by Becky GINOS
WOODS CROSS—Accusations were flying over the weekend between Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, and Dave Bateman, CEO of the Utah County property management software company Entrata, in an already divided Utah Republican Party. The issue could escalate into legal action.
Bateman, who has been actively supporting the caucus system over signature gathering, released a voicemail he claims is an extortion attempt by Weiler as retribution for his political efforts.
“I’ve never been super political until the last three months,” said Bateman. “Then I helped bail the Republican Party out of bankruptcy and I ticked them off. I believe Todd was one of those people. I’ve never even met the guy.”
In the message Weiler allegedly says he’s found a lawyer who could get “your friend a million dollars, if she doesn’t go to Europe. I think you know what I mean.”
Bateman claims Weiler invited his friend who is friends with the woman Bateman had been dating to an event and told her to tell the other woman he would pay her $1 million to bring sexual harassment charges against him.
“We weren’t dating anymore but we were good friends,” said Bateman. “The friend was embarrassed to even bring the offer to her (ex-girlfriend). I had asked her (ex-girlfriend) if she wanted to go on a trip with me as a friend. I think that’s what he meant, don’t go on the trip with me.”
But Weiler said that is not what happened. “I was approached by a close family friend a couple of months ago who said her friend was looking for an attorney because she’d been sleeping with the CEO and then after he broke it off he changed her hours and duties,” he said. “I found an attorney who said the case could be worth $1 million but she decided to go back to him and go on the trip to Europe, which is her right.”
Weiler contends Bateman is using this to cast him in an unfavorable light to convince people to do away with the signature path. “If he’s sleeping with a subordinate he’s the one who should be embarrassed,” he said. “He’s trying to make me the bad guy for finding an attorney. He wants to show the party is corrupt by saying I’m corrupt.”
“It’s just filthy dirty,” said Bateman. “We were dating exclusively for seven months. He’s making false statements that I’m having sexual relationships with my employees. Why he’s saying this just baffles me. I will bring civil charges against him for defamation and I’ve reported it to the police.”
“It’s a publicity stunt,” said Weiler. “If I wanted to embarrass him I could have done that two months ago. I was trying to help this girl.”
“The audio speaks for itself,” Bateman said. “He’s telling this woman to change her behavior to get money. It’s extortion. I found out about it (message) late Thursday night. I wanted to talk to the police first. I released it when I got it. These are silly assertions.”
Bateman said his knee-jerk reaction is to defend himself. “He’s harmed me, he’s harmed my business. He needs to be held accountable.”
Weiler defends his actions. “I did nothing wrong,” he said. “I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I have zero tolerance for sexual harassment. I was trying to help a friend of a friend.”