ST. GEORGE, Utah - Jeremy Johnson, the former CEO and founder of I Works who is currently under federal indictment, says Utah's new Attorney General was an active participant in efforts to get money from Johnson allegedly intended to pay-off a high-ranking federal official.
In his first broadcast interview since he went public with allegations against Swallow, Johnson said he felt the Federal Trade Commission was not willing to give his company a fair hearing and he sought advice from his friend, then-Chief Deputy Attorney General Swallow.
He tells Fox 13 Swallow told him his friend - now-deceased Check City founder Richard Rawle - had "invested millions in a contact" close to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Johnson says Swallow spoke with him several times about the price for such assistance, starting at more than one million dollars and negotiating down to $600,000. Even at that, Johnson says he could only scrape up $250,000, which he gave to Richard Rawle.
Over the course of the conversations, Johnson says he told Swallow paying Rawle would take all the money he had for a defense attorney, "and his exact words were 'trust me Jeremy, this is better than an attorney. You won't need an attorney.'"
When the FTC sued I Works, beginning a fast process of shutting down the St. George-based company, Johnson says he went to Swallow and, again, the two talked money.
"I’m like, 'John, I don’t understand,' you know and then the talk started to turn to like, 'You know Jeremy, you knew the deal, it was six hundred and you didn't pay the whole amount.'"
Johnson and Swallow have both told Fox 13 they considered each other friends, and Johnson still says he thinks Swallow is a good man who doesn't deserve all the bad publicity, though that position seems contradictory.
Asked, 'Do you think he [Swallow] shook you down?"
"Yeah, I do now."
John Swallow chose not to comment for this story, except to say through his spokesman Paul Murphy that he has already answered the allegations. He said Johnson's statements are inconsistent with statements he made in a taped conversation obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.
Swallow admits he received $23,500 of the money paid to Richard Rawle, though he says it was for "market research" and "relationship research" he did for Rawle regarding a cement plant in Nevada.