Rep. Glenn Way didn't get any special treatment because he's a legislator, a state business regulator spokesman said Friday, even though Way "was cut some slack" in paying off a $600 fine a year ago.
Way, R-Spanish Fork, who declared personal bankruptcy earlier this year, was twice cited by the state's Occupational and Professional Licensing Division because he didn't have proper licenses while doing contractor work.Way is licensed now as a general contractor and works as such for fellow GOP candidate Parley Hellewell's plumbing contracting firm.
"We did cut (Way) some slack," said Department of Commerce spokesman Kim Morris. "But we didn't do anything for him that we don't do for anyone who has a problem paying a fine or whatever. We cut everyone some slack. It's better to work with people than against them.
"We'll work out payment plans for fines - do it all the time. We'll go the extra mile. He got no special treatment because he was a legislator," Morris said.
Way says that several years ago he and the two principals of a firm called Panda Homes owned a small firm called Decks Unique.
While building decks, Way received fines for contracting without a license for $200 and $600 in 1994 and 1996, respectively. It was the latter citation in which DOPL Director Craig Jackson intervened. Way insists both fines were unjust. Jackson was unavailable for comment Friday.
After Decks Unique went out of business, Way built a deck for a friend for free in 1996. It was while working on that deck that Way was confronted by a state license official and given the $600 ticket because he didn't have a current general contractor's license.
"There's nothing that says I have to have a license for doing free work," Way said.
Way failed to show up for a hearing before an administrative law judge after agreeing to do so by signing the DOPL ticket.
He appealed to Jackson, who regularly appears before the Legislature's Business, Labor and Economic Development Standing Committee on which Way sits.
That committee reviews proposed legislation. The committee does not oversee the agency's budget, and Way doesn't sit on the budget committee that oversees the Commerce Department's budget.
Jackson, Way said, advised him to pay the fine to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
Way, who declared personal bankruptcy earlier this year, failed to pay the fine, and it was referred to a collection agency in February 1997 during his first session at the Legislature. But Jackson voided the collection agency referral to give Way more time to pay.
About three months later, Way wrote out a $600 check that subsequently bounced. Way paid the fine in cash about two weeks later, he said.
If he received preferential treatment, Way said, he wasn't aware of it nor did he seek it. He said the agency ought to be investigated if it doesn't deal with everyone like it dealt with him. Jackson did nothing unethical or improper, Way said.
"I didn't know that he had given me a break. I paid $600 for crying out loud. What kind of d--- break is that? It was $600 I shouldn't have had to pay," Way said.
Way also was cited while building a $75,000 deck for one of Panda's custom homes in 1994. Panda paid the $200, unbeknownst to him, Way said. He said he never knew about the citation until seeing it on Panda's books a month later.
Morris said his agency, like all state agencies, wants to have a good relationship with the Legislature and individual legislators, but Jackson did nothing improper in dealing with Way's problems.
"We have a citizen Legislature. And so, in reality, we're regulating people (legislators), some of whom are licensed by us in their private businesses. And in turn (those legislators) regulate us" through their legislative work.
"We regulate real estate agents who are legislators; doctors; contractors; all kinds of people" who as legislators oversee the department's budget and write regulatory law, Morris said.
"All the time legislators are calling us on behalf of a constituent who has a complaint about regulators. We respond to all legislators' concerns about their constituents. Some legislators have a political philosophy, and Rep. Way is one, that says the state shouldn't regulate anyone. But that's what we do. Depending on how you look at it, that's the beauty or the fault with having a citizen legislature."