Parkprovo, LLC, which owns the Seven Peaks Waterpark in Provo, has filed for federal bankruptcy.
Parkprovo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday in the United States Bankruptcy Court District of Utah.
There has been no arrangements for the Provo water park to operate as a Seven Peaks facility for the 2018 summer season, according to a statement posted Tuesday on the Seven Peaks Resort website.
“The Seven Peaks management team that has managed the park for nearly two decades, had recommended a reputable, experienced and well-known water park management company to operate the park for the 2018 summer season, but the bankruptcy filing by Parkprovo LLC, makes it unclear now what will happen regarding the management of the park,” the statement reads.
Parkprovo, LLC is separate from the Seven Peaks management team.
It was announced earlier this year that the Seven Peaks Water Resort would not be on the Pass of all Passes this year. The traditional Christmas at Seven Peaks event was cancelled last season.
The water park opened in 1989 as a resort that included the Excelsior Hotel (now Marriott Hotel), water park and golf course that was owned by Victor and Suzann Borcherds. The park was in financial trouble by the mid-1990s, when it filed for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws.
The resort had previously released a statement stating that the status of the affiliation of the water park with Seven Peaks was uncertain after the park’s management team learned that ownership of the water park was transferred to another owner in 2016, which retained Seven Peaks’ management within a leaseback agreement. That transition led to legal proceedings that were pending as of late March.
Seven Peaks Water Park Provo and Zibalstar LC are in court proceedings with plaintiffs Courtside Condominiums and Parkprovo, LLC. The lawsuit concerns properties at 530 S. 1200 West in Orem and not the Seven Peaks Waterpark location in Provo, however, the case and potential financial repercussions affect the resort’s ability to open.
More specifics on why the park is affected will likely be discussed during oral arguments on May 4.
Oral arguments in the case were scheduled for Tuesday, one day after the company filed for bankruptcy.
Isaac Paxman, deputy mayor of Provo, said in a prepared statement, "Seven Peaks has been a part of our community for decades. Provo prides itself on its recreational offerings, and I would bet most residents feel like I do — that we’ve been really grateful to have the water park here in our backyard. I’ve made some great memories there and I’d bet most people here in Provo and surrounding areas have too, through the years. I personally hope that they can get through whatever financial or other struggles they may be facing, get on a solid footing and become an even better venue. I’d love to see the park here for years to come."
A man was found dead after reportedly shooting his wife following a physical altercation with his son in Provo on Saturday night.
Provo police responded at 10:15 p.m. to reports that a woman had been shot. Officers found a 48-year-old woman and her 22-year-old son taking cover behind a truck outside the home near 1400 West and 500 North.
According to the Provo Police Department, the woman reportedly had three gunshot wounds from a 9 mm handgun. Officers were able to carry the woman away from the scene, and she was transported to the hospital.
The woman underwent surgery early Sunday and was expected to survive, according to Provo police Detective Nick Dupaix.
The shooter was identified as 48-year-old Michael Skinner, according to police, who is the woman’s husband.
The Metro SWAT team, consisting of officers from Provo, Orem and BYU, attempted to make contact with Skinner, who was still inside the home. Efforts included using a robot, which removed the front door, Dupaix said. After there was no response, officers fired a form of tear gas into the residence and moved onto the front of the property in an armored vehicle.
After there was no response to those actions, officers sent in a K-9 unit, which determined it was safe for officers to enter.
At 4:39 a.m., Skinner was found dead inside the home. Dupaix said it appeared Skinner died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
It wasn’t currently known when Skinner died. Dupaix said police were waiting for the medical examiner’s report for an estimated time of death.
Police are currently investigating the shooting, but have said that Skinner and his son had a physical altercation. Skinner’s son and wife left the home to de-escalate the situation, but his wife went back into the home to get shoes and saw Skinner with a handgun.
According to police, his wife left the home and was shot three times. Police report that 10 shots were taken in total.
Dupaix recommended that people call the police during physical altercations, so steps can be taken to ensure everyone is safe.
“It’s a really sad event where some of it could be avoided,” he said.
A Springville man was arrested Monday on suspicion of raping a 12-year-old child.
Walker Kilpatrick, 21, was booked into Utah County Jail Monday on suspicion of one charge of rape of a child, a first-degree felony.
The child in the case had reportedly made comments to witnesses saying she had sex with Kilpatrick. The child told police she had once woken up to Kilpatrick touching her inappropriately, the police report said.
In a police interview, Walker told police he had sex with the child, and stated that the child had repeatedly asked him to have sex with her.
Kilpatrick has no significant criminal history, according to the police report.
In a notice of claim sent to Utah County, Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves claims he has been defamed, slandered and libeled by a female county employee who filed a sexual harassment claim against him, and by his fellow commissioners who voted to make the information public.
The notice of claim says a sexual harassment claim against Graves was made public by his fellow commissioners “with the bad intent of harming the reputation and character of Commissioner Greg Graves.”
The claim says actual damages Graves has suffered have not been calculated, but will be “based upon the damage and harm to his reputation that will result in actual economic losses.”
“The adverse information that was improperly made public has severely harmed Commissioner Graves’ reputation and has adversely impacted his ability to obtain employment after the end of his term,” the notice of claim says.
Graves’ term as Utah County Commissioner comes to an end Dec. 31, 2018.
When asked for comment, Graves referred the Daily Herald via text message to his attorney.
The notice of claim was sent to the Utah County Clerk/Auditor’s office as per state code, said Ryan Schriever, a Spanish Fork attorney representing Graves.
The county has 60 days from the time the claim is received to respond to it. The county can either accept the claim and negotiate a settlement with Graves, or deny it, after which Graves would have one year to file a lawsuit against the county, Shriever said.
A non response from the county would be viewed legally as a denial, and would still allow Graves one year to file a suit.
When asked for comment, Ivie referred the Daily Herald to his legal counsel, Andrew Morse, with the Snow, Christensen and Martineau law firm in Salt Lake City. Morse said he is representing Ivie, Lee and Utah County in this case.
Morse said the first step in handling the claim is a thorough investigation into the notice of claim, including interviewing witnesses.
“We’re just at the very beginning of this investigation,” Morse said. “We always take these notices of claim very seriously. We review it, we talk to witnesses, and come to conclusion as to whether the claim has merit or not.”
Morse said how he will respond to the claim after the investigation is complete would just be speculation at this point.
The sexual harassment claim against Graves was filed by a Utah County employee in 2017. The Daily Herald requested the harassment claim via a public records request, which was originally denied by the Utah County Attorney’s office.
At an appeal hearing Dec. 6, Graves’ fellow commissioners, Nathan Ivie and Bill Lee, voted to release a redacted version of the sexual harassment claim to the public. Graves was out of town for that hearing and did not call in to the meeting.
Before the redacted sexual harassment claim was released that day, Ivie identified Graves in a Facebook post as the person who was the subject of the complaint. Both Ivie and Lee called for Graves to resign that same day.
The sexual harassment claim released by the Utah County Attorney’s Office later that same day also identified Graves by name, though the person who filed the complaint had her name redacted throughout the document.
Graves’ notice of claim calls the sexual harassment claims made against him “false” and points to an investigative report into the matter, released by the county the day after the sexual harassment claim, in which a third party investigator said he could neither confirm nor deny the sexual harassment allegations against Graves.
Though the report did not confirm sexual harassment allegations, the investigator wrote that, “Based on statements from nearly all of the witnesses, that (Graves) is widely viewed as a workplace ‘bully,’ ‘dishonest,’ ‘demeaning,’ ‘intimidating,’ ‘threatening,’ ‘explosive,’ and someone with whom personal interaction is to be avoided as much as possible.”
All personal identities were protected in the investigative report that was released, including Graves’.
The notice of claim points to Ivie’s Facebook post identifying Graves as the subject of the complaint, and a subsequent link Lee posted to his Facebook page of a Daily Herald editorial article entitled “Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves’ behavior necessitates his resignation,” as further confirming the identity of the person about whom the investigation was conducted.
The notice of claim states that the employee had become disgruntled with Graves in April 2017 because he did into believe she was performing her job satisfactorily.
“The Employee fabricated these statements due to ill will and actual malice she harbored against Commissioner Graves,” the notice of claim says.
After the release of the sexual harassment complaint, Graves faced a host of calls for his resignation, including from the Utah County Republican Party and multiple Utah County legislators.
Salem Police Sgt. Greg Smith didn’t really intend to become a police officer — he wanted to get into firefighting, and had already gotten EMT certifications.
But firefighting was a competitive field to get into, and Smith struggled to find a position. He ended up following his identical twin brother’s lead by going to the police academy, because police jobs were more abundant.
Smith graduated police academy in 2010, starting out as a police officer at Utah Valley University, then at Payson, before finally accepting a position as a K-9 officer in Salem in 2013.
In 2018, Smith was named the Police Officer of the Year by the Utah Chiefs of Police Association in the small agency category.
Salem Police Chief Brad James nominated Smith for the award, highlighting an arrest Smith made that led to a gang ring inside the Utah State Prison that had stolen personal information from about 13,000 people.
Smith said the incident started when he was called to the local Salem grocery store, Stokes, on reports of a woman trying to pass off a fraudulent check.
Further investigation uncovered more fraudulent documents in the woman’s car, and a search warrant for her place of residence revealed thousands more.
“There were thousands of stolen checks, credit cards, blank credit cards, blank ID cards. You name it, she had it,” Smith said.
The woman was linked to a network working out of the state prison, and a federal investigation is still ongoing into that incident, Smith said.
The detective working the federal case is still in contact with Smith, he said. Last he heard, they had found 13,000 victims whose personal information had been used.
“We’re talking they had bank account information, death certificates, birth certificates, you name it, she had it,” Smith said. “It was unreal.”
Smith said he felt honored to receive the award, though awards aren’t something he seeks out.
But he was also humbled, he said.
“I feel like there are many more officers, even officers here in Salem, that maybe deserved it just as much as I did with the work that they do, or the work that other officers do,” Smith said. “It means a lot.”
Despite not having originally set out to be a police officer, Smith enjoys his job in public safety — particularly working with his K-9 partner, MJ, who he describes as a pampered princess.
MJ, besides sniffing out drugs at work, sleeps in Smith’s bedroom, plays with his kids and is always up for a solid round of tug-of-war.
“I tell people she’s the smart end of the leash,” Smith said. “She makes me look good. The community should be grateful for her because she does a lot of good work here, not only in Salem, but in the surrounding communities too.”
MJ isn’t trained as an attack dog, and specializes in drug location.
“During my shift, when we’re not deployed, I’m in here some, but also playing with my dog,” Smith said. “And how do you beat that, you know? Getting paid to play with your dog all day long.”
Provo police arrested two people Friday after they reportedly hid a dead body in a closet.
Dallas Juggert, a 20-year-old transient man, and Mary Mace, a 20-year-old Provo woman, were arrested on suspicion of the third-degree felony of abuse or desecration of a dead human body, the class A misdemeanor of obstruction of justice and the class B misdemeanors of use or possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana or spice.
Police responded to a residence on April 13 after hearing there was a dead body hidden in a closet, according to a police report. Police found the body and reportedly determined the dead man had overdosed on drugs and was put in the closet by Juggert and Mace.
Juggert reportedly had confessed to another person that the dead man overdosed on April 7 and that he was scared to report it because they had been using drugs and Juggert was trying to get custody of his son. He reportedly told someone he had reached out to another person who has a “clean-up” crew who would dispose of the body and any evidence.
After Juggert learned someone was coming to the residence, he fled and left the body in the closet, according to the report. The body was found by police before he returned.
Police reportedly found Juggert and Mace on Thursday at a hotel in Provo where they had illegally been staying in a room.
Mace gave police a fake name and lied about Juggert being in the room, according to the report. She wouldn’t allow police into the bathroom and used a phone to record her entering it to show no one was there, according to the report. Police saw the video and saw Juggert hiding in the bathroom.
Meth paraphernalia and marijuana were found in the hotel room, according to the report.
By 2003, 22-year-old Ben Aldana already had a long history of run-ins with police.
Starting in his early teens, a combination of drugs and a bad set of friends had set him on a path that eventually led to him spending years in federal prison on drug-related charges.
In short, he might not be who one would picture as graduating from Brigham Young University’s law school Thursday with a public defender job lined up post-graduation.
Three years of law school is tough for whoever attempts it, but for Aldana, even getting accepted to the program was a victory.
Aldana had applied to multiple law schools after getting his undergrad out of the way at Utah Valley University. Though he was accepted by multiple schools, others wouldn’t even consider him.
“There were some that were like, ‘You’re not coming to our law school,’” Aldana said. “They said, ‘We wouldn’t care if you had (the highest GPA and LSAT scores), you still wouldn’t come to our law school.’”
Before his arrest in 2004 that eventually led to prison, Aldana described himself as just an unusually angry kid.
“I got in fights and damaged property and didn’t really care at all about anybody else,” Aldana said. “I didn’t care about myself. It’s amazing that I’m still alive, honestly, when I think about the things I used to do.”
Aldana said he was participating in all kinds of activities that could have sent him to prison, but ended up getting arrested when he showed up at a friend’s house who was running a meth lab.
They connected Aldana as a supplier of iodine — one of the precursor ingredients of methamphetamine — and a judge in federal court sentenced him to 96 months, or eight years, in federal prison.
Though at first, Aldana said he was angry about being in prison, and blaming other people for what had gotten him there, it ended up being what helped him turn his life around.
Other people who had been convicted of crimes that Aldana had committed — but never been convicted of — were serving 20-year or more sentences, some of them up to life.
“I started to realize, I’m kind of lucky that I got drug into this other problem, and had somebody take me out of all the stuff I was doing and say, ‘You’re gonna sit here for a couple years … and still have an opportunity to do something while you’re still young.’”
A couple years into his prison time, Aldana started realizing that this wasn’t what he wanted for his life.
“It’s crazy that it took a couple years for that to sink in,” he said. “For me to go, ‘Maybe this is my fault, maybe I did cause these problems for myself.’ So I started doing things to make myself a better person, exercising, educational stuff, whatever I could do to occupy myself instead of stew all the time.”
Part of that involved obtaining an apprenticeship at the prison dentist office, which he applied for after noticing other inmates working there when he went to have impacted wisdom teeth removed.
Working as a dental assistant changed him.
“Before that, like I said, I was selfish,” Aldana said. “I had never actively tried to help anybody else — not that I could remember anyway. There, it became part of my job, and the people who were coming in who needed help were people who I lived with and saw all the time.”
The dentist at the prison had little time for anything except the most painful, pressing issues, and relied on Aldana and the other workers to keep the office running efficiently.
“Basically, the better job we did, the more people the dentist could see,” Aldana said. “So we kind of developed a mentality, we are going to do the best we can.”
Aldana developed a sense of empathy for people he had never had before, and when he finished serving his sentence, he knew he wanted to go to school.
When he first started talking about law school, though, only some people were encouraging.
“(Some people) laughed at me,” Aldana said. They were like, you’re a felon, you can’t do that. Nobody’s going to let you do that. It was discouraging, but at the same time, I was like, I want to do this. There were enough encouraging people to keep my hopes alive.”
In 2015, Aldana was accepted to a law school outside of Utah, and had started making plans to move there. He figured he probably hadn’t gotten into BYU anyway, and actually emailed the admissions dean to withdraw his application.
But the school emailed him, asking him to give the school until July to make the final decision. He was interviewed multiple times, and eventually accepted.
“I honestly thought they would reject my application,” Aldana said, “I figured they were thinking what I had heard in words from other places, and they were just polite enough not to say it.”
BYU takes a holistic approach when considering law school applicants, said Gayla Sorenson, the assistant dean of admissions for the BYU law school at the time. Academics are highly considered, as are leadership skills.
She said it’s not very common to see a convicted felon apply to the school, but said the admissions committee was impressed with Aldana’s character, work ethic, and desire to use his experiences to help others.
“He was always very transparent,” Sorenson said. “He affirmatively shared the information about his past and did so in a way that was very mature and very sincere, and he also had demonstrated he had a track record of changed behaviors.”
Aldana acknowledges that it’s a risk for a law school to accept someone with his past, but said he’s glad they took that chance.
“I’m glad they decided to take a chance, and I’m going to do everything I can to make them glad they did,” Aldana said.
Sorenson doesn’t seem to regret making the decision.
“My interactions have underscored all the initial good impressions he made,” Sorenson said. “He is going to use his education to serve others and I’m so proud of him for all he’s accomplished.”
Aldana spent time as a student working at the Utah County public defender’s office, and assuming he passes the bar exam in July, plans to accept a full-time position there.
At first, he wasn’t sure if being a public defender would be the right fit for him, wondering if his past provided too much baggage that would hinder his ability or emotionally affect him in a damaging way.
But after multiple opportunities in New York and Utah serving in a public defender capacity, Aldana said he was forced to look hard at what he really wanted to do.
“There’s nothing else I would want to do,” he said. “I like the work, I like people, I like their stories, I like trying to help them through what’s probably the worst experience they’ve ever had.”