Salt Lake County Republican Party Chair Scott Miller stepped down due to increasing pressure from the media and the Republican Party about the mishandling of sexual harassment allegations.
This story has been traveling around local news, but we at Utah Stories decided to ask a question that the other media isn’t asking:
“How did Republican Chairman Scott Miller allow Dave Robinson–the man accused of sexual harassment by a half dozen women in Salt Lake County– to remain his “un-official Communications Director” for the Republican Party within Salt Lake County for three years? Further, how did Robinson — who owns a local property development company get so many plans for modern homes in historic neighborhoods passed?
To recap the story: David Robinson, (the unofficial chair) had an unofficial role and apparently worked in the Salt Lake County offices assisting Republican County Council members with their campaigns, messaging and campaign initiatives for three years.
Councilmember Laurie Stringham was the most prominent whistle blower who gave details about Robinson’s shaming. She Made a campaign video where she said she would say “more, more, more” (referring to ending excessive spending by Mayor Jenny Wilson. Then Robinson allegedly said, “You sound like you are having an orgasm!” And went on to say, “Why are you whoring yourself out.?” He then allegedly made threats saying, “ I will ruin you. I will ensure that you never get elected.”
There are at least five other women who said that Robinson was using degrading nicknames toward women, nicknaming one woman, “sloppy seconds”, and body shaming other women.
Robinson defended his body shaming by telling the Salt Lake Tribune that he has a background in judging livestock and a “critical eye”. The stories that have come out beg some obvious big questions:
Who is Dave Robinson? Why is he in the County government? What are his motives for seeking power? And Why would Chairman Miller put up with his antics for so long?
Robinson served an LDS mission and he owns a few small businesses including a construction company, a consulting company, and he is an advisor for the Cardiff Canyon Owners Association and the Wasatch Canyons Foundation. In addition, he owns a company called City Block [a website he has removed since we originally aired the podcast]. Robinson ran for mayor in 2016, he attempted a smear campaign against Ben McAdams at the time over McAdams handling of Mountain Accord.
Examining Robinson’s (removed) website, Utah Stories found many broken links and missing content. Prior to removing the website Utah Stories found Robinson’s crowning achievements were the exemptions he was awarded by the Salt Lake City Planning and Zoning Department for property owners attempting to get plans approved in historic districts.
Robinson’s website had one page devoted to all of his accomplishments of approval letters from Salt Lake City Planning and Zoning. [The website is down, but we recorded this page on the Utah Stories podcast devoted to this story]
Dave Robinson’s Attempts to Develop Multi-million-dollar Cabins in Protected Areas
Robinson also has connections with Utah’s Mountain preservation organizations. He was the President of the Wasatch Canyons Foundation (this website has also been removed). While under his “stewardship”, the Wasatch Canyons Foundation’s mission was to protect and preserve our mountains and our watershed. But while “serving in that role” Robinson was attempting to pass a proposal to build twenty cabins in Cardiff Canyon, near Cardiff Fork. That same landowner was attempting to use a strange law previson that might allow a squatter with a mining claim to take possession over public land.
This article written in 2017 by Robert Gherke offers the details.
Gherke wrote in his story:
“If conservation is the aim, and non profit, some parts of the narrative don’t add up.”
Gherke goes on to write how this group of developers were working with mining claim owners to make attempts to claim ownership over areas in Big Cottonwood Canyon including Lake Catherine and Lake Mary. They actually took Salt Lake County to court over their claims. The County won.
Robinson as the “lead consultant” had his sights set on building his cabins in Cardiff Canyon, along with a ski lift. These cabins would all have a multi-million-dollar price tag. And obviously had Robinson made it happen, these landholders or claim holders would have had a massive pay-day. But luckily there are some good people in Salt Lake County preventing this sort of development.
Big Questions Remain
Dave Robinson was harassing women for years., whose complaints were falling on deaf ears of Salt Lake County Chairman Scott Miller.
Robinson was getting a pass for setting up shell entities to attempt to get approval for land development deals that would compromise our Cottonwood Canyons. He was getting plans for the building of modern houses in historic neighborhoods passed by the Salt Lake City Planning and Zoning Department. Robinson was essentially an influence peddler.
The question remains: How and Why did Robinson have protected status? Not unlike Kerry Gibson who ran amok the Department of Agriculture for a year. Robinson (under the protection of Chairman Miller) seemed to operate in a corrosive, toxic manner with impunity.
When government even non-official government employees are so obviously abusive, misusers of public trust — there is something fishy going on. We believe there is a lot more to this story that we don’t yet know about…. Sounds like an investigation should be conducted. Support local journalism by subscribing to The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah Stories and the Utah Investigative Journalism Project.
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