Utahns for Ethical Government reiterated charges Wednesday that 3rd District congressional candidate Karl Snow is not telling the truth about the depth of his involvement with two penny stock companies and convicted stock swindler Michael Strand.
Members of the group said during a press conference at the State Capitol that Snow was closely associated with Global Oil, one of the penny stock companies Strand promoted, and also represented himself as being closely associated with the firm.However, a spokesman for the group said it is not alleging Snow broke any laws or acted criminally; rather, it is questioning his integrity.
"Our issue today is not breaking the law," said Scott Norton, chairman of the group. "Our issue today is breaking the confidence of the public."
Utahns for Ethical Government did not support primary Republican candidate John Harmer and is not now supporting Democratic challenger Bill Orton, Norton said. However, Eric Schutzke, author of a Student Review article the group plans to distribute in the 3rd District, is a distant cousin of Harmer's and worked for his primary campaign.
During the conference, three members of the group - Herb Gleason, John Darger and Percy Kalt - reiterated charges they have made previously in the 1990 campaign, e.g., that Snow was involved with Strand and gave credibility to Strand's Global Oil company.
"Snow admitted (in early 1985) that he had an official position in Strand's company, a position that was represented as ownership," said Gleason, a real estate agent who now lives in Florida.
Gleason said that "Snow's credibility was a major factor in my decision to invest" in Global Oil.
Norton also passed out a letter from Maurice Turley, a former business partner of Gleason who now lives in Texas. Turley says in his letter that "Karl Snow was promoted by Mike Strand as an influential and powerful individual who was involved with" Global Oil.
Darger, who owned Unique Battery, a company that was to be merged with Global Oil, said Snow and Strand met numerous times in 1985 to discuss strategies to get an IRS suit against Strand reconsidered and to talk about Unique Battery Systems and Global Oil.
Darger also said that as efforts to merge the two companies proceeded, Strand recommended that Snow be made a member of the board of directors of Global Oil. To avoid tax liability, Strand proposed that Snow be given 100,000 shares of Unique Battery stock prior to the merger for services rendered.
Darger told the Deseret News that Strand may have made the proposal before discussing it with Snow. However, Darger said he asked Snow about his position with the company a month later and "he accepted it . . . He knew at that point in time what was going to take place."
Snow maintains he investigated Unique Battery and thought the battery had potential. But he says he later declined to become involved officially with either company because some of the individuals involved were polygamists.
Darger acknowledged Wednesday he is a polygamist and said that fact was never kept secret from Snow.
Snow is listed as a stockholder in Unique Battery in a document dated Feb. 1, 1985. No stock was ever issued for Unique Battery.
In April 1985, Snow bought about 12,000 shares of Global Oil stock through a stock transfer company because he thought it was a good investment.
In June 1985, 100,000 shares of Global Oil stock were issued in Snow's name - without his knowledge, he says. He signed that stock over to Strand three years later.