While former Utah County Commissioner Brent C. Morris is beginning his campaign to regain the seat he surrendered in May 1990, his financial woes are getting worse.
Last week, Bushman Press of Provo filed a lawsuit in 4th District Court against Morris and three business partners in Heritage Publishing, claiming the company owes more than $115,000 in printing costs. Bushman says it printed and bound 5,000 copies of Morris' book "Utah Profiles." According to the suit, payment on the printing costs was due in January.Also named in the suit are Wayne Hill, James C. Strickland and Jeanie Folger, investors in Morris' company.
Morris has spent the past two years publishing and marketing the book on Utah facts. He recently launched a heavy marketing campaign by placing advertisements in several Utah magazines.
Morris' unpaid printing costs are only part of his debt. He owes the Internal Revenue Service and the Utah State Tax Commission more than $20,000 in unpaid income taxes on about $26,000 he withdrew from his county pension plan. He used the money to finance his 1986 commission campaign and his 1990 congressional campaign.
In July, a property management company filed a suit in 4th Circuit Court claiming Morris failed to pay more than $3,000 in rent on a home in Orem.
Morris will face Republican incumbent Gary Herbert and Independent Party candidate Jerry Grover in November for the seat he gave up as part of a campaign promise during his unsuccessful bid for Congress. A short time after resigning, Morris switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.
The debts should have no effect on his campaign for commissioner, Morris said. He has not tried to hide his debts and is working to repay them, he said. The debts are simply a reflection of the cost of running for political office and voters will understand that, he said.