Utah Law Firm Involved in Family Dispute

Utah Law Firm Involved in Family Dispute

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LEHI, Utah (AP) -- Parties involved in a family dispute that threatens to break up a Utah law firm say they have been contacted in an FBI investigation.

The dispute involves the firm Gregory, Barton and Swapp, famous for it's television commercials boasting, "One Call, That's All."

Keith Barton, the public face of the firm in commercials, is being sued by his sister-in-law, Kim Brown, for allegedly not paying her for advertising services. His father-in-law, Buddy Gregory, has accused him of borrowing money against the firm's assets for personal use and now wants to remove Barton from the firm.

A receiver was recently appointed to help Barton and Gregory, each 50 percent partners in the Lehi-based firm, liquidate their corporation and ensure the firm's estimated 5,500 clients continue to be represented adequately.

Craig Swapp, the firm's managing attorney, said he has "no knowledge of any FBI investigation regarding the law firm."

"But one of our attorneys did get a call from the FBI to answer questions about Keith's financial transactions, and that attorney responded that he was unaware of any," he said in an interview with the Daily Herald on Tuesday.

Brown, owner of Kim Brown Associates LLC of Lehi and Gregory's daughter, says she was contacted by the FBI following the filing of her lawsuit to recover $750,000 in alleged unpaid advertising fees from Barton and additional complaints she made to the Lehi Police Department and the Utah State Bar Association in recent weeks.

"The FBI is investigating my lawsuit to find out where the money is, so that the creditors, including my father and myself, can be paid," said Brown, the wife of auto dealer Brent Brown.

Bob Wright, special agent and spokesman for the FBI in Salt Lake City, declined comment.

Barton told The Associated Press the family is negotiating with each other and he expects a resolution soon.

"This is a family business and it's very emotional. Th ere are some people in the family that have become very emotional about it and we're trying to keep emotions out of the negotiations," he said.

Barton said he has no reason to believe there is an FBI investigation, and said he has not been contacted by the FBI.

"I think we're literally days away from a resolution," he said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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