Lake County District Attorney’s Office arrested Tim Lawson, a
fundraiser, political fixer and ally to Utah Attorneys General John
Swallow and Mark Shurtleff, on six felony charges, including obstruction
of justice, threatening a witness and failing to pay taxes on roughly
$120,000 he received in payments from Marc Sessions Jenson, a
businessman convicted of securities fraud, who used Lawson to gain access
to Shurtleff and Swallow.
bombshell charges indicate the first of potentially multiple arrests to
be made in the ongoing investigation being conducted by a joint
operation between investigators with the FBI, the Utah Department of
Public Safety and the office of the Davis and Salt Lake County District
documents against Lawson corroborate accusations leveled against the
controversial figure, which City Weekly initially broke, including that
in 2009, Lawson threatened physical violence against a man named Darl
McBride, who had been seeking to regain hundreds of thousands of dollars
that he says he’d been defrauded out of by by developer Mark Robbins.
to charging documents, Lawson threatened to send his “Polynesian
friends” to deal with McBride if he didn’t stop publicly trying to track
down Robbins to reclaim his money. This threat precipitated McBride
actually meeting with Shurtleff, who offered to get $2 million from
Jenson to buy McBride’s silence on the matter.
documents also show that not only did Lawson want McBride to back off
Robbins, but also, as City Weekly first reported, so did Shurtleff. The
court documents also show that Shurtleff even admitted in the meeting
with McBride that Robbins was likely operating a Ponzi scheme, but he
still wanted McBride to back off from going after Robbins through a
website to reclaim his money.
City Weekly asked Lawson about threatening McBride with physical
violence, Lawson admitted to threatening McBride but denied that he
would send others—the “Polynesian friends”—to hurt McBride when he could
do it himself.
documents also reveal a litany of other alleged wrongdoings, including
that Lawson repeatedly gave false information to FBI investigators. In
February 2013—more than a month after the media reported allegations
made by indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson that Attorney General John
Swallow had tried to facilitate a bribery of a U.S. senator—Chief Deputy
Attorney General Kirk Torgensen complained to the Davis County
Attorney’s Office about “the involvement of defendant Lawson with
victims and witnesses,” according to the charging document.
court document does not specifically address whether Lawson was
interfering with witnesses who were knowledgeable of Swallow’s dealings
with Johnson. But the charging documents do demonstrate that Swallow had
been warned early on about Lawson, with Torgensen telling Swallow in a
2010 e-mail that “Lawson is the guy who is going to bring the house of
that warning, the charging documents show, Swallow maintained very
close ties to Lawson. As City Weekly first reported in 2012, Swallow
vacationed in 2009 with Lawson, Shurtleff and Jenson at the luxurious
Pelican Hill resort in Newport Beach, Calif. And according to the documents, 680 calls and text
messages were exchanged between Lawson and Swallow between April 2009
and March 2013.
charging documents show that Lawson also threatened an investor in the
Mount Holly ski-resort-development project, allegedly on behalf of his
then-employer, Jenson. It’s a claim that’s consistent with City Weekly’s
2011 reporting on Lawson that found that Lawson threatened other
investors in the project that was adversarial to Jenson.
April 2013, when City Weekly asked Lawson about complaints against the
work he did arranging access between legally troubled businesses and
individuals, Lawson was blunt.
had people from [the Attorney General’s] office call me and tell me
this is my fault,” Lawson says. “I said to them, ‘You know what—how do I
put this politically correct?—go screw yourself.’“