Taxpayers paid for two hotel stays that former Rep. Jon Stanard, R-St. George, allegedly used for a tryst with a prostitute.
Greg Hartley, chief of staff for the Utah House, said Friday that records show the state paid for hotel rooms at the Fairfield Inn in Salt Lake City on exact dates that a call girl told the Daily Mail of London that Stanard paid her $250 apiece for two one-hour sessions of sex.
“We do have hotel receipts,” he said. Hartley provided copies, showing that the state paid $112.60 for each of the two days hotel charge.
Stanard resigned abruptly on Tuesday, two days before the British newspaper published its allegations.
“We still have no actual proof that what was reported and the dates are factual,” Hartley said. But he added that the state has hotel receipts for the days in June and August when the newspaper said the prostitute visits occurred, which were during Legislative interim meeting days.
“Even if it is true, our hotel policy doesn’t dictate what a person is allowed to do in the hotel, and he was here in attendance for … legislative business,” Hartley said.
That said, Hartley added, “I do think we will be asking him to reimburse for the two nights hotel that were reported that are in question.”
Officials say it now also may be impossible to prove whether Stanard used his state-issued cellphone for illicit meetings.
Megan Bolin with the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel said that as part of routine procedure, officials wiped information from Stanard’s cellphone when he resigned and turned it in — before the scandal broke — so no information about his call history or past texts now remains on it.
Hartley also said legislative cellphone policy also “allows for personal use and it’s a pool of shared [minutes] that would be difficult to quantify.”
Meanwhile, the office of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, which enforces state election laws, confirmed it is also looking at whether Stanard may have used campaign money for illicit meetings. Utah law bans use of campaign funds for personal use.
Records show that Stanard used $225 in campaign funds for the same Fairfield Inn, paid on Sept. 22.
“Because the dates don’t exactly match, it’s just complete conjecture” about whether campaign money may have been used to help cover costs of the alleged call girl visits, said Justin Lee, chief of staff for Cox. Disclosure forms usually show the date of a payment, not the date of an actual hotel stay.
“So it’s not exactly a red flag, but it’s a little flag,” Lee said.
Lee said his office is still weighing whether to ask Stanard for an explanation or clarification.