Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff Does Not Want Anyone to Know

One of the many divisions reporting to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is the Tax and Revenue Division. According to the Utah Attorney General’s Office web site, the Tax and Revenue Division:

  • Represents the Tax Commission, Department of Financial Institutions, the Insurance Department and state agencies that issue bonds and
  • Handles tax litigation and bankruptcy.

In particular, the web site boasts that, “Attorneys in the Tax and Revenue Division provide legal support for the [Utah] Tax Commission.” The web site goes on to claim that the Tax Division is “is vigilant about auditing and collecting taxes so honest taxpayers do not have to pay an unfair share of the state's expenses.” In other words, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is in charge of all litigation involving the collection of state taxes.

We need to ask, “How diligent Mark Shurtleff is in paying his own taxes in the past?”

From 1990 to 1993, Mark Shurtleff was a private practice trial lawyer in California. Was he starving from practicing law? I ask this question because the State of California imposed a tax lien on him for nonpayment of taxes. That makes him a tax delinquent.

On February 20, 1996, the state of California imposed a tax lien (Case number 96077277) on Mark Shurtleff of $11,093 for back taxes. At least a few months later he was able to scrounge up some bucks have that lien released (Case number 960259624) on May 23, 1996.

By 1996, Mark Shurtleff was the Assistant Attorney General for the State of Utah. Was he making more money as a government official than as a private trial lawyer? Why didn’t he pay his taxes earlier or rather before a tax lien was imposed on him? Apparently, as a government official, he believed that it was time to clean up his act. Not so fast.

Acts of vandalism

As I detailed in a previous blog post, in 1998 Mark Shurtleff decided to run for a position on the Salk Lake City Commission. According to the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, police caught him red handed in the act of tearing down his opponent’s campaign signs. Now, as Attorney General for the state of Utah, he posts videos of arrests of criminal suspects on his web site. I wonder how Mark Shurtleff would have felt if the police had videotaped his prior act of vandalism for everyone to see.

Selling favors to contributors

Now, Mark Shurtleff is running for re-election as Utah Attorney General. According to an audio biography on the Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s website, “Mark wanted to serve others and make a difference in his life.” True to his word, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has abused the integrity of his office to serve the personal interests of certain campaign contributors.

It is perfectly legitimate for companies to donate monies to politicians to help further their political interests. However, it is not legitimate for elected officials to accept large sums of money to do favors for corporate contributors using state resources.

In another blog post, I detailed how Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff colluded with campaign contributor to deliberately defame me because of my exposure and criticism of the company’s misdeeds.

Just a few days after receiving a $5,000 payment from, Mark Shurtleff wrote an “open letter” on his office’s letterhead to that contained outright lies about my agreement to make a free presentation at his 14th Annual White Collar Crime Conference. (NASDAQ: OSTK) CEO Patrick Byrne used Shurtleff’s letter in a press release in an attempt to discredit my exposure and criticism of his company’s actions. However, taped recorded conversations with Deputy Attorney General Richard Hamp and Chief Deputy Attorney General Kirk Torgensen completely and categorically rebuffed Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s outright lies.

Utah has a statute covering “Criminal Defamation.” It states:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal defamation if he knowingly communicates to any person orally or in writing any information which he knows to be false and knows will tend to expose any other living person to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule.

(2) Criminal defamation is a class B misdemeanor.

Imagine if some Republican in Utah had the courage to go against corruption in their party like Alaska Governor and current Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin did in Alaska. It would be a nice dose of Shurtleff’s own medicine to see him arrested on videotape for corruption.

Written by:

Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO and a convicted felon)

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Disclosure: No position in securities. Not a Utah resident.