Second polygamous town official charged with misusing public money

The Salt Lake Tribune/August 18, 2011

A second polygamous town official has been indicted on misuse of public money charges in Arizona.

Colorado City town manager David Darger faces 13 felony counts, according to a Thursday press release from the Mohave County Attorney’s Office. The charges include violating the duties of a custodian of public monies and participating in a criminal syndicate. They stem from Darger’s time as secretary-treasurer of the town’s fire district.

A 30-count indictment from the town’s fire chief, Jacob Barlow, was released Tuesday.

Nearly all residents of the border towns of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs.

Darger and Barlow were indicted Aug. 4, the same day Jeffs was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault of a child in Texas. Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years.

Darger’s attorney, Colin Campbell, of Phoenix, said he was studying the indictment.

"We don’t believe that Mr. Darger has committed any crimes," he said. "We certainly are hopeful that he will be exonerated in the process."

Both Darger and Barlow have court appearances scheduled for Aug. 23.

The charges come after Mohave County sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant on the Colorado City Fire Department last year. The warrant focused on the purchase of meals, a trip to the Lava Hot Springs in Idaho, food and furniture bought at Costco, and tax-preparation software.

Arizona attorney Mike Piccerreta, who is representing Jacob Barlow, said, "This case will be Exhibit One as an example of government abuse of the process, and is another example of Mohave County and the state of Arizona’s war on Colorado City."

The Mohave County Attorney’s Office had no further comment on the charges.

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