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Home / Articles / · Archive / News & Columns /  Politics | Party Crasher: Messy legal case and blogging blowback lead GOP activist to form a new political party
News & Columns

Politics | Party Crasher: Messy legal case and blogging blowback lead GOP activist to form a new political party

By Katharine Biele
Posted // November 21,2007 - That big tent of the Republicans was just a little too roomy for Mark Towner, whose case against political pertinacity has brought him to the supreme courts of cyberspace and Utah. In that order.

Towner, once a Republican insider who made runs at political office, has big-time beefs with Mike Ridgway, a conservative GOP gadfly, gnat and general pain in many people’s asses. So big were those beefs that Towner charged Ridgway with stalking him and his family at an April 2006 Salt Lake County Republican convention. A 3rd District judge agreed to an injunction, but Ridgway has claimed infringement of his First Amendment rights, and so the issue now rests in Utah’s high court.

This might be one of the messiest cases in Utah history, what with all the difficult personalities, cutthroat politics, layers of legal charges and, yes, the Internet. But leave the mess to the courts.

Towner’s case is just one of many that Ridgway is battling, although, for Towner, it’s the culmination of his disdain for both the Republican Party in general and Ridgway specifically.

“My frustration has been with Ridgway and the lack of response from the Republican Party,” says Towner, who quit the party and his state committee positions after the convention. It’s what forced him to take legal action “against this guy for his behavior since 2000,” Towner says.

Ridgway is widely known for a sharp and tireless tongue that gets him into trouble. He has spent time in jail on trespassing charges. Some say he likes to butt bodies; others say he just likes to get in your face.

At any rate, Ridgway has his trespassing case pending in Sandy City Court, where his public defender tried her damnedest to get him to plead no contest and pay a $150 fine. But Ridgway saw this as a kind of Larry Craig trap. Called a diversion plea, it would keep him out of jail until he broke the law again—and Ridgway won’t agree that he broke the law and believes that his friends in the GOP hierarchy will call the cops every time they see him.

Well, for sure, Enid Greene would. And she used to be so trusting. In a witness statement from the trespass incident, she says she’s been “physically and verbally” confronted by Ridgway, and she attached an e-mail from him to the police report that she considers abusive.

It was from the Book of Mormon and includes this little passage: “And I will come unto you, and if there be any among you that has a desire for freedom, yea, if there be even a spark of freedom remaining, behold I will stir up insurrections among you, even until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become extinct.”

While Ridgway says he focused on the freedom aspect of the passage and how his GOP detractors were acting like “king-men” in their greed for power, Greene appeared focused on passages about smiting people down with a sword.

Now, the state Supreme Court gets to deal with Ridgway on the Towner issue. And it’s not just a matter of whether Ridgway’s been hiding in Towner’s bushes. The injunction makes reference to electronic media, which both Towner and Ridgway employ by way of blogs and e-mail.

Towner says one of the questions to be resolved is whether he is being cyberstalked. “[Ridgeway is] pretty competent on computers. I couldn’t even go on my computer without this guy harassing me, and I have been slandered all over the Internet—Facebook, YouTube—OK, I’ve got thick skin,” Towner says.

And he needs a thick hide. One blogger facetiously posts, “Mark Towner Has No Morals and Eats Kittens!” Another says he clubs baby seals. And others question whether he knows “blogger ethics.” Say what?

Sure, Towner is waiting for the court to rule, but he’s not twiddling his thumbs. He’s already registered a new political party name—the Unaffiliated Party of Utah—because he’s just fed up with political machines. He’s gathering signatures to try the political party route.

“I’ve been enough of an insider to see how it’s handled, and the system can be gamed,” he says.

On this alone, he and Ridgway agree.

 
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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // August 2,2008 at 08:38 Mark Towner has addressed on his very own blog that his new posting name is UtahLiberator, from the moment he skipped away from the Republican Party. Furthermore, Mark Towner is the the ONLY person on the Internet who has EVER called Mike Ridgway Rigidway.nnSo once again vile and untrue postings about Ridgway are smeared across the internet by Mark Towner who posts under his ’one of many’ alias user names.nnThe easiest pointer sign of all is the chonic wrong spelling of Mike Ridgway’s name... a talent not exceeded by anyone but Mark Towner himself.

 

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Posted // July 16,2008 at 20:48 Edit of my previous post, nnAs of December of 2007 he and his now ex-wife no longer reside there, David now resides in Ohio and I do not know the where abouts of Catherine Anne.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // July 16,2008 at 20:41 My name familiar? It should be, I am a direct relative of Land Reay, Mark Towner’s trigger man in the stalking allegation against Mike Ridgway. I have always known my brother to be a contemptuous and Holier Than Thou man like his worthless father. He has only served to reinforced this. In the spring of 2007 when I attempted to visit him. His wife at the time gave me that beautiful proper Mormon smile and lied right to my face. Stated that no one named David lived at this home, and only after producing real estate documents and asking if they rented the house did my coward brother step from behind the door. He tugged his wife aside by the arm and stated I’ll Handle This Dear Before he could speak she asked me who I was, I responded that her husband knows who I am. He addressed me, called me by my full legal name and then told me to leave or he would call the police on me, he then slammed the door in my face. The last time I laid eyes on this man I was in high school. Land has also has disowned his birth mother...The woman who raised him to adulthood and even paid for his mission to Chile.nnI know so little about the Anti-stalking issue between Mark Towner and Mike Ridgway that I could not in good faith or morals to make a decision as to who is the party being criminal here, I have read much and had a 1 1/2 hour long conversation with Mike, but I still feel that I am not qualified to point a finger.nnWhat I am here for is to tear away the cloak that my brother has worn for so many years and let the people, the constituency of Utah know the truth. nnLand Reay was born David Thurland Reay. In 1998 he disowned his birth mother, Shirley Ann Reay. He is an active LDS church member. He at one time resided in Taylorsville. As of December of 2007 he and his now ex-wife no longer reside there, David no longer resides in Ohio and I do not know the where abouts of Catherine Anne. It should be realized that David can not continue participating in the affairs of the Utah Republican Party as he is no longer a resident of Utah. At one time he was an office manager for Intel, His former boss at Intel is quoted off the record as describing David as the type of person to go PostalnIt is very widely suspected in the Crosnoe side of David’s family that he is (NOT CONFIRMED) Homosexual. Mike R. made a comment to me regarding David’s behavior during his recent testimony in Sandy Court, He said that the only word that came to his mind as he watched David on the stand was Gay. According to a family friend, Beverly Wayne of Eagle Mountain Utah David’s wife divorced him because he refused to give her children after 4 years of marriage.nnOver the years David has had an army of family and friends who have lied on his behalf. From my own personal experience I can only accurately state 2 of those people, Matt Birmingham of Layton Ut. and His wife, Catherine Anne.nIt should also be known that David perjured himself in court, but Mike Ridgway’s defense was unable to present audio tapes of David that would contradict his testimony as the judge dropped the charges against Mike R. shortly after Mark Towner’s Atty’s finished their presentation.nnConcerned citizens and residents of Utah, David Land Reay is an Immoral person, lacks any amount if integrity and has been deceiving all around him.nnIf anyone wishes to contact me, My E-mail is TRULOVEis@aol.com

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // December 9,2007 at 09:14 To ad to what Douglas has posted here, Ms. Biele, did you even ask Mr. Towner about this sting operation lies that led to his being made a laughing stock?nnWhat about his attacks on Jesse Harris and UTOPIA (there’s one on his blog now where he singles out Mr. Harris, calling him an idiot for making a statement in a newspaper). Did you look into his actions before determining he was a victim? Did you ask any questions before putting pen to paper?nnOr did you just sit down and write, assuming the people of Utah were foolish enough to take you at your word? (something we now can never do again)nnShame on City Weekly indeed.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // December 9,2007 at 09:10 Mark Towner is a liar, always has been. I can’t believe we’re debating it again. nnAnd the fact that Biele though she could pass this article off as reflective of truth or honest reporting raises questions of her own integrity as a writer.nnI followed the blogposting that led to the tongue-in-cheek Towner Eats Kittens post, and it was a reaction to Towner’s attrocious behaviour on our Utah Bloghive.nnThis story tells nothing of the real story, and is a disservice to Utahn’s, who deserve a more honest style of journalism than the fluff printed here.nnShame on you, City Weekly!

 

 
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