Utah Lake-dredging CEO paid his own son $3,000 for a monthlong internship

Lake Restoration Solutions has updated its bankruptcy filings to show insider payments.

(Brian Maffly | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ryan Benson, CEO of Lake Restoration Solutions, is leading a proposal to dredge Utah Lake as part of controversial $6.4 billion plan to clean up the lake.

The executives at a now-defunct company that wanted to dredge Utah Lake and build an artificial island city have corrected the record on how much they paid themselves before jumping ship.

When the company initially filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July, Lake Restoration Solutions, or LRS, indicated it made no payments to insiders in the past year. Subsequent court hearings indicated that wasn’t true.

In an updated court document filed Thursday afternoon, LRS now reports CEO Ryan Benson received $115,000 in “consulting” payments through his company Stag Consulting from July 2022 until March.

Jon Benson, brother of the CEO and LRS’ chief operating officer, sent $75,000 over the same nine months to his company, Stoneworth Consulting.

Klair White, the company’s chief financial offer, received $60,000 through her consulting company, KW Infrastructure.

And the CEO’s son made $3,225 for an internship that lasted from Aug. 31, 2022 to Sept. 26, 2022.

In March, LRS also transferred $80,000 and forgave $250,000 worth of debt, to Big Game Forever, a nonprofit Ryan Benson founded to lobby against federal protections for wolves, as previously reported.

Ben Abbott, a Brigham Young University ecology professor whom LRS unsuccessfully tried to sue for defamation last year, remains the company’s biggest creditor. They owe him $390,000. The company also owes the law firm it hired for the defamation case, Foley and Lardner, $328,149.