After an extortion investigation into Kaysville Councilman Dave Adams became public, the City Council is planning to request that he resign.
The council is scheduled to vote on the request, along with a resolution that would allow the council to censure Adams, on Thursday evening.
“Our council feels that we as a body need to be above reproach,” Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt said. The investigation into Adams “taints” the City Council’s process, she said Tuesday, her first day in office. “We want the full trust of our community,” she added.
The City Council “does not take a position on the guilt or innocence of Dave Adams,” according to the resolution.
But members of the council “must be above reproach and avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” the resolution states.
The accusations against Adams may be a distraction to the council’s productivity, according to the resolution.
Adams did not immediately respond to an email, a text message and calls seeking comment Tuesday.
“It’s sad when these kind of things happen,” Councilman Jake Garn said Tuesday.
He wants Adams to resign, he said.
“I certainly don’t want to disparage anyone individually, but it’s difficult to work in an environment where one council member creates problems for the city,” Garn said. “I don’t have anything against him personally, but I’d be a strong supporter of asking him to resign.”
There has been a pattern of Adams, who sat on the council for two years, using his office to intimidate employees and those who don’t agree with him, including other council members, Garn said. Adams uses similar tactics to what he’s been accused of in the extortion case, he said.
“There’s a long history of behavior that I think is unacceptable,” Garn said. “Basically making up stories about other people in order to destroy their reputations and to divert attention from his own ethical lapses.”
Witt spoke to Adams about the City Council’s resolution Tuesday morning. She said he was surprised, but she didn’t comment on whether he planned to resign.
Adams’ term ends Jan. 1, 2020.
Adams is accused of attempting to extort Layton businessman Daren Deru in a dispute involving a tractor-trailer dolly.
Adams had accused Deru of stealing the tractor-trailer dolly in early 2017. After the Davis County Attorney’s Office declined to file charges, prosecutors began investigating Adams for allegedly extorting Deru, according to a recently unsealed affidavit for a search warrant.
Farmington police initially investigated the accusations and brought the case to the Davis County Attorney’s Office, which in March declined to file charges.
Farmington police then asked Davis County prosecutors to investigate Adams for alleged extortion because Adams reportedly demanded that Deru either pay him $250,000 for the trailer — which was neither damaged nor missing — or be reported for theft, the affidavit states.
The case has called into question Adams’ relationship with Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson.
After Farmington’s probe didn’t lead to charges, Richardson allegedly opened two investigations into the theft accusation as a favor to Adams, who ”was not happy with the outcome of [Farmington’s] investigation,” according to the affidavit.
Kaysville Police Chief Solomon Oberg said Saturday that it is unusual for an agency to investigate a case that another police agency has cleared.
Adams may have tried to use the reopened investigation to leverage a “payoff” from Deru, the affidavit states, as Adams continued to call Deru, reportedly to demand money.
In July, Adams filed a small-claims lawsuit against Deru, Deru’s family and Deru’s company Bulldog Sod for $10,000, according to the suit. The trailer dispute started in June 2016, the suit says. A trial is scheduled for Jan. 18 in Davis County Justice Court.
In August, Craig Webb, an investigator with the Davis County Attorney’s Office, interviewed Deru over Adams’ alleged demand for money. Deru told Webb that Adams said, “If I get you on the criminal side, then I can nail you to the fence on the civil side of things. ... That’s how I’m going to get my money out of you. ... You can just make it easy now and we can iron some ... get money ironed out now, or we are going to take you to the cleaners some other way,” the affidavit states.
In October, Webb asked Deru to record phone calls and send text messages to Adams to get more information about the requested $250,000, the affidavit states. In those calls and texts, Adams allegedly agreed to a deal with Deru: If Deru paid Adams $11,500, Adams would make sure the civil suit and the theft investigation were closed, the affidavit states.
The two planned to meet at the Davis County Justice Court building Oct. 4 to complete the deal, according to the affidavit. But Adams instead was greeted by Webb, who told Adams he was being investigated for theft by extortion, the affidavit states.
Webb asked to see Adams’ phone and told him that “his phone was used in a crime by arranging the payoff with [Deru] for not just the civil payoff, but having the sheriff verify the criminal complaint [against Deru],” the affidavit says.
Richardson told Webb that the criminal investigation had been closed “a long time ago,” the affidavit states. Webb asked whether Adams knew the case was closed. Richardson said he didn’t know.
The case also has involved the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
Adams ducked out of an Oct. 5 City Council meeting, reportedly to talk to Attorney General Sean Reyes on the phone about the extortion investigation, a Kaysville detective told Webb. Webb later contacted the Attorney General’s Office, believing Reyes — or someone else in the office — might be a witness in the extortion case, according to the affidavit.
Attorney General’s Office spokesman Daniel Burton has declined to comment on the case.