Whistleblower alleges fraud, fire code violations and cover-ups at Salt Lake City Fire Department
A Salt Lake City Fire captain has filed a notice of claim at City Hall alleging fraud, state fire code violations, cover-ups and retaliation by top brass in the department.
Martha Ellis, a 21-year veteran and former battalion chief and fire marshal, says in her June 6 notice she was demoted recently after raising concerns, including allegations aimed at members of the department's executive team engaging in personal activities on city time, payroll fraud, a lack of smoke detectors at Fire Station 2 that caught fire and installation of bicycle lanes on 300 South that yielded a roadway narrower than required by the state and city fire code.
A notice of claim is a required first step to a lawsuit against a government entity. The Tribune obtained the document under the state's open-records law after appealing the city's initial denial on grounds it was a private record.
Attorney Jaqualin Peterson, who is representing Ellis, said the claim was filed because "the city wasn't taking any of this seriously."