South Salt Lake City Council member censured for social media posts, but he cites corruption

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A South Salt Lake City Council member was officially censured on Wednesday after the council unanimously voted that his social media posts violated the code of conduct.

In a statement released Thursday, the city council announced Paul Sanchez had been suspended from several council activities and communications as well as formally requested to resign. They cited several social media actions that they claim violated the city council’s code of conduct.

Sanchez, however, says that this was not regarding his social media posts but was part of an effort to silence him after he called attention to alleged corruption within the city.

“This to me just validates that what I’ve been saying is true about them,” Sanchez said.

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The restrictions on his participation in the council will continue for 90 days after his last violation. However, the council says if he continues to violate the code of conduct, the restrictions will continue throughout the rest of his term, which concludes at the end of 2027.

The censorship came after Sanchez performed a series of social media actions that the council deemed violations of several rules, including the requirements of treating other members of the council with respect and refraining from posting personal attacks on social media.

A document of the allegations against Sanchez cites a post where he called out Mayor Cherie Woods for allegedly blocking him and then said he had blocked fellow council member Corey Thomas after she allegedly harassed him.

“Corey has been harassing me since the news broke regarding Lt. Jimmie Anderson, my belief is that she has a romantic relationship with Jimmie and or really good drinking buddies. Either way inappropriate. Her behavior online has painted me out to be some kind of woman hater. So yes I told her to f*** off. And I will tell her again f*** off. If my language bothers some of you then don’t watch my content,” the post concluded.

This was not the only case of Sanchez’s online behavior that was called into question by the council.

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A few days prior, the council claims he shared Council Chair Sharla Bynum’s personal contact information online. He also has been accused of using the People of Color Power Coalition Political Action Committee’s social media accounts to “like” his own “inappropriate comments.”

Sanchez said the action of censuring him without a process for appeal was illegal and violated both the Utah Administrative Procedures Act and U.S. Code Title 42 (Section 1983). He said he plans to seek legal action and aims to be reinstated by next Wednesday, or the following council meeting at the latest.

“I am fully committed to prosecuting those responsible to the fullest extent,” he wrote in a statement. “This legal endeavor will also explore all avenues to ensure the removal of city council members who have partaken in or endorsed this breach of legal and ethical standards.”

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