SALT LAKE CITY -- (KUTV) - Claims of “extortion” versus “wild conspiracy theories” surfaced within the Utah Republican Party on Sunday night.
At the center is a phone message, released by Dave Bateman, CEO of Utah County property management software company Entrata, who is also a GOP activist trying to preserve the party’s caucus-convention system of choosing candidates.
“It’s a filthy attempt to extort me,” said Batemen of the recording, which has the voice of state Senator Todd Weiler (R-Davis County).
“I was trying to help someone I was told was being sexually harassed at work,” responded Weiler, who once served as vice chair of the Utah Republican Party.
Here’s the backstory.
Bateman, who is divorced, hired a girlfriend to work for him at Entrata. They broke up, and Bateman said Weiler tried to use the broken relationship to “smear” him.
Weiler spoke to a confidante of the ex-girlfriend at a Jazz game in January and said he was told by the confidante---who is also a friend of the Weiler family---that Bateman’s ex-girlfriend had her job hours and responsibilities changed at Entrata, after the break-up. Weiler said he was told the ex-girlfriend looked for an attorney to file a sexual harassment case against Bateman, but that lawyers turned her down.
A couple days later, Weiler called the confidante, and said this:
“It’s Todd Weiler. Hey, at the Jazz game you were talking to some of my very well connected friends, and now I 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 so we can talk.”
The “trip to Europe” was a reference to out-of-country travel Bateman took with the young woman. He said it was a vacation to Belize, not Europe, and that she willingly went with him.
Now, Bateman said he’s filed a report with Lehi Police over the phone message.
“Does that concern you at all?” 2News asked Weiler.
“No, I didn’t do anything wrong,” the senator responded. “He’s trying to spin this into extortion, and it’s not.”
“I think the voicemail that he left speaks for itself,” said Bateman. “
The Silicon Slopes CEO said it was part of a move to discredit him over his outspoken efforts to keep the caucus-convention system as the only way for GOP candidates to get on primary ballots. State law, known as SB 54, gives candidates the option of collecting signatures instead, something strongly opposed by at least a faction---and perhaps a majority---of party loyalists.
“I’m fighting to protect a system that he’s (Weiler) trying to destroy,” Bateman said.
“I was contacted by a close family friend, who said I have a co-worker who’s looking for an attorney, and she’s a victim of sexual harassment,” said Weiler. “And I found her an attorney, that’s all I did.”
Bateman said there was no harassment, that he and the woman are back together, and she still works at Entrata. He objected to Weiler reportedly calling the relationship “an affair.”
Weiler said Bateman is trying to “generate publicity” to get more people to GOP caucuses this Tuesday, who share what Weiler termed a “far right-wing” view of the party.