Lobbyist denies conflict of interest allegations over Geneva Rock gravel pit expansion

Local News

DRAPER (News4Utah) -The Draper City Council was scheduled to consider a proposed 73-acre expansion of Geneva Rock’s gravel pit mining operation at the Point of the Mountain Wednesday night but one citizen activist told News4Utah that the Mayor and the City Council have a major conflict of interest.

Tony Nelson’s Point of the Mountain Politics Facebook page points out that Jeff Hartley works as a lobbyist for both the City of Draper and Geneva Rock.

“We’re going to need a lobbyist who’s fair and representing the citizens,” Nelson said. “Not representing us and Geneva Rock. That’s a conflict of interest.”

Hartley acknowledges he’s employed by both entities but says he doesn’t represent either in the mine expansion debate.
“The fact that I have represented both Draper City and Geneva Rock isn’t a conflict unless I’m working for one and against the other which hasn’t been done,” Hartley said. “This Facebook group, Tony Nelson and these other clowns, they offer no evidence to prove there is a real conflict…You have a noisy Facebook group that is casting dispersions on people and making allegations that they can’t back up with facts.”

Nelson told News4Utah that as a lobbyist for the City, Hartley has frequent conversations with Mayor Troy Walker but a response to his records request says there’s no documents of their exchanges.

“The problem is there’s no written communication, no documentation of anything that goes on between the two,” Nelson said. “So it’s very possible that Mr. Hartley is pressuring Mayor Walker to support Geneva Rock or they could actually be making a deal with each other on Geneva Rock.”

Hartley scoffs and says Nelson’s real motivation is promoting Michelle Weeks’ campaign for State House of Representatives.

“They just want to throw bombs,” Hartley said. “It’s all about raising Michelle’s profile as a hero for Draper and frankly they’re pretty close to getting a cease and desist order from me because I’m a private citizen not an elected official and they don’t get to go after private citizens with slander and libel.”

The group Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and some nearby residents oppose the mine expansion because of the additional dust it will put into the air. Geneva Rock says it meets or exceeds all state and federal standards for dust control and recently spent $30 million on dust mitigation.

Hartley dismisses the health concerns and the Facebook allegations.

“This is all a ruse that they’re putting forward on the people of Draper. The State Department of Air Quality has looked at the silica issue. There’s no silica in the sand and gravel that’s there so it’s not an air quality issue other than dust but they don’t care about the facts. They’re just..they’re trolls.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah VP Debate

More Utah Debate