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West Jordan • A convicted fraudster accused in civil court documents of hiring a hit man to murder a hockey coach in 2007 must pay almost $7 million to the widow.
David Novak may have to pay even more when a 3rd District Court judge hears evidence alleging Novak contributed to the death of Kenneth Dolezsar. However, it remains to be seen whether the elusive Novak has the assets to pay anything.
"We're a long way from getting rich on this," plaintiff attorney Bart Bailey said Tuesday. Bailey is representing Dolezsar's widow, Leslie Dee Mower.
Dolezsar was shot to death Nov. 15, 2007, in the parking lot of a Village Inn in Sandy. In 2010, a Salt Lake County jury convicted Eugene Christopher Wright of being the triggerman.
At trial, defense attorneys denied Wright's involvement and pointed the finger at Novak, citing a questionable business deal in which Dolezsar paid Novak $1.9 million to finance a documentary if Novak helped obtain a commutation for Mower. Mower had earlier been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for tax fraud.
Mower's civil suit, filed in November 2010, accuses Novak of hiring Wright to kill Dolezsar. Novak, however, has never been charged with any crimes connected to Dolezsar's death.
At Wright's trial, the defense noted that after Dolezsar was killed, Novak who was a neighbor of Wright's disposed of his Salt Lake business assets and moved from Utah.
Documents filed by Mower's attorneys suggest Novak is living in Portland in a condominium in his name. Bailey said Novak who has not responded to the lawsuit has been served via a legal notice published in an Oregon newspaper.
Judge Andrew Stone, with an empty defense table to his right, on Tuesday agreed to a default judgment against Novak.
Stone, in an order expected to be signed next week, said Novak should pay $1.975 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages to settle claims of breach of contract and fraud.
Mower is also suing Novak for wrongful death. But Bailey said he and other plaintiff attorneys still need to present evidence of that part of their lawsuit to Stone.
Novak is an ex-con who was convicted in 1996 of mail fraud and sending false distress signals.
A Sandy police officer testified at Wright's trial that Novak was sent to prison for faking his death in a plane crash. News stories, however, say Novak didn't fake his death, but ditched the plane because it needed a new engine, then filed a false insurance claim.
Novak spent a year in a Florida prison camp. He wrote a book about his time there and started a consulting firm for white-collar criminals on their way to prison.
As for the man convicted …
Eugene Christopher Wright was convicted of first-degree felony murder and aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Wright, 36, will appear at his first parole hearing in August 2031.