Third District congressional candidate Bill Orton is calling on his opponent, Karl Snow, to "clear the air once and for all" about Snow's involvement with Michael Strand and a Unique Battery/Global Oil stock scheme.
In a letter to Snow dated Oct. 15, Orton says, "This question of your involvement comes up in virtually every one of our joint appearances and is frequently raised by voters. Clearly, many people are not convinced that they have received all of the information. Until the questions are thoroughly aired and all the issues dealt with, they will continue to consume valuable time in this campaign."Snow campaign spokesman Clark Caras dismisses Orton's request as a "last ditch ploy . . . to pull voters away from issues of a balanced budget, the Persian Gulf situation and pertinent issues and cloud the campaign with more innuendos."
Orton is chagrined that during a debate on KUTV's "Take Two" show Sunday night, one-third of the program was devoted to the stock topic. He says he has commented on the matter "only in direct response to questions posed me about the report issued by Snow's CPA and attorney."
That report, released more than a week ago by Provo CPA Curtis S. Bramble, cleared Snow of any wrongdoing but left some questions unanswered, Orton said. Specifically, Orton questions why Snow signed a document stating he owned stock in Unique Battery Systems but claims now to have "never held any Unique Battery stock." Also, Orton questions why Snow later signed over stock certificates that he "never heard of at all, never bought or accepted as free and doesn't remember signing over."
Snow has said he was offered 100,000 shares of stock in Global Oil in exchange for serving as a member of the company's board of directors. The stock was issued to him before he responded to the request; when he then declined the offer, he signed documents transferring the stock back to Strand, he said.
Orton wants Snow to hold a public forum in which "the press, public, investors and anyone else with an interest" can review pertinent documents and question Snow about his involvement.
"Once this is done and reported, the voters can decide where the truth lies," Orton states in his letter.
Orton also questions the "independence" of Bramble's report since Bramble is "Mr. Snow's own CPA" and was a Snow delegate in the Republican convention.
"There has been no other political candidate in the history of the state of Utah who has bared his life to the voters in the form of every conceivable document dealing with the last 10 years of his life than has occurred with Karl Snow," Caras said. "The only thing someone has not asked for in Karl's life is his marriage certificate."
Orton's references to the integrity of Bramble's report are "disheartening," Caras said.
"As to (Orton's) challenge to debate the issue, the entire report has been published in a local newspaper and the CPA and attorney spent over 100 hours coming to their conclusion," Caras said.
A previous investigation by four local attorneys reached the same conclusion about Snow's involvement with Strand - that there was no impropriety, Caras said.