Child of reporter faces felony charge for allegedly slapping Orem’s mayor
Sep 25, 2023, 3:12 PM | Updated: 3:24 pm
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
OREM — The child of a newspaper reporter accused of slapping Orem’s mayor following a City Council meeting during which the mayor disparaged the reporter is now facing a felony charge.
Linnea Geraldine Pugmire, 31, of Orem, was charged Monday in 4th District Court with threatening an elected official and causing injury, a third-degree felony; spitting in a person’s face, a class A misdemeanor; assault and propelling a bodily substance, class B misdemeanors; and disorderly conduct, an infraction.
On Sept. 19, Orem Mayor David Young was standing with others outside City Hall following a council meeting when Pugmire “approached the group in a confrontational manner, punched or slapped the mayor and a woman in the group, spit on the mayor’s face, and spit on the woman’s arm,” according to charging documents.
Police say Pugmire also told the mayor he “would get everything that was coming to him,” and that Pugmire believes Young and the City Council are “destroying the city.”
“How dare you? … Do you know what you just did tonight?” Pugmire can be heard saying to the mayor in witness video provided to KSL.com. Pugmire was visibly upset and claimed the mayor knew who they were, to which, he said, “I’m sick of being pushed around by your mother.”
“You’re disgusting,” Young said.
Pugmire’s mother is a reporter at the Daily Herald. Prior to the confrontation outside City Hall, Young spent 20 minutes at the end of the council meeting criticizing what he believed was unfair coverage of himself and the city in articles mainly written by Genelle Pugmire. He complained about headlines, the placement of stories, as well as questioning the news value and reporting in “off the rails articles.”
Young took particular issue about a recent story regarding a $1 million fraud lawsuit in Alabama the mayor was named in last year.
Young, his real estate company Torch13 LLC and his son were ordered by an Alabama judge to pay more than $1 million for fraudulent business loans in 2022. The judge called the Orem mayor “a linchpin to this fraud” and said both Young and his son were “extremely lacking in credibility.”
Young later sued his former daughter-in-law and an Alabama man for what he claims was an illegal scheme designed to defraud him and his real estate company.
During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the mayor again said he did nothing wrong, was not involved in the Alabama fraud case and called it a dispute between his son and his son’s friend. The mayor said he has appealed the $1 million judgment to the Alabama Supreme Court, calling it a “desperate money grab that I will continue to defend myself against.”
In a statement released the day after the confrontation, Young said, “My intention in bringing to light the long-standing issues with the Daily Herald’s reporting was to encourage people to rise above the divisiveness and misinformation that is overshadowing the amazing work of the City Council. As a community, we are better than this and I hope this incident will further serve as a wake-up call for the need for more responsible journalism and for each of us to work together with greater civility and unity.”