KAYSVILLE — In the wake of reports that the Davis County Attorney's Office is investigating Kaysville City Councilman Dave Adams for extortion, the City Council is expected to censure the councilman and ask for his resignation.
Kaysville's newly elected Mayor Katie Witt said Wednesday she has support from all council members except Adams for a resolution scheduled for a vote Thursday night to censure Adams for allegedly violating the city's code of conduct and issue a public letter "respectfully requesting" that he resign from the council.
"It is essential that we come down very hard and very clear that we do not want to have even the appearance of impropriety," Witt said, noting that the council "does not take a stand on his innocence or guilt on this."
"But the appearance leaves our residents to question if he would conduct himself honorably when he is making decisions on the council," she said. "It is essential that our community is able to trust us. Having Dave Adams continue to serve on our City Council taints the process."
Witt also said the investigation and allegations against Adams would be a "distraction."
"If (Adams) is willing to shake people down for money, he is not above taking a bribe, and therefore no resident of Kaysville should wonder if our City Council is taking bribes — and that is really at the heart of this," the mayor said.
Tuesday marked Witt's first day in office.
Adams did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
The Deseret News first reported Friday that Adams is being investigated for possibly extorting Layton sod farmer Daren Deru after allegedly demanding that he pay $250,000 because he had possession of a tractor-trailer dolly Adams apparently needed to fix his personal firetruck, according to a search warrant affidavit.
It's the same firetruck state auditors found Adams inappropriately used nearly $6,000 of city funds to repair.
Adams has shown a "pattern of behavior that indicates he believes he is above our code of conduct and in some cases the law," Witt said, referencing the firetruck controversy.
The mayor also said Adams has "threatened" and intimidated other city employees and council members. Witt declined to name names but said Adams once told a Kaysville staffer "she had better watch her back" because he was unhappy with something she did.
"(Adams) has a threatening nature about him if he doesn't get what he wants from you," said former Councilwoman Susan Lee, who didn't win re-election last year.
Lee said Adams "can be quite vulgar" and "tries to put you down and make you feel worthless."
"We are going to do everything we legally can to remove (Councilman) Adams," Witt said, but she acknowledged the censure and the city's code of conduct laws don't have any real teeth, except for allowing the council to remove Adams from a council meeting if he becomes disruptive.
"Other than that, the will of the people has to be respected, so he will continue to sit in that seat unless he is convicted of a crime or if he voluntarily resigns," the mayor said. "This is going to be a test case for why this state needs a recall procedure."
Adams' term ends Jan. 1, 2020.
Three of Adams' colleagues on the council — council members Jake Garn, Larry Page and Michelle Barber — all said Wednesday they plan to vote in favor of the resolution.
"I have no ill will against Dave personally, I wish him and his family the best," Garn said. "I just think he's unfit for office and should resign."
Page said Adams is "constantly in controversy" and he believes "it would be best for the city" if Adams resigned.
"I guess the whole point of this is I wish he'd take his oath of office more seriously," Page said, adding that he hopes "things work out for him; he's facing a lot of serious accusations."
Barber, whose first City Council meeting will be Thursday, said she's "disappointed" the controversy over Adams has been the center of attention in Kaysville.
"There is so much more positive going on in our city than negative," she said.
Barber added that she "looked forward" to working with Adams and the rest of the council, but "when this came out, I felt like it's something we can't ignore."
The investigation into Adams began after Adams first accused Deru of stealing a tractor-trailer dolly early this year. After Farmington police investigated the theft allegations and the Davis County Attorney's Office declined to file charges, Farmington police recommended prosecutors then begin investigating Adams for possible extortion, according to a search warrant affidavit.
The case also raises questions about Adams' ties to Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson, whom Adams reportedly asked for help because he "was not happy with the outcome" of Farmington police's investigation into the councilman's theft allegations, according to the affidavit. Richardson then made two attempts "to investigate and get a different outcome," the warrant states.
Adams later decreased his demands from $250,000 to $11,500 and planned a meeting between himself, Deru and the sheriff to arrange "payoff" to end his and Deru's dispute, according to the affidavit.
When first contacted by the Deseret News last week, Adams said, "This thing's a whole charade. … It's a long story," but he declined to comment further about the investigation, referring questions to his attorney, Brian Arnold. Arnold has not returned multiple requests for comment.
Farmington Police Chief Wayne Hansen and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings have declined to comment about the case.
Richardson said last week it's not unusual for his agency to double-check other agencies' work "to make sure things don't fall through the cracks." And he said he didn't open investigations as a "favor" for Adams.
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