There’s a new allegation that Timothy W. Lawson of Provo solicited not only money, but sex to help his clients seek favors from the Utah Attorney General’s Office. On one occasion, Lawson allegedly tried to set up an encounter between a Park City woman and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
Lawson, the so-called “Fix-It Man” and “political facilitator” for Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow, is already facing accusations that he took fees from three men who were being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office to facilitate preferred treatment.
But, according to one his alleged “pay-to-play” clients, Lawson bragged that he had also helped fix legal and financial problems for women in exchange for sexual encounters. Brian Kitts, who fled to Canada after Lawson apparently failed to get criminal charges against Kitts reduced, said Lawson bragged about peddling influence for female clients. “Lawson started talking about sexual encounters he had had with women he was trying to help in explicit detail,” Kitts says. “He is convinced that he never actually had ‘sex’ with them because there was no penetration. Lawson claims he has some kind of amazing ability to bring a woman to orgasm unlike any orgasm they have ever experienced just by touching them.”
Lawson purportedly told Kitts about one of the women who complained to the Attorney General’s office. Kitts says Lawson told him that his female clients “all loved it and never said no, and if any of them try to cause me problems, ‘I will personally see to it that their lives become hell.’”
Kitts claims that in November 2009, he and his now ex-wife Laurie visited Lawson’s home in Utah County where Lawson lived with his wife and seven children. “He could not keep his hands off my wife, constantly trying to hug her and touch her,” Kitts says.
The next month, on a Saturday morning, Lawson called Kitts’ wife on her cell phone. He purportedly asked her, “Do you know what I am doing right now?”
Laurie Kitts reportedly responded, “No, but I’m getting ready for work.”
Kitts says Lawson then said, “I’m lying in bed alone and naked” and he said he was touching himself. Kitts said his wife was horrified, immediately hung up, and began crying at Lawson’s attempt to engage in what she thought was phone sex.
On another occasion, Kitts claims Lawson sent him a text message suggesting a meeting between Laurie and Mark Shurtleff. “I think a meeting between Laurie and Mark Shurtleff in a nice quiet place might be a good idea,” the text message said. “I can think of a lot of things that Mark would like to do to her and if she cooperated it would go a long way to have your case go away.” No such meting took place, and Kitts’ case did not go away.
Former Utah Attorney General Shurtleff, in an interview for this report, said “Brian Kitts is lair,” and that no meeting was ever requested on his behalf. He said Lawson is part of a “sweet, loving family with two daughters serving [LDS] missions.” Shurtleff calls any rumors suggesting his close friend has sex issues “horrible.”
Lawson is not known to be shy about expressing his opinions. Colorfully. He once sent a letter to a Colorado physician who had become disillusioned after investing in the Mount Holly Ski Resort, a project being promoted by Lawson’s former client Marc Jenson. In the letter to Dr. Jeffrey Donner, Lawson criticized him for complaining about Jenson and alleging fraud to Attorney General Shurtleff. “Your brain has been fried from the self-medication that you have been administering for years,” Lawson wrote. He accused Donner of having “low self esteem”, “an Oedipus complex” or “penis envy.”
Lawson wrote “now that the dick measuring is done” Donner should quit bad-mouthing Jenson and join a group to sue other parties over their Mount Holly investment losses.
Shurtleff acknowledged that Donner had met with him to complain about Jenson. But Shurtleff said if Lawson made any penis references to Donner, that it was “typical guy talk.”
The company Lawson wanted Dr. Donner to join in suing was New York hedge fund XE Capital management. (Note: XE Capital bought the resort out of bankruptcy, changed the name to Eagle Point and reopened it in 2010) XE partner Shane Gadbaw said that during his company’s dispute with Marc Jenson, Tim Lawson tried several time to meet with him, but Gadbaw refused. So Lawson began calling and texting.
Gadbaw said Lawson used fear tactics, claiming to be able to get Utah’s Attorney General to investigate Gadbaw. There were also text messages with “really graphic content, sexual in nature, from random sources.” Gadbaw says he cannot prove they came from Lawson but believes they did. “My wife was getting upset, getting phone messages,” Gadbaw said. Gadbaw had his attorney contact the FBI and write Lawson about his suspicions about Lawson and, afterwards, the messages ceased.
Marc Jenson, according to his attorney Helen Redd, heard the same comments about women from Lawson that Brian Kitts did. According to Redd, Lawson bragged to Jenson about affairs he had, and that Jenson “was disgusted how vile Tim Lawson was when speaking about women in general.” Redd says it made Jenson beyond uncomfortable.
Also according to Redd, Jenson received emails that he considered threatening and disturbing. One of them consisted of a photo of Lawson with reddened skin. The text said, “Mom and Nicole (Lawson’s wife) think I look like Satan!”
Kitts said he noticed in 2009 that Lawson’s Facebook page was befriended by numerous scantily clad women, speculating they may have been some of the clients he helped. A search by UPC shows Lawson has women who look like models or escorts who posted as his Facebook friends. (Among the favorites he lists are Mark Shurtleff, John Swallow, Lavell Edwards, KSL’s Lori Pritchard and the Tea Party.)
Meanwhile, also in 2009, Lawson was alleged to have been trying to help a female client, Tasia Wade, out of a legal jam, much like he is alleged to have tried to help Jenson, Kitts and Jeremy Johnson. Several sources have told UPC that Wade, a Salt Lake mortgage broker, claimed to have access to billions of dollars in investment funds. A former business associate says Wade considered herself a high roller, talking about deals ranging from $20 million to $300 billion. But, the associate said, she had no such access and considered Wade’s dealings to be “shady.”
In 2009, Wade was renting a luxurious home in South Jordan. That home—she was later evicted for failure to pay rent—became a rendezvous of sorts. It was where, sources say, people were continually coming and going to talk deals and plan ventures. One idea was to build a special theater in Sandy for screening new movies. Another plan was to engage in a new multilevel marketing venture.
One of the concepts did bear fruit. In 2010, collaborators who had been meeting at Wade’s house released the feature film “The Deception.” People who had met there with Wade and Lawson were on the film’s credits: Gary Travis, screenplay; Ian Thayer, producer, and Detective 3 was played by Tim (nickname “Tee”) Lawson. His film biography claims Lawson “worked as Robert Downey Jr.’s bodyguard during the filming of ‘The Soloist’”.
The tagline for “The Deception” could well apply to the real life story of Shurtleff, Swallow and Lawson: “Anyone can be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. But, what if you had seen that place in your dreams? Take a thrilling ride into the world of corruption (and) lies.”
Brian Kitts was among several entrepreneurs who met at the house and sought Wade’s assistance to line up investment capital, in Kitts’ case $7.5 million. Kitts says never got the money and concluded it was a sham offer. But he says he was invited to a movie screening set up for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Tasia. Kitts declined the invitation. He was told the Shurtleff meeting was set up for two reasons: To milk any connections Shurtleff may have had with the Utah Film Commission and because of Wades’ legal difficulties that Lawson was trying to help fix.
Shurtleff acknowledges knowing Wade and attending the screening. He recalls the film people in attendance may have been interested in any tie he might have to the Film Commission. But he denies it was also to help fix Wade’s legal problems. Shurtleff said he didn’t know she had any.
Prior to the screening, Wade had twice been arrested, in February 2009 and again in June of the same year. Usually, there would be an official record of the arrests—along with corresponding docket sheets that would be part of a court record—but Wade’s records were expunged in July, 2012, so almost all traces are gone from official jail and court files.
Wade and her attorney declined comment.
Shurtleff, himself, entertained suggestions of having his novel, “Am I Not A Man—The Dred Scott Story,” made into a feature film. No film was ever made, but a Salt Lake producer did shoot a trailer of sorts that reflects how a movie could have been promoted.
Kitts says Lawson, during the same time frame, continued to demand money for his services even though the Attorney General intensified rather than lessened charges against Kitts. Kitts’ notes, backed up by his phone records of calls going to and from Lawson, indicate that on April 30, 2010, Lawson sent him 14 text messages. One of them said, “If I don’t have $7000 in my bank account by the end of the day I am going to undo everything I have done for you and I’m going to see your sorry fucking ass in jail.”
Soon after, Kitts said he phoned Lawson and called the threat a form of extortion. Lawson, according to Kitts, responded, “Anybody can file any complaint they want about me. I am fucking untouchable in this state. I have cell phone numbers for everyone at the top and when I call they do what I tell them to do.”
Salt Lake City Weekly first began reporting about the Lawson/Shurtleff connection more than two years ago, long before the FBI took interest. Back then, unlike now, Lawson was talking to the press. City Weekly said Lawson did not recall the threatening text message Kitts claimed he received. “To be honest with you, I actually do have a medical condition, neurological, that I don’t remember things from one day to the next sometimes,” the story said. Lawson explained he had an MRI scan showing a number of tumors in his brain which may have been affecting his memory.
Lawson also suffers from Celiac disease, which results in damage to the small intestine lining, leading to malnutrition. It’s caused by a reaction to gluten which is found in wheat, barley and rye, which led to Lawson and his wife Nicole opening the “New Grains Gluten Free Bakery” at their Provo residence, after taking out bankruptcy in 2010. Shurtleff say the bakery’s recipes came from Lawson’s wife experimenting with gluten-free flours. He said their bread tastes much better than any competing products he previously sampled.
As part of Lawson’s drive to help other Celiac sufferers avoid products that claim to be gluten free, but are not, he sued Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. The complaint filed in US Distinct court (since dismissed) alleged that Hatch deprived funding for the Food and Drug Administration to research gluten free labeling. “Without the necessary research the FDA has been forced to adopt lower standards for gluten-free labeling.” the complaint said. “Dangerous amounts of gluten are contained in products that exhibit gluten free labels.”
Shurtleff said he and Lawson remain friends. It’s a mutual admiration society with Lawson previously calling Shurtleff a “dear friend” and “the strongest Attorney General to every ware (sic) the mantel of AG.” He says Shurtleff is seen as the “Shield of Truth against injustice, the voice of the faceless masses and the Sword of Justice for the people’s right to live in a free Democracy.”
Lawson and his attorney declined to return phone calls for this story.