Utah prosecutors say the husband of Bluffdale’s mayor repeatedly harassed and threatened a Bluffdale city council member last year.
Jason Christopher Hall, 47, of Bluffdale, was charged Thursday with single counts of threatening an elected official, a third-degree felony, stalking, a class A misdemeanor, and making threats to influence official action, a class A misdemeanor.
Hall is accused of threatening Bluffdale City Council Member Jeff Gaston throughout 2021, according to a news release from the Utah Attorney General’s Office. At the time, Gaston was running for mayor against Natalie Hall, Jason Hall’s wife. Natalie Hall ultimately won the mayoral election.
On March 5, 2021, Gaston received an email to his personal address from someone who said they had “high hopes” for him at the beginning of his political career but now thought Gaston was a “schoolyard bully,” according to a charging document filed Thursday. The email told Gaston, “you should know that the wheels are in motion to render you irrelevant.”
Though the email did not include the name of an author, the charging document says the author was Jason Hall. The investigator who wrote the charging document alleges that Jason Hall “admitted in a noncustodial setting to me to having sent said email.”
Days later, on March 9, Gaston received a package to his home address that contained a children’s book about anger management and two notes.
One note read, “Hey Imbecile !!!!!! Move out of Bluffdale, apologize or kill yourself,” according to the charging document. “It’s time for you to start watching your back. This is your final warning. We are moving to the next phase. Do what we ask, or we will do what must be done.”
On the same day, a large box was delivered to Bluffdale city offices. The box contained “gag gifts” to each city council member and the mayor, the charging document says. The gifts were each labeled as a “City Council Meeting Survival Kit,” which included items like baby bottles, formula and baby pacifiers. The package included a note that read, “in case (Gaston) gets cranky and needs his ba-ba.”
On Aug. 14, Jason Hall rented a “political booth” near Gaston during an event. He allegedly “threw political signs of John Roberts at (Gaston), striking him, causing piercing of the skin and bruising, and persisted in a long discourse of berating, insulting and demeaning (Gaston),” the charging document says.
By that time, Gaston chose to support Roberts, Bluffdale’s former fire chief, in the mayor’s race. Roberts faced allegations of impropriety that led to an investigation. At the time, the city attorney called the accusations “criminal in nature,” according to previous reporting from The Salt Lake Tribune. Natalie Hall was also investigated by the city on two occasions but was cleared both times.
Roberts later lost to Natalie Hall in the November mayoral race, with over 75% of voters casting ballots for Natalie Hall, who served as the city’s emergency manager before running for mayor.
Gaston received additional demeaning emails, as well as a package delivered to his home on Nov. 2, that included a court jester’s hat. The package included a message saying, “you’ve earned this,” the charging document says.
Police found the package was sent from a downtown Salt Lake City post office. Surveillance footage allegedly showed Jason Hall drive into a gas station next to the post office and park his pickup.
Police say they have video of a man entering the post office with a package. Police say the package is similar to the one later delivered to Gaston’s home. The man paid $16.25 for one-day delivery to Gaston’s home, the charging document says.
During an interview in December, the man allegedly told police that he mailed the package to Gaston’s home and dropped off the package at Bluffdale city offices.
Police also say the man was in a video making the delivery to the Bluffdale city offices. The man, who was identified and interviewed by police, is still under investigation, according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
The man “stated he routinely did deliveries for (Jason Hall) but provided no explanation why he would surreptitiously do so in this case,” the charging document said. The man allegedly told police Jason Hall is his boss.
After the mayoral election, another letter was sent to Gaston’s home in November. The letter said, “you have shown that you will not change until something is done,” the charging document said. “It’s time you leave Bluffdale or resign. If you don’t you will end up dead.”
The Salt Lake Tribune attempted to reach Natalie Hall after hours but hasn’t received a response as of publication.
Jason Hall was charged Thursday in Salt Lake County’s 3rd District Court. Court records indicate a summons will be issued for him to appear in court at a later date. There is no active warrant for his arrest. He does not have a date set for his initial court appearance.