Entrata CEO Dave Bateman rode to the rescue of the Utah GOP, agreeing to pay off the $400,000 in debt the party incurred in their lawsuit against SB54. Now, it seems that agreement may have a few more strings attached than Republican leaders bargained for.
Party Chair Rob Anderson posted an email from Bateman on social media Monday night in which Bateman said he had “acquired” the debt owed to both Chris Troupis and Marcus Mumford. Bateman went on to say he will “forbear from collecting on the debt” so long as the party fulfills the terms of the contract they agreed to.
Suddenly, what was thought to be a donation to the party to retire outstanding legal debt has again become a potential liability on the party’s books.
“No other donation we’ve ever gotten has come with conditions like this,” said Anderson in a Tuesday interview with UtahPolicy.com. “I haven’t had a chance to talk with our accountant or treasurer yet, but we probably need to list him as somebody we owe money to so it’s reported properly.”
The Utah GOP suffered another setback last month when a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court ruled 2-1 against their appeal seeking to undo SB54, the legislative compromise. On Monday, the party announced they would again appeal that ruling to the full 10th Circuit. They also announced they had hired attorney Gene Schaerr to assist in that appeal. Schaerr led Utah’s unsuccessful defense of the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Sources inside the Utah GOP tell UtahPolicy.com that Bateman was able to acquire the party’s legal debt for around $175,000, which is less than half of what was originally owed. Those sources say Bateman paid Marcus Mumford $125,000, while he paid Chris Troupis $50,000.
For all intents, Bateman could force the party to do his bidding under threat of trying to collect the full $400,000. Anderson says Bateman has accused him of violating the contract several times on social media.
Bateman declined to answer questions from UtahPolicy.com for this article.
UtahPolicy.com has obtained a copy of the contract between Bateman and the party. It details how Bateman was to acquire the outstanding legal debt the party owes, which he claims to have done. It also spells out that Bateman can only collect on the outstanding legal debt from the Utah GOP if the State Central Committee dismisses the litigation over SB54 and Bateman objects. If that eventuality comes to pass, Bateman will have to wait 12 months to go after the money.
The contract also says Bateman must disclose to the party how much he paid to acquire the debt. Anderson says Bateman has not yet revealed that amount.
The contract also gives significant responsibility to Bateman for the party’s financial health. The Utah GOP is required to notify Bateman of any “significant financial concerns that arise that may threaten the solvency of the Party,” and give him a chance to try and resolve those concerns.
Since becoming the party’s postulant financial benefactor, Bateman has accused Sen. Todd Weiler of attempting to bribe his girlfriend into filing a false sexual harassment claim against him. Weiler says he was merely providing legal advice for a family friend who said Bateman’s girlfriend might have been the victim of workplace harassment.
Bateman also founded Keep My Voice which is pushing to get an initiative on November’s ballot to repeal SB54, which established the signature-gathering path to the ballot for candidates. So far, the group has not turned in any signatures for verification, raising doubts they’ll be able to secure a place in front of Utah voters in November.
He has also railed against a group of Utah politicos called the “Buckshot Caucus,” claiming they’ve been conspiring against him and other caucus and convention supporters to support the signature-gathering path to the ballot for candidates.