The man who forced the American Party to re-hold its Salt Lake County convention won't be a delegate when it reconvenes Saturday - all because of controversy over an alleged love affair, documents say.
Lawrence Rey Topham filed a notice with the county clerk on Wednesday saying he moved out of his voting district - and therefore cannot be a delegate - because of what he said are false allegations that he is having an affair.Complaints from Topham persuaded the lieutenant governor's office to force the party to re-hold its convention because it had required delegates to pay a $5 fee before they could vote, which it said was an illegal poll tax.
Topham - who is running for the party's gubernatorial nomination against National Party Chairman Arly Pedersen - claimed that because he and his supporters refused to pay that delegate registration fee, they couldn't vote and his opponent was given an unfair advantage.
It appeared he would finally get a chance to vote as a delegate. But this week the controversy about the alleged affair made him decide to move from his voting district.
The document he filed with the county clerk said the mother of a friend of Topham called him Tuesday and accused him of having an affair with her daughter, which he denied. He said the daughter also denied it, but the mother called her a liar.
The document said the mother called Topham's landlady to complain. The document said the landlady told him she didn't want trouble with the mother, so he either had to end his friendship with the woman or move out. He chose the latter.
"So I am no longer a resident in Voting District 2644 and am therefore no longer qualified as American Party (istrict) chairman, county central committee member or county delegate from that district," he wrote.
Topham said in documents that he values his friendship with the woman "more than being governor of Utah" and that it is "far more important than participation in the Salt Lake County Convention."
In another development, Topham claimed Friday that the American Party plans to charge delegates a $10 fee to vote at its state convention - even though a similar fee forced the county convention to be re-held.
He said a party letter mailed to him as a delegate - before he disqualified himself - said, "As in the past, there will be a $10 delegate donation requested to help defray the costs of the convention."
The letter doesn't make it clear whether delegates who refuse to pay that fee will be allowed to vote. State Party Chairman David Wilson has said such decisions will be left to a credentials committee, regardless of the recent ruling that such fees to vote are illegal.
Topham claims that any request by the party for fees is illegal - even though such an extreme interpretation has not been backed by the courts.
Still, he said because of the party request for money, he will likely refuse any participation in the state convention - such as giving a speech about his campaign - because of what he feels are illegal activities.