Bingham County Prosecutor Scott Andrew sent a letter this week requesting that Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and his staff take the lead in an ongoing criminal investigation into alleged misconduct at Bingham Memorial Hospital, a former county hospital.
Andrew cited concerns about a potential conflict of interest, as he represents the county and has represented the hospital in civil matters.
A spokesman for Wasden said its likely state lawyers will assist.
County leaders earlier launched a probe into allegations against hospital employees.
County officials say that among other problems, they found hospital employees were told to hide drugs in cars during an audit because the hospital lacked secure storage cabinets.
Last week, hospital administrators and the hospitals board responded with a tort claim a precursor to a lawsuit against the county, contending it conspired to oust six hospital administrators and certain hospital board members.
The hospital administrators say the county officials appear to be motivated by a personal animus against certain individuals within the hospitals administration and other improper motivations.
It alleged that the two used the media and other forms of public pressure to force out the administrators and change the hospitals board of directors.
Andrew said the hospitals portrayal of facts is not an accurate representation of what was going on.
Hospital officials say the negative publicity generated by County Commissioner Ladd Carter and Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Lee Hammett has cost the hospital at least $250,000 in revenue and expenses defending against accusations.
The hospital became a privately operated 501(c)3 organization in 2007. The county still owns the hospital building and leases it to the nonprofit.
The tort claim named the hospital staffers who were allegedly targeted as Louis Kraml, Dan Cochran, Jake Erickson, Jeff Daniels, Justin Dalling and Craig Oswald.
Kraml is the hospitals chief executive officer, while Cochran is the chief operating officer. Erickson, Daniels, Dalling and Oswald are administrators.
Bingham Memorial attorney Erik Stidham declined to speculate on possible motives for Hammett and Carter, but said some of those involved had relatives who are former hospital employees.
The board issued a statement Thursday saying it engaged Holland & Hart, a law firm, to review allegations against the hospital.