Former UTOPIA executive intends to sue West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder over story
Shaw said that's also when UTOPIA found out about Winder's double identity, which he says makes Hogan's claims of conspiracy against UTOPIA invalid.
"At the time, we had no knowledge that Mayor Winder was Mr. Burwash," he said.
Shaw said he shared the court documents with UTOPIA stakeholders, including Winder, as West Valley City is the network's largest participating municipality. He said UTOPIA "did not have any knowledge" that the information would be used in a news article.
Winder said he wrote the story because he was "frustrated by what was going on" with media reports about a federal lawsuit in which Hogan alleged he was fired for pointing out potential conflicts of interest at UTOPIA. Hogan served for two years as a consultant over the network's sales, marketing, business development and engineering efforts.
"One side of the story wasn't being told," Winder said Thursday, "and I had a mechanism for telling the story."
Both lawsuits are still active.
Despite not knowing Burwash was Winder, Shaw says, "the factual basis of the story is correct."
Four days after the story was posted on KSL.com, former Deseret News managing editor LaVarr Webb emailed Deseret News and Deseret Connect editors with concerns about the story being one-sided.
Noting that he's a friend and former neighbor of Hogan, Webb expressed concern that Hogan was being "treated unfairly, especially by UTOPIA leaders."
"I'm concerned because the story included factual errors and lacked any sort of balance," he wrote.
Deseret News editors opted not to run the story, and it since has been removed from KSL.com.
In addition to Winder's ties to the story as mayor of West Valley City, UTOPIA was a client of his employer at the time, The Summit Group.
Winder said no one at The Summit Group was aware that he was the author of the news story until last week.
Spokeswoman Julie Paulson said UTOPIA on Wednesday put its contract with The Summit Group "on hiatus."
"Given the circumstances, we thought that would be best for all parties," she said.
Paulson also admitted that Winder used her Deseret Connect account in June to attempt to publish a pro-UTOPIA story. Editors rejected the submission after checking facts in the article.
One source interviewed in the story said he had not spoken with Paulson and instead had talked with "Mike," who represented himself as a Deseret News reporter. Paulson also had not identified herself as a UTOPIA employee.
She said Winder "thought it would be a good idea to ghostwrite some stories for (UTOPIA.)"
Paulson said she gave Winder permission to set up the freelance writer account using her information, but that Winder wrote the article.
Winder claims the news story was "a collaboration."
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