preserve & Protect AF Canyon with Alpine Mayor Don Watkins
   americanforkcanyon.com   &  https://www.facebook.com/ProtectAmericanForkCanyon

Various News Reports: Snowbird’s development desires for AF Canyon exposed

Written By: admin - Jul• 02•15

Mountain Accord agrees to put Utah County planning on hold

July 1, 2015  —  Cathy Allred — Daily Herald

AMERICAN FORK — Mountain Accord has put a hold on its Utah County plans, specifically regarding American Fork Canyon, while moving ahead with its Salt Lake, Summit and Wasatch counties blueprint.Daily-Herald.LOGO.1

“What we’re hearing is what Utah County would rather do is conduct their own process to evaluate the land exchange in Utah County,” said Laynee Jones, Mountain Accord program manager. “We are supportive of that.”

She said Mountain Accord had been in communication with the three Utah County commissioners.

“We are supportive as Utah County takes a lead on the issue,” she said. “We will be discussing how to move forward.”

Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee announced the same news Wednesday night at an American Fork High School public meeting.

For the complete article…  
Links to additional recent reporting…

Snowbird manager reacts to outcry over proposed expansion into American Fork Canyon

Posted 4:27 pm, June 25, 2015 — Fox 13 News

fox 13 news logo
SALT LAKE CITY — The general manager of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort is reacting to recent public outcry over a land swap proposal, and he said he wants to reassure people they aren’t proposing to put in condos or hotels should they expand.

Proposed land swap at American Fork Canyon troubles residents

By Jasen Lee June 23rd, 2015 @ 7:16pm   KSL.com Logo
PROVO — Scores of residents packed the Utah County Commission chambers Tuesday to voice their anxiety and disapproval of a proposal that would trade just over 400 acres of coveted land in American Fork Canyon for about 1,400 acres of federal forest land located in Salt Lake County.

Possible expansion of Snowbird into American Fork Canyon has Utah County residents in uproar

Posted 8:16 p, June 23, 2015 by Kiersten Nunez, updated at 8:18 pm, June 23, 2015 — Fox 13 News

 fox 13 news logo
UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Dozens of Utah County residents had strong words for their county commissioners regarding possible expansion of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort into American Fork Canyon.

Snowbird manager reacts to outcry over proposed expansion into American Fork Canyon

 Posted 4:27 pm, June 25, 2015  — Fox 13 News   fox 13 news logo
SALT LAKE CITY — The general manager of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort is reacting to recent public outcry over a land swap proposal, and he said he wants to reassure people they aren’t proposing to put in condos or hotels should they expand.

Utah County residents rally to fight ski resort plans

(KUTV) Thousands of Utahns have rallied online to express their concern and anger over a proposed land swap that could impact American Fork Canyon. People in Utah County say they were kept in the dark about a deal that could change their beloved playground forever.


Councilman Augustus: Mayor Gygi ignoring Council, CH, AF and County Residents

Written By: admin - Jul• 02•15

Last night, Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi, and eight current and previous Cedar Hills Councilmembers attended the Preserve and Protect American Fork Canyon public meeting at American Fork H.S., moderated by Mark Allen and County Commissioner Bill Lee.

Former Council members Joel Wright, Ken Cromar and Marisa Wright made comment and asked questions.  Sitting Council members Daniel Zappala, Trent Augustus, and Rob Crawley also commented.  Former Council member Darin Lowder and current Council member Jenney Rees were also in attendance, but did not speak.  (see separate post today with those details)

The following was posted by Cedar Hills Councilman Trent Augustus this morning on Cedar Hills Chat Room and at the Preserve and Protect American Fork Canyon Fackbook at https://www.facebook.com/ProtectAmericanForkCanyon/posts/1613417608943951  regarding their public meeting:


Cedar Hills Councilman Trent Augustus:

For the past several weeks residents across Utah County have asked for open and transparent communication when it comes to the issues facing American Fork Canyon. During the meeting held last night at American Fork High School I, again, publicly stated that I would be presenting a resolution this coming Tuesday to the Cedar Hills city council supporting the environmental stewardship of American Fork Canyon. The resolution I will be presenting is very closely modeled after the one recently approved by the American Fork city council.

Directly following last night’s meeting, I had several people immediately approach me and say hey if you’re presenting a resolution you need to know what your mayor did today. So, yesterday July 1st at 3:15pm Mayor Gary Gygi sent the following email to 27 various mayors and city council members in Utah County.

It is very disconcerting that our mayor is so adamantly trying to protect Snowbird that he would go out and send an email such as this. Since Snowbird is very clearly a private property owner in American Fork Canyon, if this type of language was added to a resolution it would very clearly dictate that a city would be supporting Snowbird in whatever use they decided to come up with in AF Canyon.

Mayor Gygi below says that the residents drive his marching orders. The residents of Cedar Hills, American Fork and Utah County have very clearly said that they do not want American Fork Canyon commercialized and for Snowbird to control a large portion of the canyon. However, Mayor Gygi isn’t heeding his own advice and listening to the residents. He continues to ignore the Cedar Hills City Council, the residents of Cedar Hills, the residents of American Fork and the residents of Utah County.

I am again saddened and utterly disappointed in Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi for again willfully taking an action such as this.


CH Mayor Gygi email:

From: Gary Gygi <ggygi@cedarhills.org>
Date: July 1, 2015 at 3:15:47 PM MDT
To: ***email addresses removed to protect the various parties and addresses***

Mayors, there is a lot of excitement and much misinformation lately about American Fork Canyon and Snowbird so I want to give you information directly. I do like the Snowbird idea but I have never advocated for Snowbird in any of our American Fork Canyon steering committee meetings. BTW, I have also not advocated for Save our Canyons either, I have said that the residents will drive my marching orders and my residents don’t like it so I will respect that despite my personal feelings about it. I see that American Fork City and other cities are looking at making resolutions of various types supporting the canyon as it is. I would just like to encourage you to not forget the property rights of anyone who owns real property, be it private or public land. I would also encourage you if you choose to make a resolution to not forget that we all enjoy 1st amendment rights which extend to individuals and corporations. I have been advocating for all parties to be heard and I fear our freedoms and liberties are being trampled on if forget the property rights and 1st amendment rights aspect of our resolutions.
Thanks for you time.




Snowbird seeks Gondola up AF Canyon with Mayor Gygi’s help

Written By: admin - Jul• 01•15

Snowbird is attempting to make a land swap of 416 acres of American Fork Canyon land in order to build a gondola and other developments.  If Snowbird is successful, this would dramatically change the make up AF canyon, its access and uses, loved by so many.

Snowbird’s efforts, with Mayor Gary Gygi’s help, has been going on for months behind the scenes, without public knowledge or citizen input — let alone full disclosure by Gygi to his own Cedar Hills Council.

When the Salt Lake based Mountain Accord group’s efforts to benefit Snowbird were discovered two months ago, an ad hoc FaceBook group Preserve and Protect American Fork was organized by Utah County resident Mark Allen.  It has quickly grown to 6,000 concerned citizens, hoping to stop the process until Utah County citizen involvement and representation can be secured.    See… https://www.facebook.com/ProtectAmericanForkCanyon

Snowbird 2013 invite to CH Mayor Gygi - 11148394_1612699842349061_2436263025574922332_n

However, yesterday, June 30, 2015, at 1:18 a.m., Preserve & Protect American Fork Canyon  posted on their Facebook page a GRAMA request-discovered-document showing that Mayor Gary Gygi has been involved with Snowbird owners Dick Bass and Ian Cumming at least since November 9, 2013, though Gygi has not informed the CH Council members fully regarding his recent involvement, let alone his documented involvement since November 2013.  Gygi has been unwilling to discuss the full details of his involvement or efforts.

It was recently discovered that Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson had received a $3,500 campaign contribution connected to Snowbird.  He sits on the American Fork Canyon Vision committee with Mayor Ggyi, who hasn’t disclosed any considerations yet connected to Snowbird.

The Preserve and Protect AF Canyon Facebook post encouraged readers to:

“Send [Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi] some emails and get a public statement. He would not engage with us except with disdain. Friend him send him some emails or comments to think about.

“FB page

“Grama Request – someone sent this to us.
http://americanforkcanyon.com/…/GRAMA7-Snowbird-and-Gygi.pdf ”


A public meeting will be held TONIGHT at American Fork H.S. from 6 to 10 p.m.  Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee and Utah State Auditor John Dougal will be on hand to comment and hear from concerned citizens.


Cedar Hill residents who may want to ask Mayor Gygi to make a full report to the Council and residents of his involvement since November 2013, can contact him by email at…   ggygi@cedarhills.org