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Meet The Candidate - Al Lundgren

Article Date: 
16 July, 2010 - 06:00

Al Lundgren is a candidate for county attorney running against the incumbent Jann Farris.  Lundgren currently serves on the County Council.  Lundgren grew up in Colorado and attended his first year of college at Colorado State.  After the first year he moved to Utah to attend BYU.  
After a year at BYU, Lundgren served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sweden.  He then returned to BYU, where he finished his degree with three majors, Law Enforcement, Swedish, and Chemistry.  This diversity of interests was foreshadowing of a life filled with diverse interests and work experiences.
Lundgren began his working career as an agent for the FBI in the Salt Lake Office.  He remembers that he was the agent on duty when DB Cooper jumped out of the plane and later worked on the case of the copycat hijacker, Richard McCoy.  Lundgren worked for the FBI for three years after which he changed careers into real estate and securities.  Lundgren’s career then took him into advertising where he managed the outdoor advertising for 3-M.  His territory covered the whole of the western United States and he was constantly travelling, a life that was not conducive to being with his family.  To be able to spend more time with his family, he left and worked as a police officer for Murray City.  He later started his own business in outdoor advertising, which he ran for nearly ten years.  
Lundgren then sold this business and decided that he wanted to pursue a career change.  He had enjoyed his time in law enforcement, and now pursued this field in a different way.  He went back to BYU at the same time three of his children were attending.  They were working on their bachelor’s degrees and he was going to law school.  He says, “I managed to graduate with honors, which was kind of cool, but I was at the BYU law school and three of my children were attending BYU as undergraduates.” “They always ducked when dad came near.”, he says with a chuckle.  
Lundgren is the father of seven. Karen, his wife of seven years, is the mother of nine, two of which are adopted and have mental handicaps.  They have forty grandchildren.  There is clearly a love of children and family in this couple.  They have had foster children in their home for many years as well as their own.  Their only remaining child at home has downs syndrome and it is in its late stages.  It is touching to watch Lundgren and his wife as they tenderly meet the needs of their daughter.  She needs regular care now as her mental and physical state has deteriorated.  Lundgren talks about his wife as the angel that has cared for their daughter when the doctors have said there is no more they can do.  They are receiving help from hospice now as their daughter reaches the end of her life. They appreciate each day that is granted to them with her.
Lundgren has practiced law ever since graduating from law school.  He has been licensed to practice law in Utah, Kansas, and California.  His time practicing law in California started with a small bump in the mid nineties.  Lundgren related the experience that his company in California was being sued along with one of the employees.  In a conference with the judge he stated that his employee would be OK with the schedule that the judge had proposed.  The judge took a strict view of the law and reported Lundgren to the bar for practicing law without being licensed in California.  The complaint resulted in a suspension of his license to practice law retroactively for two months, but Lundgren passed the bar in California shortly thereafter and went on to represent himself in the lawsuit.
Lundgren then built up a firm in Sacramento of nearly 50 attorneys from which he later retired.  When Lundgren retired he decided to move to Morgan.  Lundgren had fallen in love with the area when he had first visited in the mid seventies and it seemed the perfect place for retirement.  He moved to the county in 1997.
His retirement was short lived.  He missed work and decided to return to practicing law.  
Lundgren began serving in the county government as the Chairman of the Board of Adjustments.  He was later appointed to serve out the term of David Miller on the county council.  He has loved his experience on the council and felt good about being able to give back to the county he loves.
When County Attorney Wright resigned Lundgren had a number of individuals in the county encourage him to run for the position.  He did not feel that the timing was right to run, but he has continued to receive encouragement .
When the opportunity came to run this year, Lundgren felt that the time was right.  He feels that his experience in a wide range of legal issues will serve the county well.  He says, “We have had some problems in the county over the last few years…I think those problems have arisen primarily from a lack of experience and understanding and I think I offer a lot of experience and knowledge and professionalism and I think the county can benefit from them.”
Lundgren feels that some of the contracts with developers have not been written in a way that protected the county.  He gave an example of one, he says, “One of those is the development contract with Ravala for the new bridge.  That development agreement required the county to build the bridge, and after the bridge was completed Ravala would pay back to the county $750,000.  When the development agreement was written, like all contracts, you want some collateral for that big of a job.  In case Ravala defaulted the county wanted some security that it could go back on to get their money, if Ravala did not have the cash.  The development agreement provided that in the event that the Ravala Partnership  (Morgan Valley Partners) defaulted then the county security was a letter of credit drawn upon Morgan Valley Partners.  Normally a letter of credit is drawn upon a bank or some other financial institution.  So if the company defaults you go to the bank and say ‘Pay up off this letter of credit.’  The way the development agreement was written if Morgan Valley Partners defaulted we have to go to Morgan Valley partners and tell them to pony up the money.  It was illusory. “
Lundgren points out the number of outside attorneys that the county has used as another opportunity.  He reports that there are least three outside attorneys working for the county right now.  He believes that these outside firms would be necessary less often with the wide range of experience he possesses.  
Lundgren talks about what he would bring to the position.  He says, “ I ran my own business or was heavily involved in the management of businesses for twenty years.  My legal experience is very broad.  I have handled small to medium size corporate business, I have done family law, done criminal law, just about a little of everything.  I have been a developer, I have been involved in real estate.  I understand about those issues.  I worked with a lot of zoning issues when I was involved with the sign company and worked on a lot of advisory committees from cities from Logan to St. George.  So I have a pretty good understanding of how the zoning process and the development process goes and I am comfortable working in those areas.  I think that experience is a good asset and the county can benefit from it.  I have done a fair number of trials.  I understand the trial process.  I am very comfortable in court.”
Lundgren also talks about the balance between settling criminal cases vs. taking these cases to trial.  He believes that the county would be better served by going to trial more often to ensure that appropriate punishment is given to the criminals.  He also believes his experience would serve the county well in gaining convictions from these cases.
Lundgren believes the county is much better positioned to manage the development issues that have become a part of life in the county.  He believes the council has hired the right staff, with good experience and believes that the county code is better crafted to provide the right level of control on development.  Lundgren believes that his experience will also add the right legal council to this mix.
Lundgren also says that he is here to stay.  He says, “ One thing that I offer the county is…My goal is to stay in the county and serve in the county.  I am not looking to be appointed as a judge, I am not looking to become the next senator from Utah.  My goal is to work here in the county until I ultimately retire…Other people who have served as Morgan County Attorney have indicated the desire move up to another position or have actually left the service.  I am not going to be doing that…I love it here!”  
Lundgren has a website for those who would like to learn more about his campaign.  It is AlvinLundgren.com .