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Consultant sues Buck, claims unpaid bills

Published April 11, 2012 12:58 pm

Politics • U.S. House candidate, ex-NFLer says complaint is dirty politics.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Jason Buck, a candidate for Utah's 2nd Congressional District, is being sued for more than $19,500 by a local consulting firm that alleges the former BYU and NFL football player failed to pay for materials and services provided to his campaign.

The lawsuit, filed April 9 in 3rd District Court, claims that Buck sought the firm's services in August and had paid only $500 to date. In court documents, the Salt Lake City-based Letter 23 agency included five invoices — each totalling $4,000 — that it says were ignored by Buck.

Christopher Jessop, the lawyer representing Letter 23 in the case, said he wouldn't comment on pending litigation.

But Buck said the firm provided very little of what it promised, and he fired the company in December. He also said Letter 23 Manager Kelly Casaday was working for another candidate in the race — Eureka Mayor Milton Hanks — and that the lawsuit is an attempt to sabotage the campaign.

"We're 100,000 percent above board," Buck said. "He's played every dirty trick he can."

Casaday said he's offered only free advice to Hanks, and won't provide any materials until Hanks signs a contract and pays up front.

"We learned our lesson after working with Jason," Casaday said.

However, according to Federal Election Commission reports, Hanks has raised no money, spent no money and doesn't appear to even have an operating website for his campaign.

Buck said he chose Letter 23 because he was impressed with its presentation and promises when he was looking for political pros to launch his bid.

But by December, he said, "they'd only delivered about 10 percent of what they promised us." He said he went to other consultants to find out if his campaign was getting good services.

"They said you've got to get this straightened out right now and let them go," Buck said. "They said for them to only offer this much, you've got to fire them."

Casaday said he's been doing political consulting for 20 years. He said he'd made good-faith efforts to collect from Buck, and he disputed Buck's claim that services weren't provided as promised.

Buck said he has since hired a consulting firm in California to help with the campaign.

Buck has twice filed for bankruptcy, most recently in 2010, and had been entangled in some Ponzi schemes in which he said he was as much a victim as investors whom he'd helped recruit.

According to the latest FEC filings, Buck raised $137,506 as of April 1, and has $8,964 cash on hand.

Buck is part of a crowded field of Republicans seeking to nab the party nomination at the state Republican Convention on April 21.

dmontero@sltrib.com

Twitter: @davemontero