OGDEN -- Former Utah House Majority Leader Kevin Garn is listed as a creditor in the bankruptcy filing last week of a woman he paid to keep silent about a nude hot-tubbing incident more than two decades ago, when she was 15.
Court documents filed Friday indicate Cheryl Ann Maher, of Derry, N.H., owes Garn, who lives in Layton, $153,300 because she defaulted on a 2002 contract.
Maher said Monday she listed Garn as a creditor in her Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition as a precaution to prevent him from demanding repayment of hush money in the 1985 hot tub incident.
"I filed ... because I don't have the money to repay him," she said in a phone interview, adding that Garn has not demanded reimbursement. "I'm covering my butt."
Maher said Garn paid her a lump sum of $150,000 in 2002 as well as $3,300 between 1986 and 2008.
"It was hush money, absolutely," she said. "He gave me money to keep me happy."
Maher said Garn initially wanted to give her only $20,000 to keep quiet, but her sister and ex-husband persuaded him to pay more.
When asked Monday by a Standard-Examiner reporter if he would contest Maher's claim that the $153,300 payment is a debt that should be discharged through the bankruptcy, Garn launched into a profanity-laced tirade.
"Who really cares?" he responded, without saying whether he would pursue the claim or let it pass.
Maher said in exchange for money from Garn, she signed a confidentiality agreement in 2002 promising not to talk publicly about the hot-tub incident that occurred when he was 28 and she was 15.
At the time of the incident, Maher was working at Pegasus Records, a company owned by Garn.
Maher said she breached her confidentiality agreement with Garn in March when she contacted several media outlets about the hot-tub incident.
"This isn't about money," she said. "This is about the truth. It's about helping others."
Maher said she currently works as a counselor and helps people struggling with personal problems.
"I counsel people how to stay sober and help them work on their recovery and have a life second to none ... help them get into the right therapy," she said.
According to bankruptcy documents, Maher's income is $1,775 a month while her debts total $310,651. Garn is listed as her largest creditor.
In a rare display, Garn, on the final night of the 2010 legislative session, admitted from the floor of the Utah House of Representatives to paying Maher hush money and then apologized to fellow lawmakers.
"While this payment felt like extortion, I also felt like I should take her word that the money would help her heal. She agreed to keep this 25-year-old incident confidential. Now that this issue is coming up again, it is apparent to me that this payment was also a mistake," Garn told legislators at the time. "I also wish to publicly apologize to this young lady for this incident. And I apologize to you, my colleagues, for any shame this brings to the Utah State Legislature. I have tried my best to serve my constituents in a way that brings honor to them and makes this great state better than the way I found it. I hope to continue to do that."
Garn resigned from the Legislature two days later.
Maher said she's certain Garn is sorry about the hot-tub incident.
"I don't have a doubt in my mind that he is beating himself up because he believes he's bad," Maher said, adding she's writing a book about her experiences with Garn.