He was booted from last week’s primary election for Draper City Council after officials said he was one minute late to make a campaign filing.
Now, Hubert Huh is suing the city, saying the clock in their administrative office was more than two minutes fast, and the city recorder provided the wrong date in a notification of the campaign finance disclosure deadline.
On July 19, city recorder Laura Oscarson sent an email to all City Council candidates, telling them to disregard a letter she had mailed to them, notifying them of an August deadline for the “final” campaign finance disclosure. In fact, the deadline was for the “first” financial disclosure, Oscarson said, and she attached a corrected letter to the email.
But the "corrected" letter contained an even bigger mistake, Huh alleged: It said, in bolded letters, that the filing deadline was Aug. 8.
The actual deadline was 5 p.m. Aug. 6.
Huh's lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges that Oscarson realized the error but did not correct it in an email.
"Instead, according to the Mayor, for unexplained reasons Ms. Oscarson simply placed a letter in the mail," the lawsuit states. "Mr. Huh does not have a copy of this letter."
Ten days later, Oscarson sent another email with the correct date, but in the subject line she labeled the message a "reminder," Huh's complaint states.
"Defendant Oscarson’s inconsistent methods for correcting material mistakes made by her in communications with candidates is affirmatively misleading," the lawsuit states.
Oscarson also sent an email on Aug. 6, about an hour before the deadline, but Huh was in a meeting and did not immediately see it, according to the lawsuit.
It wasn't until 4:45 p.m. that a state representative who is acquainted with Huh called him and asked whether he had submitted the filing and told him the deadline was that day, the lawsuit states.
"Mr. Huh called ... Oscarson and told her he was driving to the city building to make his financial disclosure filing," the complaint states. "During that call, she made no effort to provide resources or assistance to help correct her error and facilitate a timely filing."
Oscarson was waiting for Huh when he hurried into the city office, according to the lawsuit. She told him it was 5:01 p.m. and he was disqualified.
"Mr. Huh was devastated," the complaint states.
About a week later, Huh sent two private investigators to check the clock in the city administration office against the master clock of the U.S. Naval Observatory. One of the investigators filmed a wall clock that read 3:44:30 p.m. as the Naval Observatory clock switched from 3:41 p.m. to 3:42 p.m., according to the complaint. The lawsuit does not indicate whether other clocks were in the office when the filing deadline passed.
"The primary election held on August 13, 2019, is void and invalid," Huh's lawsuit states.
Huh's lawsuit asks for a new primary election — or that his name be added to the ballot for the general election.
“Mr. Huh felt strongly about his candidacy, and was proud to be the only non-Caucasian candidate,” the lawsuit states. “Among other things, Mr. Huh’s stated legislative goals included implementing a ‘district’ system to the City Council so that different areas of the city are represented equally.”
Draper city officials could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday evening. A city spokeswoman previously said the recorder’s office corrected the inaccurate deadline date in a letter and email.