Friday, April 11, 2008

Utah Co. GOP shoots itself in the foot

This post is a follow up to yesterday's on Rep. Morley's legal troubles with his Cottonwood Heights-based hedge fund and the Utah County Republican Party's role in trying to sweep it under the rug. Sure enough, the delegate meeting happened (despite rumors that it would be canceled due to press coverage) and the off-limits topics remained taboo.

Then Rep. Morley had the gumption to claim that "I think it would have been better if I could have got this out and explained how complicated it really is. The fact is, I put five million in, got two (million out) and lost three million." If you had said you wanted to talk about it, Rep. Morley, I am sure they would have accomodated that. Or you could have brought it up yourself during the meeting. But for "some reason" you didn't.
"This was almost canceled because a small group in the party wants to protect their own," said John Webb, a delegate.

"I'm so frustrated with this party right now and what they're doing."

Other delegates also heard rumors the event might be canceled due to rumbling about a showdown of personal attacks. The committee, however, denied talk of any termination.

"We just want to keep the meeting all about the issues," said Maryanne Davis, Utah County Republican Committee member. "In order to get the issues out, they're not allowed to attack personal character."

Davis defended Morley, saying 98 percent of businessmen end up in litigation. The complaint "doesn't mean a thing," she said. "It doesn't need to be brought up when it doesn't matter that much."

[Morley's challenger Chance] Williams disagrees: "We're talking about millions and millions of dollars in bids for charter schools and large lawsuits of misappropriating millions," he said. "How is that not an open issue?"
Davis has got to be kidding, right? Ninty-eight percent of all businessmen end up in litigation? As I lawyer, I guess I should wish it were true. According to small, "[t]here were an estimated 203,468 small businesses in Utah in 2004." Yet there were only 87,191 civil cases [PDF, see page 16 of 20] filed in Utah state courts in FY 2007, and three years later, I am sure there were more businesses in Utahby then, small, medium or large ones. Even this is being generous, since civil cases include interpersonal disputes (like where a bountry line is between two neighbors, who gets the house under Uncle Bernie's will, etc.) and not just business litigation. Even just business litigation is more often than not against the business itself as in entity, and not the individual owners or managers (which is the whole reason why people incorporate their business in the first place). Rarer still are prosecutions of invididuals by the SEC for ones business practices. So the idea that "98 percent" of businessmen end up in litigation like this is laughable on so many levels.

"These shouldn't be seen as personal issues," Chance Williams told reporters after the meeting, "they represent who [Rep. Morley] is and what he stands for." The meeting by contrast, showed what the Utah County Republican Party appearantly stands for: incumbent protection.

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