U.S. Senate candidate and outgoing Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson has responded to a fraud and breach of contract lawsuit, calling allegations from a former business associate “meritless” and an attempt to damage his political campaign.
On Friday, attorneys for Wilson filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit from David Peterson, the former chief financial officer of Wilson’s company Destination Homes, described in court documents as “a disgruntled former employee.”
“Peterson seeks to transform an unfounded grievance and decades-old malcontent into a groundless lawsuit with false allegations timed to smear Wilson and hurt his political campaign,” Wilson’s attorneys write.
The complaint was filed in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City on Sept. 28, the day after Wilson formally announced his candidacy. Destination Homes co-founder David Bailey is also listed as a defendant.
The lawsuit stems from a $430,000 loan Peterson allegedly gave to Destination Homes so it could purchase Wheatfield Estates in Layton. The lawsuit claims there was an agreement for repayment with interest.
Wilson paid down the loan made by Peterson to $280,000, the complaint states — but he later “announced unilaterally that he would not be paying interest anymore on the company’s debt to Mr. Peterson.”
Peterson resigned, according to court documents, but claims a contract would have guaranteed him payment under a stock agreement if there was a “sales event.” Court documents point to the Larry H. Miller Group purchasing Destination Homes in 2022, which Peterson claims was a “sales event.”
But according to Wilson’s attorneys, Peterson’s claims fall short — court documents state the allegations of fraud date back to 2008, making them beyond the scope of the three-year statute of limitations. They also lack specificity, and Peterson fails “to plead with particularity the nine fraud elements and the relevant surrounding facts,” the motion reads.
Peterson “seeks to dress up a breach of contract claim as a fraud claim, apparently for shock value. Utah courts resoundingly and repeatedly reject such attempts,” according to the motion.
The motion also argues the breach of contract accusations are moot because “Peterson alleges a breach of contract claim without even identifying a contract that exists with the defendants.”
According to Wilson’s attorneys, there are no allegations in Peterson’s complaint that suggest “there was any offer, acceptance, or consideration to or from any named defendant.”
Wilson’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss with prejudice, asking the court’s ruling to be the final judgement in the case.
Attorneys for Peterson have not yet responded to a request to comment.