Taxpayer funds were used to pay for at least two hotel rooms that a Utah lawmaker who resigned this week is alleged to have used to meet up with a prostitute last year, according to records found by a state House of Representatives official.
DailyMail.com revealed exclusively on Thursday that Republican Rep. Jon Stanard twice hired a prostitute in 2017. After the report was published, House and state elections officials said they were checking to see if taxpayer or campaign money was used for Stanard’s hotel stays with the prostitute.
House Chief of Staff Greg Hartley told the Associated Press in a text message that Stanard, who resigned Tuesday night, was reimbursed for hotel stays in Salt Lake City in June and August 2017 when Stanard was attending legislative meetings at the state Capitol, four hours from his home in St. George.
Utah state Rep. Jon Stanard (pictured on January 22) may have stayed in taxpayer or campaign-funded hotel rooms when he had trysts with a prostitute last summer
Call girl Brie Taylor (above) told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that Stanard paid her for sex during two business trips to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2017
The dates of their hook-ups correspond to times Stanard was staying at a Residence Inn in Salt Lake City for legislative sessions. Above, the Residence Inn closest to the Utah state Capitol. It’s unclear if this is the exact Residence Inn he stayed at
The dates and hotel names correspond with the text messages seen by DailyMail.com
‘It looks like they were legislative days,’ Republican House Speaker Greg Hughes told The Associated Press Thursday night.
Hughes said he didn’t yet know if the House would ask Stanard to return the hotel reimbursements.
‘If there has been an abuse of public funds or if public funds were used in a way that’s inappropriate, we would,’ Hughes said. ‘I don’t have solid answers for those things. I would need to have a way that I would know conclusively that that is the case.’
Jon E. Stanard is a married Republican lawmaker who voted for stricter laws against prostitution. He is seen above on the left with his wife, Leanne, and one of their three children
Phone and text messages to Stanard’s personal cellphone were not returned, but it indicated he read the texts seeking comment. His lawyer, Wally Bugden, declined to comment and did not respond to a follow-up email asking if he was denying the allegations.
Hughes said officials had not had any contact from Stanard Thursday.
It was unclear if the House would be able to check whether Stanard used a state-issued cellphone to text the prostitute and arrange encounters because someone electronically wiped the phone and it no longer contains his text messages.
The House Speaker said he assumed Stanard erased his phone, not House staff, and Hughes said he didn’t know if there was a way to recover text messages from the phone.
House officials said they can’t launch an ethics investigation because Stanard is no longer a lawmaker.
Stanard, a married Republican from the southern Utah resort community of St. George, resigned after serving five years in the House. He voted last year in favor of a law that made state prostitution laws stricter, including raising the penalty for people who are convicted twice of solicitation.
The House announced his resignation Wednesday for ‘personal and family concerns’ but did not offer details. That day, Stanard told the AP in a text message: ‘My father has terminal cancer and I am going to spend a few weeks with him out of state while I still can.’
He did not offer additional information.
The phone number the text messages were sent from matches Stanard’s public profile on the Utah House of Representatives website. Above and below are some of the texts Stanard exchanged with the prostitute
In a text exchange dated March 7, 2017, Stanard informs Taylor he would not be able to meet her because he needed to take care of his sick son
Brie Taylor told DailyMail.com that Stanard twice paid her for sex last year during business trips to Salt Lake City and that he arranged the meetings with a number for a state-issued phone listed on his legislative profile.
The date and time of the messages indicate Stanard would have been texting her to arrange meetings on days the Legislature was in session in March and when lawmakers were in meetings at the Capitol in summer and fall.
Stanard’s 2017 campaign finance report shows he submitted an expense on March 10 for $1,510 for ‘extra hotel expense session lodging’ at the ‘Marriott Residence.’
The texts indicate Stanard was arranging for a visit with Taylor at the Marriott Residence Inn on March 8.
In one particular exchange, Taylor asks Stanard if she should bring any ‘accessories’ or ‘toys’, perhaps a ‘corset’
Utah Director of Elections Justin Lee said state law bars any personal use of campaign funds and elections officials were looking over Stanard’s reports.
Hughes said that when Stanard met with him Tuesday night to tell him he was resigning, ‘there were issues that were weighing on him. What exactly and to the nature, I wasn’t aware. But it was clear that his priority was with his family and was not here.’
He would not say if Stanard spoke about allegations he paid a prostitute for sex, saying it was a personal conversation between colleagues but ‘it ran the gamut of problems,’ and ‘I did not know there was a story coming, I’ll just say that.’
‘I was absolutely shocked. I had never heard anything, there was nothing in my interaction – I sit next to him on the House floor – nothing in my interaction that’s ever suggesting anything even remotely close to what we’re seeing today,’ GOP Rep. Mike McKell said.
Salt Lake City police say they have no record related to solicitation allegations against Stanard. Unified Police Department of Salt Lake County said it had no record of contact with him.
Judging by her Facebook page, Leanne Stanard holds socially conservative views just like her husband