A private firm conducted an investigation into the conduct of Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, after state employees reportedly said he mimicked female staff, called employees “idiots” and used the f-word during a Jan. 25 meeting.

In an interview with the Deseret News, Lyman, a gubernatorial candidate, disputed allegations in the report.

“There was no shouting. I didn’t call anybody an idiot,” said Lyman. He also said he didn’t use the expletive toward the employees — he said he was referring to the deal.

The investigation concluded Lyman did not violate any laws or policies of the Utah Legislature. The firm also concluded Lyman’s behavior was “unprofessional and inappropriate” and said since it appears to be “an isolated incident,” the conduct did not qualify as creating an abusive working environment.

“It is my conclusion that neither woman welcomed Rep. Lyman’s conduct and both women were subjectively offended by it,” said the report. “However, it is also my conclusion that Rep. Lyman’s conduct was not sufficiently severe in its nature to create an abusive working environment — he was merely mimicking their words in a mocking manner.”

The Deseret News obtained the documents via a spokesperson for the Utah House of Representatives.

“Earlier this year, a complaint was brought to our attention against one of our House members. We followed all processes and procedures to address the concern in a timely, professional, and fair matter including hiring outside counsel to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation,” said Utah House Speaker Mike Schultz in a statement. “The investigation concluded that while the member’s conduct was unprofessional, no federal, state, or legislative rules were violated.”

The firm did not interview Lyman during the investigation. “This is because after I interviewed (redacted), (redacted) and (redacted), and in response to a question from Speaker Mike Schultz, I opined that it was unlikely that anything Rep. Lyman might say in an interview would alter my answers to the questions identified above. Accordingly, Speaker Schultz instructed me to draft my report without speaking with Rep. Lyman,” the report read.

Lyman said when he spoke to Schultz, R-Hooper, the House speaker told him the investigation was over and “they found no wrongdoing, nothing illegal, nothing unethical, no action to take and he suggested it was probably in my best interest to just leave it alone.”

The report concerned a meeting that took place in Lyman’s office with employees from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The group was meeting to discuss a fiscal note that would accompany a bill that would prohibit state employees from receiving a bonus when they oversee sales of trust lands and would roll back rulemaking authority.

According to the report, Lyman said the people employed at this agency “were either ‘idiots,’ or they had been ‘duped by the Red Rock Wilderness conspiracy.’” Calling the agency “failed,” Lyman said he would attempt to dissolve it, but he didn’t trust the Legislature to take over.

The discussion reportedly strayed from the fiscal note and when an employee said they would “have to agree to disagree.” The report said Lyman repeated back the phrase “in a high-pitched voice while gesturing with his hands and tilting his head in a manner that made it clear to both (redacted) and (redacted) that Rep. Lyman was mocking (redacted) based on her gender.”

Another participant in the meeting said he was working during the discussion, but he “vaguely” remembered Lyman taking a mocking tone. As the group discussed the Bears Ears land swap, Lyman reportedly said something to the effect of “you’re trading out the f-ing lands.”

Lyman said he used “the f-word at the deal that is going down.” He added, “And that seems like the proper adjective for this type of a deal that’s taking all of the land from a county and giving it to other counties.”

“I didn’t stutter. I didn’t yell. It wasn’t a shouting match that I’ve heard it said,” said Lyman. “I expressed myself very clearly and I believe I got their attention about the gravity of what they were trying to do to the honest people who are negatively affected by this.”

The employees then started to leave Lyman’s office. Then, the report said Lyman said state employees received a commission based on land sales and one of the employees denied this happened. Lyman reportedly “mimicked what (redacted) had just said, using a high-pitched voice and gesturing with his hands.”

Regarding the allegations of mocking, Lyman said he wasn’t concerned about their gender.

“It’s not two female employees. It’s two SITLA employees,” said Lyman. “I’m not concerned with what gender they were. It’s a really sensitive subject when you’re taking away the productive assets of a county, and I don’t care if it’s female or male employees of SITLA.”

The report stated the employees left the office and Lyman said, “I’m not done with you yet.” Two of the employees wrote down accounts of the meeting on the same day. The investigator interviewed these two employees and a third who was present.

“He said that while he agreed with many of the political positions Rep. Lyman expressed during the meeting, he found Rep. Lyman’s conduct to be inappropriate, unprofessional and unproductive,” the report stated, adding he was concerned other meetings with Lyman were like that, though he had not seen Lyman conduct himself like that before.

In a different meeting involving Lyman, Gov. Spencer Cox, Rep. John Curtis and Sen. Mike Lee, a state employee present said Lyman called the Bears Ears Land swap a “gang rape.”

“After the meeting, Sen. Lee said Rep. Lyman was ‘pretty awful — and that’s coming from me,’” the report stated.

The report concluded it was unlikely Lyman violated local, state or federal law, stating, “There is no evidence that Rep. Lyman has engaged in harassing behavior based on a protected characteristic on any occasion other than during the January 25 meeting.”

As for whether Lyman’s behavior violated any policy from the Utah Legislature, the investigation found it probably did not violate any policy.

“Although Rep. Lyman’s conduct more likely than not constituted unwelcome harassment on the basis of sex/gender, it was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute a violation of federal or state law — or, consequently, the policy.”

Describing the report as a “cancel report,” Lyman said the report found no illegal conduct on his part. He also said the report was missing context about the discussion with regards to Bears Ears National Monument and the Red Rock Wilderness bill.

The report concluded Lyman didn’t violate any laws or policies, though it described his conduct as unprofessional and inappropriate.