Utah GOP announces agreement settling debt

Utah GOP announces agreement settling debt (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) - The Utah Republican Party has struck a deal with Entrata CEO Dave Bateman to bail out the party's legal debt of up to $400,000, and fund the continuing legal fight over SB54.

"We are very grateful to the generosity of Entrata CEO, Dave Bateman, who has volunteered to service this significant financial obligation, as well as the cost of any future legal expenses related to this matter going forward," said Utah GOP Chairman Rob Anderson in a press release. "We recognize this as a significant development and look forward to a robust 2018 election year with the Party better poised than ever for electoral success."

But the agreement came amid deep division, and even suspicion of Anderson's appetite for a deal, within the party ranks.

Activists on the GOP State Central Committee held a meeting to go around the Republican chair, and gave him an ultimatum: strike a pact with the CEO, or some of them would.

Anderson's deadline for reaching agreement was January 12.

"It's a great deal," said Bateman. "It continues the SB54 lawsuit and the party authorized that I can negotiate fees with attorneys who are owed money from the case."

He said he will talk with lawyers about reducing the $400,000 bill.

If they can't come to terms, then Bateman said the GOP debt would remain.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," said Anderson.

SB54 is the Utah law, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, and signed by Governor Herbert, which gives GOP candidates a way of getting on the ballot by collecting signatures, rather than getting votes from Republican delegates at their convention.

Some party activists have been sharply critical, saying among other things, the state is dictating how a private organization operates.

RELATED: Feud in Utah GOP over party debt, SB 54 lawsuit

Utah GOP debt 'worse than we originally thought,' party vows fix

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