SALT LAKE CITY — Lehi police have closed their investigation into a business executive's claim that a state senator tried to extort him as part of a plan to discredit his efforts to overturn a controversial election law.
Investigators found "no evidence of extortion whatsoever," Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said in a tweet Thursday.
"It's disappointing that valuable time and resources had to be spent on politically motivated publicity stunt," he said.
Dave Bateman, founder and CEO of Lehi-based Entrata, claims Weiler offered a woman Bateman dated "a million dollars" to make a false sexual harassment claim against him.
As evidence, Bateman played on Facebook a voicemail he obtained from a co-worker of a woman he dated, both of whom work for his property management software company.
“It’s Todd Weiler. Hey, at the Jazz game you were talking to some of my well-connected friends and now we have another friend who’s a lawyer who thinks he could get your friend a million dollars if she doesn’t go to Europe. I think you know what I mean. Give me a call,” Weiler says on the voicemail.
Weiler said he was approached by a friend of the woman who was seeking a lawyer after her hours and responsibilities were cut at Entrata. He said he was conveying from the lawyer she shouldn’t go on a trip with Bateman if she intended to pursue legal action. The voicemail was the last of several conversations Weiler had with the friend of the woman.
Bateman said in a Facebook post he was shocked at the "gross oversight" of one Lehi detective.
"It was clear to me the investigation was compromised from my first meeting with the detective. I provided the detective with a mountain of evidence, some of which he flat out refused to even receive from me," Bateman said.
Lehi police were not available for comment Friday.1 comment on this story
Bateman's accusation came amid GOP infighting over SB54, a law the Utah Legislature passed four years ago creating an alternative path to Utah’s long-standing caucus/convention system for securing a party’s nomination for elected office. Under the law, candidates may also collect voter signatures to get on the primary election ballot.
Bateman agreed to pay off the Utah GOP debt incurred fighting the law in court and fund further appeals.
A three-judge panel in 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in a 2-1 decision last month. Republicans this week hired a lawyer to seek an "en banc" review of the ruling by all the judges in the 10th Circuit.