Those who invested in the Destination Development Corp. and Grafton Park Inc. tell similar stories about their dealings with El-wynn Hewlett Jr.
Hewlett denies any wrongdoing.Those similarities include:
-The progress and financial stability of the Guam project was continually and consistently exaggerated.
-Hewlett misrepresented his educational background and his expertise in marketing and tourism.
Hewlett claimed to have a bachelor's degree and an MBA from the University of Utah. U. records show Hewlett attended the university for a year but did not graduate and did not have a declared major.
-Some of those intimately involved with DDC were questionable, at best.
DDC's former secretary and corporate attorney, Paul J. Rodgers, pleaded guilty on Dec. 9, 1987 before a judge in Guam to one count of theft by deception in connection with bilking $100,000 from former DDC investors. A grand jury indictment accused Rodgers of failing to disclose that the company's "Turtle Cove" property was in danger of being forfeited because the company was behind in payments and that the project probably would not be completed.
Rodgers received a three-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay $56,000 in restitution. In Oct. 1987, he was disbarred from practicing law in Guam. Rodgers has since moved to Utah.
-Investors didn't know that DDC funds were comingled with accounts from other corporations Hewlett controlled.
-Hewlett placed investors in key management roles and flattered them into staying.
-Hewlett led investors to believe that his projects would be patterned after the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. Hewlett, who had directed marketing for the cultural center in the mid-1960s, told investors he was responsible for the center's success.
In addition to those similarities, each investor also has his own story.
Besides losing his home and more than $100,000, Cook says he lost his self-confidence and ability to trust others because of his "unfortunate" investments with DDC.
Cook met Hewlett in Hawaii in 1977, when Hewlett was the operator of Paradise Pacifica, a 31-acre botanical garden and cultural center on Kauai.
Having recently sold some Utah property at a good price, Cook was interested in a sound investment.
In 1978, Cook and two business partners invested $300,000 in Pacifica to help build a performing stage and make other improvements.
Later, however, Hewlett persuaded the threesome to allow him to put their investment - and nearly $200,000 more - into DDC for the Guam project.
Despite several years of legal maneuvering, Cook says DDC has never accounted for even a penny of the investment.
Hewlett and Crouch say, however, that Cook greatly exaggerates the amount of the investment and that they, too, lost investments in the Hawaii project. They contend that the threesome's investments totaled between $50,000 and $75,000 - nowhere near the $300,000 Cook estimates.
"We all invested. We all had stock. And I had as much in it as anybody did. When a new group took over and didn't take care of it . . . all of our investments were lost," said Hewlett.
Scott's faith in Hewlett convinced him to leave his job in Canada and sell all his belongings - including his wedding ring - following Hewlett's dream of a building luxury resorts.
An architect, Scott said he hoped to use his talents to create the Micronesian cultural center and Utah pioneer village that Hewlett envisioned.
But nearly 10 years later, the land in Guam remains vacant and Scott's detailed project renderings are merely blueprints of a broken dream, he says.
Scott says Hewlett owes him more than $100,000 in unpaid wages. He further contends that money invested in DDC was expended without authorization of investors.
Hewlett counters that Scott, while in charge of DDC's accounting, took thousands of dollars from the DDC accounts and was only a project consultant, not a DDC employee.
Scott calls that charge "outrageous" and says, "I couldn't blow my nose without Hew-lett's permission. Before any checks were issued, I would take this list of bills and payments to Wynn for his approval."
Scott says he met Hewlett in 1976 when Hewlett was operating Paradise Pacifica, a tourist center in Hawaii. A few years later he left his teaching job at a junior college in Canada to work for Hewlett. "It would have been ridiculous for me to leave my job for a fly-by-night situation. But he promised me a good salary ($3,000 a month) - which six months later he claimed he never did."
Scott says he remained with Hewlett because he believed in the Guam project. Feasibility studies showed that Japanese tourists flock to Guam, and he believed Hewlett had the experience to successfully make the Guam project similar to Hawaii's Polynesian Cultural Center.
Crouch, however, says that Scott's poor management "contributes to part of the problem and confusion during that era," and that "there was never an understanding that he was (a) salaried (employee)."
As proof of his full-time employment status, Scott gave the Deseret News a copy of a November 1983 letter written on DDC letterhead addressed to the U.S. Department of Justice Emigration and Naturalization Service. The letter states, "Robert G. Scott has been employed by our firm as a planning coordinator since February 1979. His present salary is $50,000." The notarized letter is signed by Hewlett.
Even after declaring bankruptcy and returning to Canada in 1980, Scott believed "things would come together" for the Guam project. He thought that "suffering together" was just part of any major project, and he believed Hewlett and his family were probably "starving to death, too."
Two years later, Scott was persuaded to return to Utah with Hewlett's promise "that the project was going to happen anytime."
He left DDC in 1986 but still believes the Guam project would have been viable if investors' money had been used properly.
In December 1987, Peterson filed suit against his Alpine, Utah County, neighbor - Elwynn Hewlett Jr. - alleging that Hewlett had defrauded him of some $219,000. Hew-lett has countersued Peterson for libel and slander.
In his suit, Peterson says he was impressed with Hewlett's "church affiliation and station portraying his reliability and trustworthiness."
Because of that trust, Peterson agreed to give Hewlett $150,000 in March 1987 to be used as an origination fee to secure a $5 million loan from a Swiss bank. Hewlett told him the $5 million would then be used to develop DDC's Guam resort.
The $150,000 was to be held in escrow until the $5 million loan closed several weeks later.
It's been 16 months since the scheduled closing day, and Peterson still doesn't know what happened to his $150,000.
Hewlett doesn't dispute the fact that Peterson loaned the $150,000 or that the money is still unaccounted for.
But Hewlett told the Deseret News that the money went directly to then DDC Financial Vice President Bettie Stark and that he had nothing to do with the transaction.
"Jan Peterson talked to Bettie Stark. He sent the money ($150,000) directly to her. We never interfaced on that."
But Peterson steadfastly maintains he gave the money to Hewlett, who then sent it to Stark. Peterson provided the Deseret News a copy of a letter from Stark to Hew-lett, acknowledging the receipt of Peterson's $150,000.
Hewlett claims Stark is no longer financial vice president for DDC.
The bankruptcy court ordered Hewlett to file suit against Stark, and he subsequently obtained a $150,000 judgment against her, which he placed with the court-appointed trustee. Hewlett doesn't know if the judgment will ever be paid.
In addition, Peterson claims to have spent $18,000 on European travel for DDC officers in connection with the purported loan, and invested $51,000 in Hewlett's Grafton Park tourist project in southern Utah.
"I gave Wynn (Hewlett) virtually everything I had. I borrowed money from my mother, from my sisters. . . . It necessitated me having to sell my own home, move out of the area into much less desirable circumstances, and I still don't have a satisfactory answer as to what's happened to my money."
When Davis left Utah to move to Florida, he took out a legal notice in the American Fork newspaper disassociating himself from a project in southern Utah called Grafton Park.
The concept of the project was viable, but Davis contends the project failed because the two promoters - Hewlett and Crouch "diverted the money invested, using it for things other than what was promised."
"It smacks of fraud," asserts Davis.
Davis took out the newspaper ad in March 1987 to inform investors that he was no longer affiliated with the failed project. He asserts that Hewlett and Crouch caused Davis to lose a $100,000 investment and $26,650 in unpaid salary.
"I've lost all faith in humanity. I will never again take anyone at face value. My credit rating has been ruined. I can't get a personal loan of any kind," he told the Deseret News.
Hewlett and Crouch deny the allegations, blaming the failure of Grafton Park upon Davis' poor management. They contend they did pay Davis $24,000 in salary and that investors got 10 percent of the stock in Grafton Park Inc., for their $100,000 investment.
They also maintain the $100,000 was "risk" money.
Three years ago, Davis moved to Utah, after retiring as a Navy commander. Hewlett invited Davis to oversee the development of Grafton Park - located underneath the cliffs of Zion National Park.
The pioneer village "extraordinare" was to include a 200-plus room full-service hotel, an equestrian facility, low-density Western cabins, a restaurant, retail shops and an Indian Village.
Hewlett asked Davis if he could raise about $100,000 to help with preconstruction costs. Combining all his retirement money ($42,000) with money from family members and friends, Davis handed Hewlett and Crouch $100,000.
Despite Davis' request to be a co-signer on the Grafton checking account, the money was controlled by Hewlett and Crouch.
"I never had any control or knowledge of how money was being spent. Within three months it was gone," Davis contends.
"My mother-in-law wrote three separate letters to Hewlett saying her husband was terminally ill, wanting to know about the status of her money and to sell her stock back. He (Hewlett) never had the decency to answer any of her letters."