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Legal battle continues in $1M judgment against Orem Mayor David Young

By Genelle Pugmire - | Sep 15, 2023

Courtesy photo

Orem Mayor David Young

Orem Mayor David Young continues to be embroiled in a lawsuit that hit him and his son Shawn Young with a $1 million judgment in 2022.

According to Alabama court documents, a writ of garnishment was issued Sept. 30, 2022, to pay off the debt. The mayor is having his Orem city wages garnished, according to Daniel Evans, attorney for plaintiff Ross Gagliano.

The $1 million civil judgment against the Orem mayor and other defendants conclude that Gagliano was defrauded of an investment in Young’s real estate venture.

After a two-day trial, Jefferson County, Alabama, Circuit Court Judge Pat Ballard on May 23, 2022, ruled that Gagliano is owed $339,235 in compensatory damages. Further, “because of the clear and convincing evidence of wantonness and fraud,” the Gagliano was awarded an additional $678,471 in punitive damages.

The judge blasted the Youngs in his ruling, saying they were “extremely lacking in credibility” and that they were “frequently very evasive in their answers to even the simplest of questions.”

Ballard said both Youngs started their testimony “by admitting that they had deceived the court regarding their vaccination status” at the start of the trial. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Alabama took strict measures to protect those appearing in-person in court including requiring all participants to have vaccine shots.

The company in question, Torch13, was formed by the Youngs as a real estate business that purchased homes, flipped them and then sold them for a profit. According to previous reporting, what was not disclosed to Gagliano, a major donor to the company, and which David Young knew, was that his son Shawn was a compulsive gambler. The judge found that David Young had a duty to inform Gagliano that Shawn Young “had misappropriated and gambled away the loan proceeds.”

Following the judgment, David Young indicated he would appeal the judgment to the Alabama Supreme Court. Those documents were finally filed with the court this June. No determination has been made at this time.

In an emailed statement late Friday afternoon, David Young maintained his contention that he played no role in the actions that prompted the lawsuit. “As I have said before, this entire case is about a business transaction between my son, Shawn Young and his friend. I have never been involved or had anything to do with it,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, it appears to be a desperate money grab, that I will continue to defend myself against. … The case is still under appeal at the Supreme Court of Alabama and we look forward to having unbiased judges review the material because we believe the lawsuit wrongly targets one of my four companies and me.”

However, the cat-and-mouse game with the court apparently continues, according to Evans.

On Aug. 1, the court granted Gagliano’s third motion to compel seeking full responses to discovery requests that were initially issued June 27, 2022. The motion claims the Youngs have obstructed post-trial discovery.

“This Court has repeatedly compelled complete answers to these same discovery requests as the prior order to disclose. Nevertheless, the Youngs have refused to provide any forthright response and continued to couch the responses and claims of ‘privilege,’ which they now admit is not applicable,” according to the documents.

In question are demanded documents about trusts established by David Young, his wife, Catherine, and others.

After the original lawsuit was filed in September 2021. The Youngs established the Forever Young Trust. That happened one month before David and Shawn Young were deposed on Oct. 21, 2021.

Gagliano amended his Nov. 8, 2021, complaint to add further allegations of fraud. On Nov. 15, 2021, David Young transferred over $21 million in assets, including his home, to the Forever Young Trust with his wife as the trustee. In exchange, David Young received openly a demand note from the trust signed by his wife. That demand note requires no payment to David Young for over 15 years and then only in the event he is still alive, according to court documents.

It appears that trusts were organized and then assets moved from one trust to another.

“To make matters even more specious, on the same day of the transaction, Mr. Young transferred the note, itself, over to the Catherine B. Young Trust of which he serves as a trustee with his wife,” Evans notes in the legal filing. “These transactions are clearly bogus and done for the purposes of simply evading collection of Mr. Gagliano’s claim and judgment.”

The court most recently — on Sept. 1 — compelled Young to produce the trust documents, but Young continues to contend his possession of the documents is restricted because he was sued in his personal capacity.

“He claims that David the Trustee — not David the person holds those documents,” the document says. “He is playing games as he has throughout the litigation and is not responding in good faith,” Evans said.

The court documents against David Young say he is “obligated to comply with a Court order compelling production of documents.”

In the meantime, David Young has filed suit in Utah against Gagliano and Candace Graehl Young, his former daughter-in-law, a witness appearing at the Alabama trial. He has also sued his prior trial counsel. His wife, Catherine, after being served with a deposition subpoena in Utah, has objected and refused to appear or produce the requested documents.

“In short, Young continues the same arrogant defiance to the Court’s authority he showed during trial,” the plaintiff’s latest motion said.

Evans asked the Court to issue an order “as it deems appropriate, to impress upon Young his obligation to fully obey with the Courts order, including the production of documents pertaining to the trusts for which he is an admitted trustee.”

City employees including the communications manager have determined they will not comment nor become involved in any way with the mayor’s private lawsuit.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement by Orem Mayor David Young.


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