Steve Wynn says Las Vegas should get ready for Raiders

Billionaire Steve Wynn quietly has been taking on a power-broker role to help bring the NFL to Las Vegas.

Addressing his involvement for the first time during a red carpet event Friday, Wynn revealed he’s met with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and two influential NFL owners, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and Stan Kroenke, who recently moved his St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles.

Wynn said Las Vegas has to be ready if the opportunity presents itself.

“If the NFL says, ‘If you want to move to Las Vegas, Raiders, you can,’ then we’ve got to spring into action and we’ve got to come up with a program.

“I just thought it would be a great thing for the town, don’t you agree?”

Word of Wynn’s interest recently surfaced. At a Thursday news conference at UNLV, Davis confirmed he met with Wynn. Rob Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp., credited Wynn with initiating the domed stadium conversation in a meeting with Adelson and Goldstein about three or four years ago.

“This very idea came out of his mouth,” Goldstein said at the news conference after he and Davis appeared before the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.

Las Vegas Sands operates Adelson’s empire of hotel-casinos. Sands is a partner with Ed Roski’s Majestic Reality in pledging private financing for a proposed $1.4 billion domed stadium in the Strip resort corridor.

Davis on Thursday told the SNTIC, an advisory panel appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, that he would provide $500 million toward the construction of the 65,000-seat stadium if a public-private financing plan is approved by the Legislature.

I asked Wynn if he was partnering with Adelson.

“Well,” said Wynn, “Sheldon and I are both very strong supporters of it, and how it plays out is something we’ve got to see.

“We haven’t been down to the nitty gritty of it because, first of all, do the owners believe this is OK?” he added. “Their attitude toward the relationship with sports and gaming has changed. They’re having two games in London, where the entire audience can bet play by play, and the NFL is going to London and the audience is participating in that.

“So there’s been a sea change in the NFL’s attitude, at least based upon the London games,” Wynn continued. “It’s not hypocritical. I think they’re in a state of change. How that plays out with us is interesting.”

Wynn emphasized that “the one thing that Las Vegas should have in its arsenal that’s missing is a great stadium and an NFL team,” he said.

Davis “is dying to do it. He came to see me and Sheldon (Adelson). He made the rounds. He wanted to make sure there was local support.”

“Now financing these puppies is no small thing. How that plays out. … I went to dinner last week with Jerry Jones and Stan Kroenke and got into the conversation how Jerry did Cowboys [AT&T] Stadium.

“It’s a lamination of several different types of layers of financing,” Wynn said, “and we’re going to have to focus on that if there’s local support. Let me put it this way: If there’s a will, there’s a way.

“The question is if you can get 24 of 32 owners to agree,” Wynn said of the league support required to relocate an NFL franchise. “So there’s two strategies here: to get the others to think it’s OK, at least 24 out of 32, and secondly develop a strategy for financing,” he said.

 

SOURCE: http://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/columns-blogs/norm-clarke/steve-wynn-says-las-vegas-should-get-ready-raiders

Local NBC Channel 3 broadcasts fabricated Kirstin Lobato hit story

Kirstin Blaise LobatoNBC Channel 3 (KSNV-TV) in Las Vegas broadcast Death in the Desert during its 11 o’clock news on February 29, 2016. Reporter Marie Mortera’s story was about the Kirstin Blaise Lobato case.
Ms. Lobato was convicted in October 2006 of charges related to the July 8, 2001 homicide of Duran Bailey in the trash enclosure for a west Las Vegas bank. Ms. Lobato asserts she is factually innocent, in her habeas corpus petition that is being reviewed by the Nevada Supreme Court.
There are many gravely serious problems with Mortera’s story. Those problems include:
—She fabricated non-existent “evidence” against Ms. Lobato in at least three instances;
—She made a number of misleading and/or deceptive statements;
—She spliced together audio from different parts of Ms. Lobato’s police statement to make them appear contiguous;
—She completely disregarded Ms. Lobato’s new evidence supporting her factual innocence; and,
—She neither reported on, nor questioned, Ms. Lobato’s prosecutor, William Kephart, during his interview relating to the evidence he has known about for more than 14 years, regarding Ms. Lobato’s innocence and his criminal conduct and extensive prosecutor misconduct detailed in Ms. Lobato’s petition. (Kephart is currently an Eighth Judicial [Clark County] District Court Judge.)
More than two weeks before Mortera’s story was broadcast, the Las Vegas Tribune reported in its Feb. 12-18, 2016 issue that the Clark County DA’s Office and Metro PD have known since 2001 that Ms. Lobato was not guilty of Bailey’s homicide.
Ms. Lobato gave an audio-recorded police statement at the time of her arrest. She described that prior to mid-June 2001 she used her pocketknife to fend off an attempted rape at a Budget Suites Hotel on Boulder Highway in east Las Vegas.
The following are eleven “problems” with Mortera’s story, in the order they were broadcast. The “Problem” following each excerpt summarizes what is wrong with Mortera’s commentary or Kephart’s statement.
1. Lobato statement: “I got out of my car, and he came out of nowhere and grabbed me from behind.”
Mortera commentary: “The recording is of then-18-year-old Kirstin Blaise Lobato describing to Metro investigators how a methamphetamine fueled trip to Las Vegas ended in mayhem.”
Problem: Misleading and deceptive. There is no evidence that methamphetamine had anything to do with the Budget Suites Hotel assault, or that Ms. Lobato was on a “trip to Las Vegas” when it occurred.
2. Lobato statement: “He came out of nowhere and grabbed me from behind. I cut his penis, I remember that.”
Problem: Deceptive. Viewers weren’t informed Ms. Lobato’s two sentences were spliced from different parts of her audio statement to make it appear they were together.
3. Lobato statement: “He was …he was crying.”
Mortera commentary: “‘He’ was Duran Bailey, a homeless man, brutally killed.” Problem: Complete fabrication. No evidence in Ms. Lobato’s statement or presented at trial stated that Bailey was the man who assaulted her at the Budget Suites Hotel.
4. Mortera commentary: “Lobato told police Bailey tried to sexually assault her near Boulder Highway in 2001, and to defend herself she pulled out a knife and cut him in the groin.”
Problem: Complete fabrication. Lobato did not tell police Bailey was her assailant; he didn’t physically match the description of her assailant, and she did not recognize Bailey when she was shown a photo of him.
5. Kephart interview: “I am given a task to present evidence that we have, uh, there, there certainly is no evidence that was, you know, uh, manufactured or anything like that. We just present what we have to the jury, and give the jury an opportunity to decide.”
Problem: False statements. Kephart’s lack of honesty could have been exposed by Mortera’s confronting him with the evidence in Ms. Lobato’s habeas petition, showing that the trial transcript documents Kephart used misstated evidence and used manufactured non-existent “evidence” during his opening statements and rebuttal argument to the jury.
Given the gravitas of Kephart’s position as the spokesperson for the State, the jury would be expected to rely on his falsehoods as true.
6. Mortera commentary: “Lobato’s tearful words were described as a confession.” Problem: Complete fabrication. Ms. Lobato’s statement was not “described as a confession” during Kephart’s opening statement.
ADA Sandra DiGiacomo’s closing argument; Kephart’s rebuttal argument; There was no testimony during her trial
that it was a confession.
7. Mortera commentary: “[Michelle] Ravell is Lobato’s surrogate mother and believes Kirstin was back in her home town at the time of Bailey’s killing, not in Las Vegas.”
Problem: Misleading and deceptive. It is not a partisan belief by Ravell that Ms. Lobato was “not in Las Vegas” when Bailey died. Ms. Lobato’s habeas petition includes new forensic evidence unrebutted by the State that Bailey died after 8 p.m. on July 8, 2001, a time when the State has publicly admitted she was in Panaca.
8. Mortera commentary: “So what could get Lobato, now in her 30s, out of prison? Proof of a different killer.”
Problem: Misleading and deceptive. Mortera doesn’t inform viewers that Ms. Lobato’s habeas case pending before the Nevada Supreme Court is seeking a new trial or dismissal of her charges. Her petition includes new forensic evidence proving it is physically impossible for her to have committed Bailey’s homicide.
Mortera’s statement is factually inaccurate because the actual perpetrator was identified in only 9 out of 300 known exoneration s in the U.S. in 2015 — 3 percent of cases.
9. Mortera commentary: “After a decade of courtroom motions, arguments, denials, reversals, and appeals, an offer from the Innocence Project to test DNA from the crime scene, along with a public petition demanding the use of DNA technology, is raising hope for freedom.”
Problem: Misleading and factually incomplete. The Innocence Project offered to pay for DNA testing more than five years ago. Judge Vega sided with the DA Office’s vigorous opposition, and denied Ms. Lobato’s petition for DNA testing in July 2011 — more than four years ago. The change.org petition that DA Steven Wolfson ignored was submitted to him almost three years ago in May 2013.
10. Kephart interview: “I stand behind what we did, um, I have, I have no qualms about what happened, and, and how we prosecuted this matter. I believe it’s completely, uh, justice.”
Problem: Deceptive and misleading. Ms. Mortera didn’t confront Kephart with the incidents documented in Ms. Lobato’s habeas petition of his alleged criminal conduct, his lying to Judge Vega, his misstating of evidence and manufacturing of non-existent “evidence” for the jury, and his serial misconduct that Ms. Lobato asserts deprived her of a fair trial.
11. Mortera commentary: “Lobato, her family, and supporters believe otherwise. They say DNA testing of evidence from the scene, such as a piece of gum that had blood on it, could lead investigators to someone else. All this as Lobato’s appeal moves its way through the courts.”
Problem: Deceptive and misleading. There is no basis in reality for Mortera to create the impression that Ms. Lobato is depending on DNA testing for her exoneration. Regarding “Lobato’s appeal,” Mortera’s story doesn’t make a single mention of Ms. Lobato’s habeas petition pending in the Nevada Supreme Court, which details why she asserts she hasn’t received “justice.” Mortera’s story could have had substance by reporting that Ms. Lobato’s petition includes: new evidence by more than two dozen witnesses supporting Ms. Lobato’s factual innocence; exculpatory evidence Kephart concealed from her during her trial; ineffective assistance of her trial and appellate lawyers, and it documents more than 160 instances of prosecutorial misconduct by Kephart during her trial.
The foregoing starkly demonstrates that Marie Mortera had scant regard for reporting the truth in Death in the Desert. Mortera’s fabrications have earned her the distinction of standing alongside Stephen Glass who produced stories with fabrications at the New Republic, and Jayson Blair who produced stories with fabrications at The New York Times.
Both Glass and Blair were terminated for their conduct. NBC Channel 3 (KSNV-TV) assisted Mortera by choosing to broadcast a story so divorced from the truth, that not even a gossip tabloid like the National Enquirer would have published it in print.
*****
Hans Sherrer is President of the Justice Institute based in Seattle, Washington that conducted a post-conviction investigation of Ms. Lobato’s case, and promotes awareness of wrongful convictions. Its website is, www.justicedenied.org.

Nevada legislators stand atop soapbox as Bundy backers

The Nevada legislators were vocal members of a group of approximately 100 that assembled to support Bundy and his fellow defendants, who face criminal charges after their participation in a 2014 standoff with the Bureau of Land Management. An increased police presence was noted, but officers kept an extremely low profile.

It was the kind of unthreatening protest that, in retrospect, Bundy may wish had taken place back when ham-handed BLM contractors unsuccessfully tried to round up his herd.

The challenge for legislators Shelton and Moore is whether they fully appreciate their responsibilities as public officials when it comes to discussing such volatile issues as the Bunkerville standoff and the takeover of an Oregon federal wildlife refuge in January that resulted in the shooting death of reactionary Arizona rancher Robert LaVoy Finicum. The politicians also were on hand in the final days of the Oregon standoff.

Here are two excerpts from their Thursday pronouncements:

“A man was murdered as well, Mr. Finicum, at the hands of the FBI, the Oregon State Police, and others,” said Moore, who often mentions his military service. “Contractors out of Idaho Falls, Blackstone I believe. It’s time that the federal government wakes up, responds to the needs of the people instead of overrunning our citizens. I did not fight in combat so that my government can murder citizens, treat us like dogs, and run us like cattle into jail, holding us in cages, like animals.

“… Our political prisoners must be freed. They are being held unconstitutionally.”

Shelton said, “God is on our side. This country was founded on God’s principles. And we have innocent until proven guilty. And we have to remember that. We have prisoners, in jail right now who are innocent and they’re being held without bond.”

Shelton, who often mentions God and prayer in her public speeches, said she’s heard stories of cruelty toward the defendants, including them being “chained to a wall for hours” and being denied phone access.

“You have rapists and murderers being treated better than our political prisoners,” Shelton said. “And for what? For standing up for liberties and our freedoms. And we need to stand behind them.”

The voices of protest in the Bundy case figure to remain strong, at least as long as that megaphone holds out.

HOOP HYPE: Look no further than this week’s Mountain West basketball tournament for a sign of how Las Vegas can benefit from sporting events even without its own professional franchise.

Take The Mirage, for instance. This week it looks a lot like the rooting section for the University of New Mexico. The Lobos’ boosters are headquartered there, and there’s even a Lobo Lounge near the sports book. There are pep rallies, giveaways, and drink specials.

More than 160,000 fans are expected to converge on the Mountain West, WCC, and Pac-12 tournaments, including diehards and repeats with 23,000 or so coming from outside Southern Nevada, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Senior Director of Communications Jeremy Handel says. That translates into approximately $22 million in direct spending with a total economic impact of $36 million.

That’s just the college hoops. Once the NCAA Tournament cranks up, Las Vegas reminds the gambling world that it’s a sports betting mecca.

ON THE BOULEVARD: If someone hands you a leaflet on the Boulevard, it’s likely to be a card advertising outcall “girls to your room” or “exotic entertainment.” On Thursday, at least one protestor at the courthouse was issuing a copy of something called “The Constitution of the United States.” … Former Assemblyman Pat Hickey, the Republican conservatives love to hate, on Wednesday filed to retain his seat on the State Board of Education, a position to which he was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval in October.

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to jsmith@reviewjournal.com

Dozens of demonstrators stood in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Las Vegas this morning to support rancher Cliven Bundy, who is facing charges related to a 2014 armed standoff with federal authorities.

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Carol Bundy, wife of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas Thursday, March 10, 2016. Bundy is facing charges relating to an armed ranching standoff against Bureau of Land Management agents in April 2014.

Dozens of demonstrators stood in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Las Vegas this morning to support rancher Cliven Bundy, who is facing charges related to a 2014 armed standoff with federal authorities.
SOURCE: http://lasvegassun.com/news/2016/mar/10/armed-demonstrators-expected-for-cliven-bundy-cour/

web1_BUNDYPROTEST4.jpgThe demonstration featured a concentration of members of the Guardians of the Oath movement, a radical, anti-government spin-off of the Oath Keeper movement, known for disobeying laws members don’t believe fall under the U.S. Constitution.

Also present at the rally were members of the Three Percenters group, a militant organization that pledges to uphold the U.S. Constitution using force, if necessary. The group’s name comes from an estimated 3 percent of the population that fought in the American Revolution.

“Obviously the second revolution is on the way,” said Bobby Florentz, 64, a self-proclaimed member of both movements.

web1_BUNDY-MARCH-11-16bt04.jpgFlorentz, waving a sign urging passer us to “save the patriots from the oathbreakers,” said the federal government was illegally charging Cliven Bundy for trespassing on land it doesn’t actually own.

“Bottom line is it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to own land,” he said. “So how can they charge Cliven Bundy for being on their land?”

Waving the Gadsden flag, named after American Revolution Gen. Christopher Gasden and often associated with libertarian and tea party groups, self-proclaimed patriot Steve Adams, 36, of North Las Vegas said the federal government has gone too far in prosecuting “innocent patriots.”

“A rattlesnake doesn’t bother anyone unless you step on it,” Adams said, referring to the design on the flag, which features a coiled snake. “I think the government is starting to step too much on American ranchers.”

A message from Arden Bundy

LeVoy Finnicum’s daughter Thara Tenney, 32, and her younger sister stood in front of the courthouse and with megaphones and sang an original song met by loud cheering. “Are you, are you, going to stand with me?,” they sang.

Finnicum was shot to death by authorities in January when a vehicle was stopped after leaving a wildlife refuge in Oregon taken over by armed protesters. Officials said authorities opened fire after he reached for a weapon.

Cliven Bundy’s wife, Carol Bundy, meanwhile, held a sign that said, “It’s Simple: The Land Belongs To The People.” She said her husband is being treated like he’s already been convicted and sentenced.

The government is treating him like a “mass murderer” when he’s only a father, a husband and a grandfather, she said. She expects today’s hearing will be “short and, I’m sure, sweet.”

“This isn’t a fight for the Bundys,” she said. “It’s a fight for we, the American people.”

11:08 a.m. — About an hour into the demonstration, Metro Lt. Reggie Rader said there have been no confrontations among law enforcement and the roughly 50 protesters on hand.

“It’s just a normal day; we have no issues with this. We’re just here to make sure everyone remains peaceful,” Rader said.

Rader, who was with four other Metro officers outside the federal courthouse, said protests happen frequently and a small police presence is standard for such events.

“Usually these folks are very peaceful and respectful,” he said.

Leonard Siebert showed up to support the Bundy family. “That was a great day for America,” he said of the day of the standoff, because patriots stood up to the Bureau of Land Management and the government.

Siebert, who said he is part of the Oath Keepers, a patriot group that vows to defend the Constitution, and the Three Percenters, a patriot group dedicated to protecting constitutional rights, said he anticipated a peaceful demonstration.

“We’re not here to riot. We’re not here to complain. We’re out here to voice as we can with the First Amendment.”

Brian Enright of Southern California arrived at the courthouse with his wife, daughter and their dog.

He carried an American flag and said he was here to support Bundy and the patriot movement. He said the federal government is “out of control” when it comes to “state matters.”

He said he is not a member of any movement.

10:45 a.m.

Demonstrators carried anti-Bureau of Land Management signs and U.S. and Gadsden flags, but no guns were spotted. Law enforcement officials had anticipated demonstrators would openly carry guns.

The Gadsden flag, designed during the American revolution, depicts a rattlesnake and the words “Don’t tread of me.” It has been used more recently as a symbol of American patriotism and disagreement with the government.

Interactions between police ad protestors, meanwhile, appeared to be polite and friendly.

Randy Peck, 54, of Las Vegas held a sign reading, “BLM: Give Up Your Land, Give Up Your FREEDOM.”

He said he belongs to the patriot movement and is a Bundy supporter. He described Bundy as a “political prisoner.”

Peck said he came out to protest the overreach of the U.S. government and that he hopes Bundy is released.

Armed demonstrators expected for Cliven Bundy hearing

Demonstrators, some of them openly carrying guns, are expected outside the federal courthouse in Las Vegas today as Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy faces a hearing on charges related to a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents.

Bundy’s wife and other family members and friends said they want to show they’re keeping up their fight against the federal government.

“We’re a strong family and we stand together,” family matriarch Carol Bundy said. “I want the world to see that.”

Nevada allows the open-carrying of guns, and Metro Police and the U.S. Marshals Service said they expect some protesters will be armed but will remain peaceful.

“Our mission is to protect people’s right to peacefully assemble and protest,” Metro Officer Larry Hadfield said. “One’s position does not matter. We are happy to accommodate them.”

On April 12, 2014, an estimated 400 people engaged in an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management as authorities attempted to round up and impound Bundy’s cattle over nonpayment of grazing fees on public land. Authorities eventually backed down.

The dispute dates to 1993, and BLM officials estimated two years ago that Bundy owed more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.

Bundy heads a list of 19 people — including four Bundy sons — accused of leading the standoff near his ranch in Bunkerville.

Bundy was arrested Feb. 10 in Oregon as he arrived at Portland International Airport to visit two sons jailed on charges that they led a 41-day armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge.

He faces 16 charges, including conspiracy, assault, obstruction and threatening a federal officer. Convictions could result in penalties up to life in prison.

While Bundy’s hearing isn’t set to begin until 2 p.m., the demonstration, organized via the Bundy ranch Facebook and Twitter accounts, is set for 10 a.m. outside the downtown Las Vegas courthouse at 333 Las Vegas Blvd.

The social media accounts said demonstrators planned on “filling the sidewalks” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. before “filling the courtroom.” The posts, first reported Monday, were deleted from the accounts as of Wednesday night.

Defense lawyer Brian Bloomfield was sentenced Monday to serve 90 days in the Clark County Detention Center for his role in defrauding the court system.

Defense lawyer Brian Bloomfield was sentenced Monday to serve 90 days in the Clark County Detention Center for his role in defrauding the court system.

After hearing a lengthy appeal for leniency from Bloomfield, District Judge Jessie Walsh also ordered him to serve 19 to 48 months in prison but suspended the sentence and placed him on five years probation.

Bloomfield, 40, was handcuffed in court and hauled away by marshals after the sentencing.

Chief District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo sought lengthy prison time, arguing the entire legal community was harmed because of Bloomfield’s actions in the courthouse scheme.

But Walsh appeared more swayed by Bloomfield, who apologized and asked for another chance to become a productive member of the community.

“I’ve lost everything in my life, your honor, and I am humbled,” Bloomfield said. “I pray very hard on this knowing I’m going to have to meet my maker.”

More: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/defense-lawyer-gets-90-days-behind-bars-courthouse-fraud

All Las Vegas police officers will wear body cams in near future, panel says

It’s only a matter of time before all uniformed Las Vegas police officers are equipped with body-worn cameras.

That was the consensus of police and academic representatives who participated in a panel discussion Saturday at the University of Phoenix campus.

The Metropolitan Police Department requires body cams for all new recruits, who wear slightly more than half of the 500 or so body cams in use in the field today. Department veterans are given the option of wearing one, but Metro’s policies don’t require them across the board.

Las Vegas police Sgt. Peter Ferranti, a supervisor in the department’s video unit, said the Legislature sent a strong message that a statewide mandate may be coming down the road when it passed a law in 2015 requiring Nevada police agencies to start preparing policies for body cams.

And in recent months, Ferranti has seen officers in specialty units volunteering to wear the cameras. Requests came from the SWAT unit in December and from the K-9 unit in February.

“That’s a relatively new thing,” he said.

Daniel Barry, a retired Las Vegas police officer and the chairman of the University of Phoenix College of Security and Criminal Justice, compared body-worn cameras to the rise of DNA testing in the 1990s: Both technologies were policing game-changers.

Although the department said its body cam policies were crafted based on national best practices, speakers pointed to a few challenges that will need to be confronted as the technology evolves.

Storage for the videos is demanding and costly: With more than 500 units in use, the department has about 300,000 videos stored on the Internet. Of those, 90,000 are marked for long-term storage. Most videos are automatically deleted after 45 days.

And preparing the footage for release is labor-intensive: Thirteen requests have been made to the department for body cam footage in the past six months. About half of them had to be dismissed because there was no footage for the incidents in question. Others couldn’t be released because of pending criminal cases, and one had been automatically deleted, Ferranti said.

The department released body cam footage in response to a request for the first time Thursday. It took eight hours to redact the footage to make sure that personal details — things like addresses and social security numbers — weren’t released as well.

UNLV criminal justice researcher William Sousa said that there is a difference between transparency and trust. Sousa completed a study of public perceptions about body cams last year and found that the public emphatically supports the adoption of body cams but has mixed feelings about public dissemination and being filmed by the police.

Some of the roughly three dozen attendees at the discussion wondered if having all police interactions filmed framed those interactions from a place of mistrust from the beginning. Others asked about whether it was appropriate for the police to be policing themselves.

“The camera gives us more information, but it doesn’t have all the answers,” Sousa said.

Sousa is also working on a pilot study of the department’s initial rollout of body cams. That study should be completed in the next few months.

Body-worn cameras are a blessing for police officers, Ferranti said. Footage from body cams has been used to exonerate 90 Las Vegas police officers accused of misconduct to date.

The next University of Pheonix criminal justice panel will discuss mental health issues in policing and probably will be held in May, Barry said. The panels are open to the public.

Contact Wesley Juhl at wjuhl@reviewjournal.com and 702-383-0391. Find him on Twitter: @WesJuhl

What’s it like to be a stripper in Las Vegas?

 

It doesn’t take a spotlight for 23-year-old exotic dancer Daisy to light up. On the stages of Sapphire Gentleman’s Club and on wooden dance floors of bars across Las Vegas, a flower blooms in a dark room over and over again.

Ten-gallon hats, shiny belt buckles and Daisy Dukes couldn’t distract from the professional stripper’s green eyes and bouncing blonde ponytail as she added in extra turns to a line dance during a February “Ladies’ Night” at Revolver Saloon.

Sliding, stepping and spinning, Daisy led the pack of about 50 other dancers, narrowly missing a man wearing a “show me your kitties” shirt.vegas strip bus

She didn’t show anything but her smile that night.

But on Friday and Saturday nights, that’s not the case inside Sapphire, located at 3025 South Industrial Road.

One year ago, she made the decision to start taking her clothes off for money.

“It’s opened a lot up for me,” she said of that choice. And to start at the largest gentleman’s club in the world — “go big or go home,” she said.

Her former roommate suggested the job choice to her in 2014, and she only had to think about it briefly after learning one girl made $10,000 in a single night.

“I couldn’t do it. Could I?” she recalled thinking about the choice, putting her index finger over her lips, holding her chin with her fist. The next thing she knew, she was buying “stripper shoes” and lacing up her lingerie for an audition.

It wasn’t much of an audition, Daisy recalled. She was asked to turn and face one way, then another in an evaluation. There was no dancing or formal interview.

She filled out new-hire paperwork that day and began working.

“It is easy,” she said. “They always need girls.”

She could do it, and she has no regrets. She says her two-day-a-week job has allowed her more freedom in the past 12 months than she’s ever had.

Pointing to tens of printed out pictures on the wall of her country-chic bedroom, she said hiking trips, a vacation to New Orleans and nights out with friends were representative of that freedom.

Judging by the career choice, photos of hands holding plastic cups or the beer pong table in the living room of the house she shares with three others, it’d be easy to assume Daisy’s life is one big party.

It would also be wrong.

At quarter to 11 a.m., the tattoo-covered athlete is upstairs at her local gym, warming up for one of six three-hour workouts she’ll complete by the week’s end.

Although she won’t step into the strip club, it’s hardly a day off.

“There’s no wrong way to look,” Daisy said of a strippers’ body. After overcoming an eating disorder and two failed relationships, though, a 21-year-old Daisy decided to get in shape, “instead of just being thin.”

Unlike most people who go to the gym, Daisy will use her daily-toned body to get paid.

The most she’s ever made in one night doing just that? About $3,600, she says.

“That’s considered low by a lot of girls,” she explained. So, she budgets.

A few grand in one night may seem like a lot to the average person, but Daisy lives modestly by renting a room from a friend for $400 a month and by paying for her late-90s sedan in-full with cash.

“I like it better that way,” she said. “I’m not going in chasing my money every single night.”

Read more: http://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/clubs/what-s-it-be-stripper-las-vegas

District Court Judge Eric Johnson says a campaign sign near Lake Mead and Decatur should be replaced soon after it was vandalized with a Swastika and the numbers 666, which typically represent the devil.

District Court Judge Eric Johnson says a campaign sign near Lake Mead and Decatur should be replaced soon after it was vandalized with a Swastika and the numbers 666, which typically represent the devil.

Johnson hopes this is just an act of vandalism and nothing more.

“My guess is it’s just random, however, when I was chief of the organized crime strike force for the U.S. Attorney’s office, we prosecuted white supremacist prison gang the Aryan warriors,” Johnson said.

The judge says the signs are not cheap to purchase, especially the large ones like the one hit by vandals.

Metro tells News 3 that if reported, the crime would be considered destruction of property and possibly investigated as a hate crime because of the symbol involved.

Johnson says this isn’t the first time vandals hit his signs. According to the judge, last election season someone cut his head off a similar sign.

The way he sees it, this is merely a malicious act of destroying property.

“Almost every judicial candidate is going to tell you they’ve had signs where mustaches or horns were drawn on their pictures. Not something you’re happy about because there is a cost to it and it’s vandalizing your property, but it is just a reality,” Johnson said.

Johnson tells News 3 that when most campaigns put signs up they typically have extra on standby because they know these are often targeted for vandalism.

The vandalized sign should be replaced within the next few days.

FUCK THE DA: Defense lawyers are not totally happy with the filming of “Las Vegas D.A.”

As video cameras float from courtroom to courtroom, defense attorneys are growing more concerned about the crew of “Las Vegas D.A.” — a “docudrama” about the Clark County District Attorney’s Office — recording moments they shouldn’t.

The reality TV show, with six episodes expected to air later this year on the Investigation Discovery cable channel, “follows District Attorney Steve Wolfson and his powerhouse team in real time, from assessing the scene of the crime to chasing the conviction in the courtroom,” according to its publicist.

For months the film crew, working from its own office space in the District Attorney’s suite on the third floor of the Regional Justice Center, has followed cases through the system.

Not everyone is ready for their closeup.

Defense attorneys have formally complained in court papers about the intrusion of cameras and microphones, saying conversations between lawyers and defendants were improperly recorded.

 

Read more here: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/court-papers-defense-lawyers-question-recordings-las-vegas-da

A Clark County grand jury Tuesday began hearing evidence against longtime Republican activist Tony Dane in an alleged extortion plot against a Nevada assemblyman.

A Clark County grand jury Tuesday began hearing evidence against longtime Republican activist Tony Dane in an alleged extortion plot against a Nevada assemblyman.

Chief Deputy District Attorney J.P. Raman and Las Vegas police Detective William Schoen, the lead investigator in the case, showed up outside the grand jury room shortly before 1:30 p.m.

Schoen, a member of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Section, was the lone witness.

Other witnesses — including the alleged victim of the scheme, Assemblyman Chris Edwards, R-Las Vegas — are expected to be called to the grand jury over the next several weeks.

Attorney David Otto, who represents Dane, said his client plans to fight any indictment.

“It won’t surprise me if the grand jury indicts Mr. Dane only because they’ll do anything the prosecutor tells them to do,” Otto said. “The burden of proof is extremely low in a grand jury. If a true bill comes, we will defend the case on the facts and the evidence, and I believe we will prevail.”

Read more: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/grand-jury-hears-evidence-alleged-political-extortion-plot

Building Case In 2014 Cliven Bundy Nevada Standoff Is Complex and U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden in Las Vegas isn’t saying why it took so long to bring charges

Dan Bogdon

Daniel G. Bogden 

Rancher Cliven Bundy poses at his home in Bunkerville, Nevada

Cliven Bundy

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Cliven Bundy is due to face a federal judge in Oregon this week over charges stemming from a 2014 armed standoff with federal officials rounding up cattle near his Nevada ranch.

U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden in Las Vegas isn’t saying why it took so long to bring charges.

But a law professor and a former U.S. attorney say it appears prosecutors are working carefully to build what could be a complicated case.

Bundy was arrested last Wednesday as he stepped off a plane at Portland International Airport on his way to visit his jailed sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy.

The Bundy brothers are accused of organizing the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon that lasted for nearly six weeks.

 

Out of Control Crime on the Las Vegas Strip: Who is Responsible?

Bellagio Hotel, Landscape, Las Vegas, Nevada, Photography, Southwest Canyonlands, Travel, USA

The extreme (and intolerable) levels of crime on the Las Vegas Strip became the feature of a series of reports by the ‘I-Team’ from Channel 8. I guess I would have to wonder if Captain Tomaino and Deputy Chief Schofield gave permission for the ride-alongs and the details to be provided to the public because the story was not pretty. Heads can ‘roll’ when Metro is embarrassed, just like they did when the helicopter was used for a marriage proposal and when Stanley Gibson was killed due to radio problems and other communication failures.
There have also been other incidents when ‘censorship’ failed. The first story in the series, ‘New breed of criminal on the Las Vegas Strip’ reported on trick rolls that turn into assaults and robberies.
The reality is that there is nothing ‘new’ about the disorder and violence on the Strip. Featured Officer (Calvin Wandick) is indeed a ‘supercop’ and he described the pedestrian bridges as a circus. He can’t say it, but one of the reasons (for the continuing disorder and violence) is that the Metro administration did not listen to street cops up to a decade ago.
(MY EXPERIENCE: I’ve got plenty of written records and documentation where as a patrol officer and as a supervisor I was trying to draw some attention to what was happening. We were ignored because Metro Vice under former Lieutenant Karen Hughes and Sgt. John Hayes and the casino cabals did not want us to deal with the prostitution-related crime. They wanted it to be solely their ‘turf’ and, I’m afraid, they ‘reaped’ the rewards, while some of us were RAPED of our policing careers. This is no exaggeration folks!) Wandick went on to describe robberies, hustlers and drug peddlers along with rampant prostitution that is, ‘more about robbery than sex.’ Sgt. Mike Ford explained, “Prostitution is at a whole different level than any of us have ever seen up here on the Strip. It’s really taken over. It’s exploded.” More than half of the felonies and acts of violence are linked to the robbery rings that use prostitutes as bait.
Gangs, teams of pickpockets, major drug operations, auto theft up and down the Strip are nightly realities.
The I-Team was given total access to tag along with the teams who are on the front lines. Veteran officers say they’ve never seen anything like it. There’s a new breed of criminal on the Strip. They’re highly organized, relentless, and ubiquitous. Metro is out there every night, but at times it feels like trying to hold back the ocean with their fingers. It takes a special breed of cop to handle this work.
(MY EXPERIENCE: The ‘special’ cops better be on guard that they will have to deal with the ‘politics’ of the Strip and the ‘corrupted’ policing system on the Strip).
“A new wave and new breed of working girls is at the heart of the crime explosion in the tourist corridor. Prostitution is linked to more than half of the serious crime Metro sees each night, including
assaults and homicides. It’s not a victimless offense.” “You have your trick rolls, your pickpockets, gang involvement, pimp involvement.
There’s a lot of violence, said Sgt. Francois Obasi, Metro team leader on the Strip.”
“Two squads of uniformed officers work the Strip at night. Their nightly briefings are loaded with tales of new and egregious crimes and suspects. A jewelry store hit for $700,000, two white females pulling armed robberies out of their car, a kidnapping scam targeting locals. It’s a depressing lineup of villainy, but on this night, the team got good news from their captain. Reinforcements are on the way.
The squads will increase from six to 10 officers each. They’ll need it.
(MY EXPERIENCE: It is not only the number of officers on a squad. It really comes down to having crime fighters rather than secretaries with a badge. Far too many officers will only take a report and will avoid making an arrest or being assertive because they are either lazy or only care about ‘career survival.’ At one point, I would say this is a farce. After losing my job because I was targeted, I have to say that career survival IS a valid choice—albeit cowardly and selfish in some ways.)
I was surprised to see that officers are now actually entering casinos and seeking out known and suspected prostitutes. “At least once a night, they march into one or more casino properties to disrupt the rampant prostitution trade that has overwhelmed hotel security teams.
They are organized (criminal) operations that are more about robbery than sex. The tourist hopes for a clandestine romp. The prostitutes and pimps have a whole different game plan. They want to take everything. You know, they want the money, the property, the credit cards, everything” Officer Wandick said.” During one foray into a casino, six suspects were ‘corralled’ within 10 minutes.
(MY EXPERIENCE: I worked the Strip under Captain Charles Hank and Captain Todd Fasulo; we were strongly cautioned about doing foot patrols inside the hotel/casino doors. Casino ‘big wigs’ didn’t like Metro lurking around on their property and several of them are former Metro employees and administrators. They were not shy in expressing their opinions to force us out and only enter the ‘back door’ when they had suspects in custody in their holding rooms.)
If you haven’t been to the Strip lately, be forewarned!!
(MY EXPERIENCE: This is not going to make the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority happy). Uniformed Strip officers are the ‘first line of defense’ projecting a strong police presence on the streets and sidewalks.
The word, “Predators” was used to describe prostitution rings that are now prominent in most casinos with nightclubs and how prevalent criminals were on the Strip.
(MY EXPERIENCE: I have multiple emails where I used the same descriptive word about the criminals on the Strip nearly a DECADE ago but I could not have pronounced it publicly).
Ford claimed, “There are five or more trick rolls per night and many more that are never reported because the victim doesn’t want his wife to know.” “They show up, get to your room, spike your drink with a sedative and you wake up 15 hours later with your Rolex and credit cards missing; all that stuff is gone.” Ford also referred to gangs involved in human trafficking and he pointed out dozens of people selling narcotics and also smut peddlers and how they sometimes ‘work’ together. Teams of five or more thieves will hit a club and walk out with as many as 40 cell phones in a night. “Absolutely, it’s organized crime,” said Sgt. Ford (referring to nightclub thefts).
Tragically, Sgt. Mike Ford passed away at the same time that the series was being aired. The I-Team had been working with Ford for several weeks in setting up the stories. George Knapp made a concluding statement, “One thing he (Sgt. Ford) wanted to see happen is for elected officials and maybe some casino bosses to ride along and see for themselves what it is like out there at night.” Ford was right about the importance of awareness but we also tried this strategy a DECADE ago! I found that Metro administrators couldn’t care less and I don’t suspect anything will change this time. There is nobody responsible for restoring order or stopping the beat downs and brain bleeds! Metro’s Merry-Go-Round continues on the Strip.
Norm Jahn served with the LVMPD for over 21 years and achieved the rank of lieutenant. He also served as a police chief in Wisconsin for over three years. Jahn has been a university professor and also taught in the criminal justice program at the College of Southern Nevada for over a decade. Jahn received a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from UNLV. He has researched police performance and the management and leadership of police departments.
His weekly column focuses on current policing issues, especially those involving the LVMPD. Norm provides ‘insight with an edge’ to inform the public and improve policing. He can be reached at normjahn@icloud.com.

SOURCE: http://lasvegastribune.net/control-crime-las-vegas-strip-responsible/

Proposed Changes to Federal Nevada Local Rules 2016 include deleting LR 7-5 and 7-6!!!

Proposed Changes to Federal Nevada Local Rules 2016 include deleting LR 7-5 and 7-6!!! see http://www.nvd.uscourts.gov/PublicComments/default.aspx

Be sure to add a comment that LR7-5 and Lr 7-6 remain and include the use of email:

Comments: After carefully reviewing the proposed 2016 rules I immediately noticed my two favorite local rules LR 7-5 and LR 7-6 have been completely removed! I request that these rules remain and are updated to include “letter/mail” in rule 7-6 and add the option to send a ex parte motion via email for 7-5.

They were: LR 7-5. EX PARTE AND EMERGENCY MOTIONS. (a) Ex Parte Definition. An ex parte motion or application is a motion or application that is filed with the Court, but is not served upon the opposing or other parties. (b) All ex parte motions, applications or requests shall contain a statement showing good cause why the matter was submitted to the Court without notice to all parties. (c) Motions, applications or requests may be submitted ex parte only for compelling reasons, and not for unopposed or emergency motions. (d) Written requests for judicial assistance in resolving an emergency dispute shall be entitled “Emergency Motion” and be accompanied by an affidavit setting forth: (1) The nature of the emergency; (2) The office addresses and telephone numbers of movant and all affected parties; and, (3) A statement of movant certifying that, after personal consultation and sincere effort to do so, movant has been unable to resolve the matter without Court action. The statement also must state when and how the other affected party was notified of the motion or, if the other party was not notified, why it was not practicable to do so. If the nature of the emergency precludes such consultation with the other party, the statement shall include a detailed description of the emergency, so that the Court can evaluate whether consultation truly was precluded. It shall be within the sole discretion of the Court to determine whether any such matter is, in fact, an emergency.

Post image for A Lawyer’s Delight – – following those local rules, . . .LR 7-6. EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS. (a) Neither party nor counsel for any party shall make an ex parte communication with the Court except as specifically permitted by these Rules. (b) Any unrepresented party or counsel may send a letter to the Court at the expiration of sixty (60) days after any matter has been, or should have been, fully briefed if the Court has not entered its written ruling. If such a letter has been sent and a written ruling still has not been entered one hundred twenty (120) days after the matter has been or should have been fully briefed, any unrepresented party or counsel may send a letter to the Chief Judge, who shall inquire of the judge about the status of the matter.Copies of all such letters must be served upon all other counsel and unrepresented parties.

The Local Civil, Patent, and Criminal Rules Committees for the United States District Court for the District of Nevada have proposed amendments to the court’s local rules of practice and seek comment from the bench, bar, and public. All comments will be carefully considered by the rules committees. Please provide any comments as soon as possible but no later than Monday, March 7, 2016. Comments concerning the proposed amendments must be submitted using the electronic comment form on the court’s website. Click on the red box below to access the proposed amendments and electronic comment form.
Click hereto review and comment on the proposed amendments to the local rules.

http://www.nvd.uscourts.gov/PublicComments/default.aspx

Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas (HD Time Lapse) Las Vegas Nevada

This took me 2 nights and over 12 hours to do. The 2nd night on the strip alone I was filming shots for over 8 hours until past 4am in the morning! So please support all the hard work I do by liking this video and using Fan Funding if you can! Once I hit 100K subscribers im giving away a $100 Dollar Disney Gift Card to use at the Disney Store, DisneyStore.com, or at the park! So be sure to subscribe and tell everyone you know about this channel so they can subscribe too!

I also was on short time and didn’t get to film all the places I would of liked for this such as on top of the Stratosphere and in the Adventure Dome. By the time I walked and to the end of the strip it was too late for Manhatten Express to be open either.

But these shots were filmed on the Las Vegas Strip and Freemont Street. Filming inside a casino with people and all the slot machine would of been cool but unfortunately you are not allowed to film in casino areas due to security reasons.

The High Roller Club grew by two on the afternoon of Feb. 5, when a security officer noticed the only passengers in Cabin 16, a man and woman, smoking and undressing.

The High Roller Club grew by two on the afternoon of Feb. 5, when a security officer noticed the only passengers in Cabin 16, a man and woman, smoking and undressing.

“The guests in Cabin 17 didn’t seem to notice, but the guests in Cabin 15 not only noticed but were video recording the acts” with their cell phones, according to court documents.

Surveillance video — not yet made public — also caught the action on the Caesars Entertainment attraction at the center-Strip Linq.

Security officers used the intercom to tell the amorous couple to “please put all cigarettes out and put all clothes back on.”

They stopped, briefly sat down, but then went back at it. They refused a second request to end the tryst.

That’s when the Las Vegas police were called.

The 550-foot-diameter wheel with its 28 cabins each big enough to hold 40 people didn’t stop rolling — it’s continual motion. At the end of the 30-minute ride the fully clothed tourists, Chloe Scordianos, 21, of Hicksville, NY, and Philip Frank Panzica III, 27, of Houston, Texas, were pulled from the giant glass ball and charged with committing sex acts in public, a felony.

The criminal complaint alleges extensive nudity and cunnilingus on the world’s tallest observation wheel, which is billed as “The Happiest Half Hour in Vegas!”

“They both said they were just having a good time and didn’t think anyone would notice,” the arresting officers wrote in their report.

Police watched the video and “clearly saw Scordianos laying on her back in the center of the cabin. Panzica was on his knees over Scordianos and removed her dress. He also removed his clothes while standing up, exposing his penis and bare buttocks, allowing anyone in public to see.”

It wasn’t the first time people were spotted having sex in the all-glass cabins of the High Roller, which opened in 2014, the report stated. Linq managers told Metro that public indecency is happening more and more, “which they fear will impact the reputation and business operations.”

VitalVegas.com even offers “11 Vital Tips for Having Sex on the High Roller,” which include “bring a blanket,” “use the cover of darkness,” “tip a ride attendant,” “be prepared for some awkward,” and “be fearless.”

Metro could not immediately provide statistics about the frequency of arrests at the High Roller, and a Caesars spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

Scordianos and Panzica were booked in the Clark County Detention Center and later posted $3,000 bail. They were arraigned in Las Vegas Justice Court on Tuesday, and are expected back in court next month.

It’s unclear how or where the two met. Friday was Scordianos’ 21st birthday.

“Ms. Scordianos denies the allegations that this was a public sex act,” said her lawyer, Chris Rasmussen. “People who ride the Linq believe they have an expectation of privacy in the individual cars.”

Contact reporter David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter:@randompoker

Flavor Flav pleads no contest to Las Vegas DUI

FlavorFlavCourt.jpg

Rapper Flavor Flav pleaded no contest Monday to a DUI charge in connection with his arrest on a Las Vegas freeway.

He appeared in court wearing a large red clock around his neck, five rings, a wide black and gold watch, a black and gray coat, a blue shirt, dark gray jeans, gray Nike high tops and holding a red New York Yankees cap.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum ordered Flav to pay a $685 fine, undergo a victim-impact panel and complete DUI classes. Prosecutors dropped speeding and open-container charges.

A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper reportedly spotted the 56-year-old Las Vegas man driving on Interstate 15 in May 2015. Flav was first seen heading north on the frontage road near Blue Diamond Road at 73 mph in a 45 mph zone, then 87 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to Highway Patrol.

The trooper who performed the stop said Flav was driving under the influence. Defense lawyers Kristina Wildeveld and Dayvid Figler said Flav had a marijuana metabolite in his system.

Flav was given a 30-day suspended jail sentence and credit for two days served in the Clark County Detention Center.

Flav, whose real name is William Drayton Jr., is best known as the hype man for the iconic hip-hop group Public Enemy.

He pleaded guilty in April 2014 to misdemeanor domestic violence charges stemming from an incident with his stepson in 2012, when he threatened the then 17-year-old with a knife after an argument with the teen’s mother.

He originally faced felony charges but struck a deal and was ordered to complete counseling classes by August or face jail time.

Flav was slapped with two citations for illegal fireworks last July after Metro confiscated about 100 pounds of illegal fireworks during his Fourth of July party. Neighbors said the rapper has been setting off thousands of dollars worth of illegal fireworks each year since 2009.

Wanted: 360 new cops to join Las Vegas force

The Metropolitan Police Department is looking for more than a few good men and women.

Hundreds, to be exact.

“This is in conjunction with the ‘More Cops’ tax increase,” Metro officer Jesse Roybal said Friday of the department’s ability to hire 360 new officers.

To aid in the process, Metro is using a computer-based recruiting system that will allow applicants from around the country to test by video for a “small fee,” without ever stepping foot in Las Vegas, a release said Friday.

“This is a brand-new thing,” Roybal said. “This way they can take the test wherever they are.”

Metro has partnered with the National Testing Network to facilitate the national search.

“Once you take the test, you have the option to submit it to multiple police departments,” Metro officer Michael Rodriguez said, referring to other forces that partner with the network, which is active in 20 states.

Those who pass the initial exam will be invited to take the physical exam and oral board in Las Vegas.

Applications will be accepted until March 9 or until 2,500 have been received.

Candidates must be at least 21 and have a high school diploma or GED certificate. After a candidate passes the initial exam, he or she will be invited to take the physical exam and oral board in Las Vegas.

“More Cops,” which took effect in January, is funded through a county sales tax increase that raised the rate from 8.1 percent to 8.15 percent. It is expected to generate about $19.4 million in each of the next 10 years, including $14.6 million annually for Metro.

Adelson-Owned Las Vegas Review-Journal Endorses Rubio

Sheldon-Adelson-Kingmaker

Adelson-Owned Las Vegas Review-Journal Endorses Rubio | 05 Feb 2016 | The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the largest newspaper in Nevada, has endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio for Republican presidential nomination in editorial. The paper says Rubio “has the ideas and the charisma to bring independents and moderates under the GOP tent.” Note: The Review-Journal was bought by the family of prolific GOP donor Sheldon Adelson late last year.

Approximately 2/3 of the funding for the proposed UNLV/Sands/Raiders? stadium would come from public financing

A domed stadium proposed for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas football team has a price tag of $1.2 billion, and developers would seek $780 million in public financing, according to a document provided by Las Vegas Sands Corp., which is leading a consortium behind the project.

Private investors would contribute $420 million toward the planned 65,000-seat stadium, with various tourist-driven tax sources — commercial conveyance on taxicabs, rental car taxes or hotel room taxes — providing the bulk of the funding.

Read more: http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/stadium/public-funding-would-cover-two-thirds-unlv-stadium-costs

All Northern Nevada Federal Judges are recused from TY ROBBEN v CARSON CITY lawsuit(S)

Featured


 Update March 2016: Judge Richard Franklin Boulware II
now presides over all cases since Judge James C. Mahan recused in February 2916! 

Richard Franklin Boulware II (born 1968) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada and former assistant Federal Public Defender.

Boulware received an Artium Baccalaureus degree, cum laude, in 1993 from Harvard College and studied toward a PhD in Sociology from 1995–1998. He received a Juris Doctor in 2002 from Columbia Law School. From 2002 to 2003, he served as a law clerk to Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

From 2003 to 2007, he was a trial attorney in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in New York. He has served in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Las Vegas,Nevada since 2007, serving as the lead attorney for complex white-collar cases since 2010.[1]

On January 16, 2014, President Obama nominated Boulware to serve as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, to the seat vacated by Judge Philip Martin Pro, who took senior status on December 31, 2011.[2]

He received a hearing before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on March 12, 2014.[3]

On April 3, 2014 his nomination was reported out of committee by a vote of 11-7.[4] On June 5, 2014 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for cloture on the nomination. On Monday, June 9, 2014 The United States Senate agreed on the motion to invoke cloture by a vote of 53-34.[5] On Tuesday, June 10, 2014 The U.S. Senate voted 58-35 in favor of final confirmation.[6] He received his judicial commission on June 10, 2014.[7] He was sworn in on June 12, 2014.[8]

On September 9, 2015 President Barack Obama nominated Boulware to a position on the United States Sentencing Commission. If confirmed he would replace former Commissioner Ketanji Brown Jackson and his term would expire October 31, 2019.[9] His nomination is now pending before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[10]


Judge Richard F. Boulware

The letter comes pursuant to LR 7-6 and 7-5. Case number 3:13-cv-00438-RFB-VPC is now assigned to Judge Richard F. Boulware and has various motions that have been pending over 60 and 120 days including a motion for summary judgment, motion for PACER fee waiver and several ex parte 7-5 motions to void/vacate all orders issued by the former judge Miranda Du and Magistrate Valerie Cooke.

Case number 3:15-cv-00529-RFB-VPC is now assigned to Judge Richard F. Boulware  and has a motion for fee waiver outstanding past 60 days.
Case number 3:15-cv-00530-JCM-VPC is now assigned to  Judge James C. Mahan  Judge Richard F. Boulware and  and has a motion for fee waiver outstanding past 60 days.

Judge James C. Mahan

I have filed several Local Rule LR 7-6 and 7-5 letters and motions that are not on the record. I have resent these to  Judge Richard F. Boulware  and Judge James C. Mahan via email and called their chambers to verify hey received the emails that were also sent to the Defendants’ counsel Brian M. Brown.

As I’ve stated in the previous emails, I may file a petition for writ-of-mandate in the 9th circuit court of appeals if my cases continue to remain in limbo. As you know, the entire Northern District of the Federal Court has recused from all three cases and I did suggest to the Chief Judge Gloria Navarro that the entire Nevada Federal Court should be recused and the cases assigned to the 9th circuit for the appointment of an out-of-state judge on all 3 cases. This did not happen and instead Navarro reassigned the cases to Judge Richard F. Boulware and Judge James C. Mahan.
 
There is urgency since these cases need the fee waivers granted for PACER along with allowing the Plaintiff (me) the ability to file on-line with PACER. I’ve also requested filing fee wavers for both 3:15-cv-00529-RFB-VPC and 3:15-cv-00530-JCM-VPC need to be “filed” so the statute-of-limitations does not become an issue.
Case 3:13-cv-00438-RFB-VPC has been sitting around over 1 1/2/ years on a summary judgment motion. I’ve argued that summary judgment is unconstitutional pursuant to the 7th Amendment in addition to opposing the motion. This motion is ripe and past the 120 day waiting for a decision. Additionally, the motion will exceed 6 months and need to be filed Every six months (October 1 and April 1) every judge must submit a report to Washington that becomes publicly available. Among other things, the judge must report on whether any motion has been under submission more than six months.
I’ve started to write a petition for writ of mandamus to the 9th circuit. Here is some law in addition to the judicial code-of-conduct (canons) that a judge has a duty to decide a case.

A Writ of Mandamus is Necessary to Compel the Court of Appeals to Decide the Emergency Motion for a Stay of Proceedings “Repeated decisions of this court have established the rule that this court has power to issue a mandamus, in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, and that the writ will lie in a proper case to direct a subordinate Federal court to decide a pending cause.” Knickerbocker Ins. Co. v. Comstock, 16 Wall. 258, 270 (1872). Where a lower court’s failure to act obstructs litigants from having their claims adjudicated and ultimately brought before a higher court, this Court and the courts of appeals have consistently issued writs of mandamus so that the legal process can proceed. In Ex parte Crane, 5 Pet. 190 (1831), this Court issued a writ of mandamus to compel a lower court to render its judgment, because failing to do so prevented the petitioner from pursuing an appeal.

Chief Justice Marshall, writing for the Court, held that “We cannot perceive a reason why the single case of a refusal by an inferior court to sign a bill of exceptions, and thus to place the law of the case on the record, should be withdrawn from that general power to issue writs of mandamus to inferior courts, which is conferred by statute.” Id. at 194; see also Ex parte United States, 287 U.S. 241 (1932) (writ issued to district judge instructing him to issue a bench warrant); Ex parte Bradstreet, 32 U.S. 634 (1833); Virginia v. Rives, 100 U. S. 313, 323 (1879) (extraordinary writs have “very much extended in modern times, and now it may be said to be an established remedy to oblige inferior courts and magistrates to do that justice which they are in duty, and by virtue of their office, bound to do.”). Likewise in Will v. Calvert Fire Ins. Co., 437 U.S. 655 (1978), this Court affirmed the Circuit Court’s issuance of the writ of mandamus to a district judge, who deferred the adjudication of the petitioner’s federal claims during the pendency of a state court action. This Court held that “There can be no doubt that, where a district court persistently and without reason refuses to adjudicate a case properly before it, the court of appeals may issue the writ ‘in order that [it] may exercise the jurisdiction of review given by law.’”

Id. at 661-62 (quoting Knickerbocker, 16 Wall. at 270). To hold otherwise, the Court has explained, would be to give the lower court a pocket-veto over the higher court’s supervisory jurisdiction and result in an indefinite obstruction of the appellate process. See Roche, 319 U.S. at 25 (“Otherwise the appellate jurisdiction could be defeated and the purpose of the statute authorizing the writ thwarted by unauthorized action of the district court obstructing the appeal”). Following this Court’s direction, the courts of appeal have issued writs of mandamus when the failure of a district court judge to rule on a dispositive motion prejudices the litigants’ ability to seek a timely appeal.5 In McClellan v. Young, 421 F.2d 690 (6th Cir. 1970), for example, a district court had allowed four months to elapse before ruling on a prisoner’s petition for habeas corpus. Citing La Buy v. Howes Leather Co., 352 U.S. 249 (1957), the Sixth Circuit issued the writ and ordered the district judge to render his decision within ten days of the mandate being issued. Id. at 691; see also In re Sharon Steel Corp., 918 F.2d 434, 437 (3d Cir. 1990) (writ issued to a district judge who declined to rule on a dispositive motion, where “the district court’s inaction [was] an unexplained abdication of judicial power” because the district judge “had a duty to dispose of that motion, a duty inherent in a judicial system which guarantees a conditional right to an appeal.”). Petitioner concedes that “[m]andamus, prohibition and injunction against judges are drastic and extraordinary remedies.” Ex parte Fahey, 332 U.S. at 259. Nevertheless, this Court’s issuance of the writ has become necessary to preserve its own appellate jurisdiction. In the circumstances presented here, “appeal is a clearly inadequate remedy,” id. at 260, insofar as it is the appeal itself that is obstructed by the Court of Appeals’ failure to rule.

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Assemblyman Richard Carrillo’s misdemeanor DUI conviction was overturned on appeal due to Judge Tatro fuck up

Assemblyman Richard Carrillo’s misdemeanor DUI conviction was overturned on appeal to the District Court on Tuesday.

But the ruling came only after his lawyer Larry Dunn threw a Hail Mary pass following Judge James Wilson’s initial ruling upholding the DUI but tossing the gun charge.

Wilson reversed the charge of carrying a gun while intoxicated because he said the blood test showing Carrillo was at 0.10 blood alcohol wasn’t admissible. He made that ruling based on testimony by the Washoe crime lab technician she didn’t supervise and control all the elements of the testing process and couldn’t vouch for the pieces she wasn’t involved in.

At that point, Dunn stood and asked how the judge could then uphold the DUI since that conviction was based on the same blood test he had just thrown out.

Wilson looked back in the transcript of Justice of the Peace John Tatro’s decision and agreed with Dunn that Tatro found Carrillo guilty of DUI based solely on the blood test, not on any other tests or evidence Carrillo was intoxicated.

“So it appears the DUI needs to be reversed too,” said Wilson correcting himself.

judge tatroThe Washoe Crime Lab didn’t administer multiple tests to establish whether Carrillo’s alcohol level was on the way up or on the way down and couldn’t say for beyond a reasonable doubt his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit when he was found asleep in his vehicle.

Carrillo was arrested February 27 during the 2015 Legislature after he was found asleep in the driver’s seat of his sports car with the engine running and his hand on the gearshift. Tatro initially ruled he was “in actual physical control” of the vehicle and therefore guilty of DUI. The car was parked on the street outside Jimmy G’s bar where Carrillo had been drinking.

Dunn said the ruling would make the crime lab tighten up its rules and procedures but he believed the arrest was bad in the first place because there was no evidence Carrillo had driven the car while drunk or had made any attempt to do so.

Wilson’s decision lifts the penalties imposed by Tatro including 42 hours of community service, fines totaling $800 and a ban on possessing any firearms for a year.

Carrillo said afterward the ruling “lifts a huge weight” off of him.

Dunn said simply it was “the right decision from the beginning.”

MALL TERROR ALERT (AUG-SEP, 2015) CIA Plotting Mall-Related Terror Attacks—‘Mall of America’ & ‘Shop at the Crystals’ in Las Vegas Latest Terror Targets

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Because I, David Chase Taylor officially applied for political asylum in Switzerland on July 17, 2015, the state-sponsored terror plots and so-called “natural disasters” I expose rarely come to fruition. In short, the Swiss CIAdoes not want to afford me any more credibility or publicity than they have to, lest they turn me into a modern-day prophet. They also do not want to provide yet another open-and-shut case as to why I deserve political asylum. For those wondering why I would apply for political asylum in Switzerland, consider this: a) I originally applied for asylum in Switzerland on March 8, 2011, roughly 2-years before I discovered that Switzerland was harboring the CIA; and b) the CIA has historically not shat were it eats in Switzerland. That being said, the CIA has now been exposed for the first time in history. Consequently, they are extremely desperate and may assassinate me Switzerland.

SOURCE: https://truthernews.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/mall-terror-alert-aug-sep-2015-cia-plotting-mall-related-terror-attacks-mall-of-america-shop-at-the-crystals-in-las-vegas-latest-terror-targets/

JADE HELM 15: Swiss CIA Plotting ‘Robin Sage’ Redux, Attacks on Jade Helm Soldiers by ‘Operation Counter Jade Helm’, Domestic & ISIS Terror Attacks, Predator Drone Strikes, Suspension of 2016 US Presidential Election, Martial Law & Obama Dictatorship

WORLD WAR III: How and Why the Swiss CIA Will Trigger Nuclear War Between US-Led NATO & Russia

ISIS ENDGAME: How and Why the CIA in Switzerland Created ISIS as Cover for Nuclear and Biological Terror Attacks

RED ALERT: 10 Reasons Why Switzerland is Home to the CIA

BREAKING: CERN Complex in Switzerland Identified as CIA Headquarters

David Chase Taylor
August 11, 2015
Truther.org

SWITZERLAND, Zurich — Based on breaking news and events, it appears that the CIA in Switzerland is once again plotting mall-related terror attacks. Although the impending attacks could theoretically transpire anywhere in the world, the United States and its Mall of America are the most likely to suffer an attack.

Exactly what type of mall-related terror is planned is not known, but a gun-related massacre, hostage crisis and/or siege are the most likely terror scenarios. That being said, a 9/11-style attack, bio-terror attack, suicide bombing and/or car bombing are also theoretically possible.

In the event that U.S. malls suffer an attack, the state-sponsored terror group known as Al-Shabaab will likely be scapegoated just as they were in the aftermath of the state-sponsored Westgate Shopping Mall Attack in Nairobi, Kenya on September 21, 2013.

In what appears to be the latest U.S. mall slated for terror, it was reported back on July 25, 2015, that a fire broke out at Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas which coincidentally borders the Twin Peaks Las Vegas bar and grill and the Shop at the Crystals, a 500,000 square foot shopping mall.

Whether the timely fire provided the necessary cover for the installation of weapons and/or explosives within the Shop at the Crystals and/or the Twin Peaks Las Vegas bar and grill is not known, but it’s highly likely. Said explosives and/or weapons could be utilized at a future date in a coordinated state-sponsored terror attack.

The impending attack on the Shop at the Crystals was chosen in part because it is located adjacent to Twin Peaks Las Vegas bar and grill. Back on May 17, 2015, the Waco biker shootout was executed at the Waco Twin Peaks bar and grill in Waco, Texas, allegedly resulting in 9 deaths, 18 injures and 177 arrests. Needless to say, a redux biker-related attack on the mall and restaurant are likely now in play.

In what appears to be a CIA-spawned publicity stunt designed to foreshadow mall-related terror just prior to an attack, it was reported on August 5, 2015, that a man was arrested after a report of shooting on National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Lastly, the notion that the U.S. government (at the behest of the CIA in Switzerland) is actively plotting mall-related terror attacks was revealed back on February 23, 2015, when CNN published a report entitled “U.S. Staged Mock Mall Attacks to Test Readiness after Kenya Siege”. Suffice to say, practice makes perfect.

Westgate Mall Attack Kenya

Al Shabaab Mall Attack
In order to provide a timely motive for an Al-Shabaab-related revenge-like attack against the United States, it was reported back on March 18, 2015, that the leader of Al Shabaab, Adan Garar was killed by a U.S. drone strike. A day later on March 19, 2015, the Pentagon stated that Garar was the mastermind behind the Kenya mall attack. Needless to say, the Swiss CIA was the “mastermind” of the Westgate Shopping Mall Attack in Kenya. Ahmed Abde Godane, the alleged Al Shabaab leader behind the Westgate Mall Attack, was previously killed back on September 2, 2014, in a U.S. drone strike. The purported executions of these men were reported in order to provide a timely motive for another mall-related terror attack. Lastly, on May 19, 2015, it was reported that 7 men in Minnesota have been arrested for using federal student loan money to join ISIS. The arrest of the Islamic terror patsies was evidently designed to sell the notion that there is an active terror cell in Minnesota which is coincidentally home to Mall of America.

FBI Mall Attack Initiative
Starting in 2013, all FBI field offices within the United States began hosting “facilitated discussions—or tabletop exercises—with public safety and private sector partners” that focused on preparedness, response, and recovery efforts necessary to effectively address a mall-related terror attack. The training exercise represents the current phase of theFBI’s Complex Mall Attack Initiative, which was developed to “promote preparedness and strengthen public/private partnerships”. Needless to say, the FBI program appears to be the cover for mall-related terror attacks which are currently being planned by the Obama administration.

Mall Terror Trending
Prior to a high-profile mall-related terror attack, America must be psychologically prepared to accept that this is in fact possible. Fraudulent headlines and fabricated events are a slick way of convincing people that yes, it can happen. As evidenced mall-related terror is now at an all-time high which suggests that a state-sponsored terror attack at a U.S. mall is imminent.

2015 Mall Terror Timeline:

1. January 17, 2015: 1 person was killed, 2 more were wounded at Florida mall
2. January 28, 2015: Surveillance footage released from Dayton Mall shooting
3. February 8, 2015: Teen arrested in Pittsburgh-area mall shooting
4. February 15, 2015: Suspect In Foiled Canadian Mall Shooting Left Social Media Trail
5. May 11, 2015: 1 dead after shooting at Pennsylvania shopping plaza
6. June 12, 2015: One person killed in shooting at Iowa mall
7. July 3, 2015: Police detain man walking around North Carolina mall with rifle, ammunition
8. July 13, 2015: French police hunt mall attackers
9. July 21, 2015: Shopping mall ablaze in Russia’s Tomsk region, people evacuated
10. July 22, 2015: Suicide bombing at Afghan market kills at least 9 people
11. July 22, 2015: Cameroon’s Maroua market hit by suicide blasts
12. July 25, 2015: Los Angeles police kill gunman on busy shopping street
13. August 5, 2015: Man arrested after report of shooting on National Mall
14. August 5, 2015: 2nd man questioned after reported shooting inside car on National Mall

[Does not purport to be a complete list of mall/market-related terror headlines]

HT_al-shabaab_mall_of_america_bc_150222_16x9_992

Mall of America
The Mall of America is located in Bloomington, Minnesota (a suburb of the Twin Cities), and is the largest shopping center and entertainment complex in the United States. The Mall of America, which has been the target of numerous terror plots since 9/11, may come under attack in the near future. The entity responsible for security at Mall of America is the Israeli security firm entitled Rozin Security Consulting, LLC, which has been drilling various terror scenarios in Mall of America since 9/11. Rozin’s infamous “lockdown drills” are executed monthly and are designed to trap the shoppers inside the mall with terrorists, thus allowing for a greater number of casualties and the subsequent escape of the terrorists. The lockdown drills also allow for the termination of potential witnesses and enable the terrorists to kill indiscriminately with no interference from law enforcement who would be locked outside the mall. Coincidentally, it was reported on September 25, 2013, that Mall of America has “boosted” their security after the Westgate Mall attack in Kenya, an ominous sign that it may targeted in the near future.

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Mall of America Terror Threat
In order to psychologically prepare Americans for a horrific terror attack on Mall of America, current Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson warned of a terror threat to Mall of America from Al Shabaab. Mall of America was singled out for attacks in a new video posted by Al-Shabaab which claimed responsibility for the deadly siege at the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi in 2013. That same day, February 22, 2015, an Obama aide also warned mall shoppers to be vigilantagainst the Islamic terror threat despite the fact that the FBI says there is “no indication” of any specific threat. In other words, be scared and prepare for a state-sponsored mall attacks. Since Minnesota is home to both Mall of America and the largest Somali population in the United States, it appears that the CIA is setting up the necessary media narrative for an Al-Shabaab-related terror attack on Mall of America. Lastly, on February 24, 2015, USA Today published a report entitled “Mall of America Reveals Extensive Security Measures”. According to the report, Mall of America is now executing lockdown terror drills which feature active shooter situations, including armed “undercover” officers who are now roaming the mall.

Lockdown Drills Mall of America

Mall of America Attack
Because the term “American” is found within the title of “Mall of America” a terror attack on the mall would forever be used to demonize and disparage the good name of America, which is exactly why the mall would be targeted in the first place. Truther.org has identified and exposed numerous “America”-related terror plots, including but not limited to:American Idol, American Sniper, Bank of America, Bank of America Stadium, Good Morning America, Miss America, andOperation American Spring, the Mall of America terror plot being the latest. In what may be the secret Mall of America attack headquarters, it was reported on January 15, 2015, that Mall of America’s Rainforest Cafe will temporarily close. Whether this timely closure has provided the necessary cover for the installation of weapons and/or explosives within Mall of America is not known, but it’s possible. Prior to the 9/11 terror attacks, Zim American Israeli Shipping Co. broke a lease in order to vacate the World Trade Center just weeks prior to the attacks. The vacant office space was likely used to outfit the towers with demolition explosives as well as house the homing beacons which the airplanes used to strike the respective towers.

FLASHBACK: Black Friday Nordstrom Assassination
Back on November 27, 2014, Truther.org published a terror alert in respect to malls and box stores which could be attacked on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Two days later on November 29, 2014, a deadly Black Friday shooting transpired at a crowded Nordstrom store in Chicago, Illinois. Although only conjecture, it appears that the slated Black Friday gunman was ultimately double-crossed and executed prior to carrying out his slated attack. Assassins and patsies are routinely executed in the wake of foiled terror plots.

FLASHBACK: Westgate Mall Attack
In the event that mall terror strikes America, it will likely mirror the September 21, 2013, Westgate Shopping Mall Attackin Nairobi, Kenya. The brazen attack was the official coming out party for the state-sponsored terror group entitled “Al Shabaab” who predictably claimed responsibility for the attack the very same day. In an obvious sign that the attack was a false-flag, it was reported on September 22, 2013, that Israel was reportedly “helping” Kenya during the shopping mall siege. A week later on September 29, 2013, a report entitled “Was an American Security Team Inside Kenya Massacre Mall?” was published, ultimately covering for the Israeli team by inferring that an American terror squad was also present at the mall during the attack. Another red flag in respect to the attack is the fact that a renowned Ghanaian poet, 4 British citizens, and the nephew of the President of Kenyan were reportedly killed in the attacks. The alleged deaths of celebrities and foreigners were evidently part of a coordinated intelligence effort to milk the mall attack for as much publicity as possible.

About the Author
David Chase Taylor is an American journalist and the editor-in-chief of Truther.org, a state-sponsored terror whistle-blower website. Taylor currently lives in Switzerland where he applied for political asylum on July 17, 2015. Taylor authored The Nuclear Bible, a book credited with foiling a nuclear terror attack upon Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, Texas on February 6, 2011, and Greenland Theory: Apocalypse Now, a book and website exposing the true power structure of the world, especially in respect to Greenland and its primary proxy state of Switzerland which is coincidentally home to the CIA. Taylor has also published The Bio-Terror Bible, a book and website exposing the global bio-terror pandemic planned for 2015. To date, Taylor has blown the whistle on over 100 state-sponsored terror plots, including the 2012 Democratic National Convention Terror Plot, the 2011 Super Bowl Nuclear Terror Plot, the 2014 Super Bowl Nuclear Terror Plot, the Terrorgate Scandal, the 2014 Memorial Day Massacre, the man-made asteroid attack planned for 2015, and the drone strike which killed “Fast and Furious” star Paul Walker. Taylor was also the first to expose Alex Jones’ treacherous links to STRATFOR and is noted for the 10 reasons why the Rosetta Comet landing was a hoax.

READ: World’s ‘Most Wanted’ Whistle-Blower Journalist David Chase Taylor Applies for Political Asylum in Switzerland

Truther.org Legal Disclaimer
Truther.org’s stated purpose is to stop terrorism by drawing unwanted global attention to terror plots prior to their fruition. Terror alerts and warnings made by Truther.org DO NOT necessarily imply that these terror events will transpire in reality but rather that there is a distinct possibility that they may occur based on breaking terror-related news, events and data. Historically speaking, once a major false-flag terror plot is exposed, it is immediately canceled, postponed, or reworked (e.g., the 2011 Super Bowl Nuclear Terror Plot, the 2014 Super Bowl Nuclear Terror Plot, the 2014 Freedom Tower Nuclear Terror Plot, etc.). State-sponsored acts of terror must have a prior paper trail in order to set-up patsies, prime scapegoats, create plausible deniability, and mislead the public from the usual suspects of terror which work at the behest of the CIA in Switzerland. Please support real citizen journalism and help make terrorism a thing of the past. Blessed are the Peacemakers. Namaste

Trump has a piece of Las Vegas

Donald Trump’s ties to Las Vegas are impossible to miss, much like his unconventional campaign for president.

The Republican presidential front-runner and real estate tycoon has a vast business empire that stretches across the globe, including Las Vegas. In the style that only Trump can do, he’s the only presidential candidate with a gleaming gold tower near the Strip bearing his surname.

The $1.2 billion Trump International opened in March 2008.

Trump reported $18.37 million in condominium sales and another $27.2 million in hotel revenue tied to the Las Vegas project, according to a 92-page financial disclosure he filed with the Federal Election Commission that covers an 18-month period.

It represents only a fraction of Trump’s income, which was at least $431 million during that same period, according to the disclosure.

For Trump, the high-profile project is another source of name recognition in Las Vegas as 17 Republican presidential candidates are clamoring for attention in Nevada, an early voting state with February caucuses.

For Las Vegans, it’s another visual reminder — albeit without a stump speech — that Trump was investing his brand in the region well before aiming for the presidency.

“Vegas has been a lucky place for us,” said Eric Trump, Donald Trump’s son and executive vice president of development and acquisitions for The Trump Organization.

More than 700 employees work at the hotel, a 64-story enterprise with 1,232 units ranging from studio condos to three-bedroom penthouses. Buyers purchase the condos as residences or partner with the hotel to rent them out to guests. The nongaming hotel focuses on luxury, with an 11,000-square-foot spa, windows lined with 24-carat gold and a staff of white-gloved doormen.

Trump’s partner on the Las Vegas project is businessman Phil Ruffin, who owns TI.

Trump’s foray into Las Vegas hit economic headwinds as the nation entered into the Great Recession. Plans for a second tower were put on hold after credit markets tightened in 2008.

“I think in time it’s a very good possibility,” Eric Trump said of the potential for a second tower.

He also left the door open for potential development elsewhere in Nevada, “if the right project comes around and when we have the right opportunity.”

The Las Vegas hotel is part of the Trump Hotel Collection, which stretches from Ireland to New York.

“Vegas today offers something for everybody,” the younger Trump said. “It’s amazing how much it’s diversified.”

Condominiums sell at prices ranging from $250,000 for a studio to $3.5 million-plus for the top-line penthouse.

The condominiums attract residents from across the political spectrum — much like the candidate Trump does. Voter registration data from 2014 show that 18 voters reside in condos at the Trump hotel. Like the voters Trump is attracting, they include Republicans and independent voters.

Voter records don’t reflect any registered Democrats living in Trump’s tower, but of course, he’ll sell condos to them too.

Political capital?

It’s unknown whether Trump’s investment in Southern Nevada will pay dividends in the February caucuses. But at the very least, it reinforces Trump’s image as a hard-charging businessman who made an investment in the state.

“He basically came in and stayed in when the economy got really rough,” said political science professor Fred Lokken of Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno.

He said candidates’ abilities to get their name out in the public domain — even without all the talking points — can help their cause. By default, that gives Trump the largest unofficial political billboard on the Strip and right off Interstate 15.

“Think of how many Nevadans pass it,” Lokken said. “Think of all the tourists that come to the valley.”

But there are no guarantees in politics.

“He’s at the top of the polls and in America; you guys love to target the top,” Lokken said, referring to the news media.

Other GOP candidates with high name recognition include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has a father and brother as former presidents.

University of Nevada, Reno political science professor Eric Herzik said Trump’s work in the region will help him marginally in his campaign.

Still, making a move from the Trump tower to the White House won’t be an easy deal to cut with voters.

He added, “I think he’s going to hit a hard ceiling too in terms of: ‘Do you really know what it takes to run for president?'”

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.

65-year-old Stephen Ficano Nevada Medical Marijuana Patient Cleared Of Drug Charges

nevada potLAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas medical marijuana patient who was accused of preparing to sell drugs has been acquitted of two felony drug charges.

65-year-old Stephen Ficano was arrested in October 2012 after police watched him grow marijuana openly in his backyard.

Police say they found 67 marijuana plants, approximately 24 pounds of marijuana, 26 guns and nearly $52,000 in cash when he consented to the search of his home. At the time, medical marijuana patients in Nevada were legally allowed to have up to seven plants and one ounce of marijuana.

Dr. Ivan Goldsmith gave Ficano a waiver stating that the man’s condition required a larger quantity of the drug.

The Clark County District Attorney says a medical waiver does not relieve a patient from legal responsibility.

This cunt sonds like a female version of Judge Tatro – Nevada High court to review whether Judge Catherine Ramsey can be recalled from office

bad judgeThe Nevada Supreme Court has put the unprecedented attempt to recall a North Las Vegas judge from office on hold until an October 5 hearing.

Clark County District Judge Eric Johnson ruled the recall election could go forward but attorneys for Judge Catherine Ramsey appealed to the high court arguing voters can’t recall a judge. The Nevada Constitution says a “public officer” can be recalled from office if 25 percent of those who voted in that election sign a recall petition and a majority of voters then vote for removal.

But Ramsey’s lawyer Craig Mueller said judges aren’t included in the definition of public officers and, therefore, can’t be recalled.

Judge Johnson rejected that argument saying voters in 1912 made every public officer in the state of Nevada subject to recall.

Ramsey is a municipal judge who has been in office since 2011. Supporters of the recall movement say she dismissed cases out of spite for the city attorney and used her city purchasing card for personal expenses. She has faced numerous allegations of hostile conduct on the bench.

If a recall election is ordered, it would be a first in Nevada history for a judge and the first American judge to face a recall election in more than 30 years, according to Joshua Spivak, a senior fellow at the Hugh Carey Institute for Government Reform in New York.

Until the October hearing before the Supreme Court, the stay preventing the election from being held will remain in effect.

3 notable changes since Sheriff Joseph Lombardo took office

A new sheriff inevitably means changes to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Under Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, changes came quickly.

Most of the department’s detectives now have different job descriptions. Substations that were closed to the public because of funding concerns have been reopened. And police shootings have dropped, while violent crime continues to rise.

The sheriff sat down to speak with the Review-Journal this past week.

DETECTIVE DECENTRALIZATION

Probably the biggest change since the start of the Lombardo regime Jan. 4 was finalized just more than a week ago.

On July 18, his plan to decentralize operations for about 150 detectives formally started.

With the shift, detectives who worked in specialized units, such as robbery, domestic violence, drugs and gangs, were filtered out and now staff each of Metro’s eight area commands throughout the Las Vegas Valley. Each area command has about 24 detectives, Lombardo said.

But the way it was, Lombardo said, it took on average 12½ days after a crime was reported for a detective to review the case file for the first time.

That, the sheriff said, needed to change.

It’s evidence-based, he said.

Metro has experimented with the idea before, when the agency decentralized property crimes detectives, who typically handle crimes such as home burglaries.

Before pushing those detectives out to area commands, the department solved about 33 percent of property crimes, Lombardo said. Since the change, it has jumped to about 45 percent.

By pushing the detectives out to handle smaller geographical areas, Lombardo said he hopes to cut that time in half.

Under the old system, most detectives worked out of Metro headquarters, at 400. S. Martin Luther King Blvd. Some units, such as homicide, sexual assault and crimes against youth and family, will remain centralized. Those investigations tend to be more forensics-based, while those that have been decentralized are more “human-based,” he said, utilizing informants and interviews more often.

But another reason also initiated the change.

“In years past, crooks were specialized,” Lombardo said. “We’ve really seen that change over the last five to 10 years. Now they’re poly-criminals.”

To keep up, Lombardo said, his detectives need to have multiple areas of expertise too.

“We’re limiting ourselves if we stay specialized and the criminals are not,” he said.

MORE OFFICERS

When the Clark County Commission approved a $539 million Metro budget for 2015-16, it meant two things for the department: more cops and the ability to reopen four area commands that had been closed to the public.

Those area commands — Bolden, 1851 Stella Lake St.; South Central, 4860 Las Vegas Blvd. South; Southeast, 3675 E. Harmon Ave.; and Downtown, 621 N. Ninth St. — were closed in previous years because of a lack of funding that forced layoffs at the civilian employee level.

But with the $28 million bigger budget for this year, 46 civilian positions were added, allowing Metro to restaff and reopen those front desks. Residents now can file police reports in person at those locations.

With those civilian employees, Metro was able to hire 55 new officers.

That can help Las Vegas police push back a slight uptick in violent crimes.

This year, violent crime — which includes homicides, sex assaults, assaults with a deadly weapon and robberies — has gone up 2 percent overall compared with last year.

Assaults with a deadly weapon saw the biggest jump, about 12.5 percent, according to Metro crime statistics.

Lombardo said he simply needs more officers if he is going to bring that number down.

Even with the new officers, Metro’s officer to resident ratio, hovering at 1.74 officers per thousand residents, is far below where Lombardo would like to see it.

Lombardo said he would like to see the department get back to what he considers the standard, which is at least two officers per thousand residents.

OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTINGS

Going the opposite way of violent crime, Metro’s officer-involved-shooting numbers have plummeted this year, with just six compared with 11 at the same point last year.

A big reason for the drop, Lombardo said, is that the enhanced emphasis on de-escalation “is really hitting home now.”

“There’s never not going to be officer-involved shootings,” he said. “We have to look at it as ‘was it necessary?’ instead of ‘was it justified?'”

And while the sheriff understands that even the current number of police shootings can change seemingly overnight, that hasn’t stopped him from praising what he says is the progress his department has made.

“I’m very proud of our officer-involved-shooting numbers,” Lombardo said.

Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Find him on Twitter:@ColtonLochhead.

Hundreds gather to honor gang bangers, I mean Metro officers slain in 2014

Hundreds of people joined officers from law enforcement agencies across Southern Nevada on Thursday night at Police Memorial Park to memorialize those who gave their lives in the line of duty.

Las Vegas police added the names of officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo to the Southern Nevada Law Enforcement Memorial, a stone wall engraved with the names of the fallen. The sunset ceremony is an annual event that pays tribute to the local law enforcement officers, numbering 34, who have died since 1905.

A multi-agency honor guard opened the ceremony, with bagpipes and drums playing the traditional, somber tunes often heard at officers’ funerals.

The families of those killed in service to the community walked along a path next to the stone memorial and took a seat, each holding a white rose that would later be placed in a memorial bouquet.

For those who knew Beck and Soldo, the wounds were still fresh.

The officers were gunned down while eating lunch on June 8. Their killers then continued on a violent rampage and took the life of good Samaritan Joseph Wilcox before they died in a standoff with police.

Metro Undersheriff Kevin McMahill spoke to the crowd about the price of service, of tears and gratitude.

“You can take a life, but you can’t take a legacy,” he said.

Never before had the community seen such a senseless, evil act, he said.

But the ceremony at the park near Cheyenne Avenue and Hualapai Way was not just about the newest additions to the memorial. Cops, FBI agents and corrections officers who lost their lives also were honored.

Like search and rescue officer David Vanbuskirk, who died in a tragic accident after rescuing a stranded hiker on Mount Charleston in July 2013.

“Every time I’m out here, my heart breaks,” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said, adding that the community needs to make sure that none of the officers died in vain.

“We will not tolerate any more the anger and the hate that’s out there,” she said.

Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony, a former cop himself, said it takes courage to do police work, to protect the innocent and face hardened criminals. To say goodbye to your family in the morning knowing that you may not come home at night.

“God knows they chased evil in this world, and they are being rewarded in heaven,” he said.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told the families of officers who were killed, whether long ago or recently, that the brotherhood of the police community extends to them as well.

An American flag lowered to half-staff billowed as the Leavitt Middle School choir sang “America the Beautiful.”

The sky grew dark, and youths from Metro’s Explorer program released 34 white balloons with lights inside, representative of the light the officers brought to the community.

They rose high into the sky and looked like flying doves in the distance.

Former Las Vegas cop Morris Mattingly gets prison time in HOA takeover scheme

A retired Las Vegas police lieutenant was sentenced to 366 days in federal prison Wednesday for his role in the scheme to defraud and take over Las Vegas-area homeowners associations.

Morris Mattingly, 54, who was director of security for the scheme’s central figure, former construction company boss Leon Benzer, also was ordered to serve three years of supervised release after prison and pay a share of $190,417 in restitution.

U.S. District Judge James Mahan said Mattingly, a Benzer-controlled board member at Vistana, abused his position of trust during the multimillion-dollar scheme by helping steer construction defect work to Benzer’s company.

Federal prosecutors have alleged that Benzer swindled the Vistana HOA out of more than $7 million for construction repairs that weren’t completed.bad cop

Mattingly apologized for his actions, telling Mahan he made a “very, very stupid judgment” he’ll regret the rest of his life.

His lawyer, Andrew Leavitt, said Mattingly was held to a higher standard in the community because of his former position as a police officer and, as a result, suffered extra shame and humiliation.

“He’s paid his price,” Leavitt said. “Nobody is going to punish him more than he’s punished himself.”

Two other key players in the massive takeover scheme, which involved a dozen HOAs between 2003 and 2009, avoided prison time on Wednesday.

Mahan sentenced former attorney Brian Jones, who admitted helping rig HOA elections at Vistana and Chateau Nouveau, both in the southwest valley, to three years of supervised release.

Jones, 41, who worked for the politically connected law firm Kummer Kaempfer Bonner Renshaw as the scheme unfolded, also was ordered to pay a share of $10,000 in restitution. His former firm, which lobbied local governments, disbanded in 2009, months after Jones moved to Utah and gave up practicing law.

Jones admitted in court that he made a “bad decision” that ruined his once-promising legal career. He said he now teaches at a Utah college.

Lisa Kim —who ran Platinum Community Services, which managed the Vistana HOA at Benzer’s direction — was sentenced to eight months of home confinement and three years of supervised release. Prosecutors had sought prison time for Kim, who admitted participating in election rigging at Vistana.

Defense lawyer Charles Kelly said Kim, who now runs a small house cleaning business, “lost basically everything” and made amends by being one of the first to cooperate in the long-running investigation.

Kim, 51, whose assistance was praised by lead prosecutor Charles La Bella, apologized to Mahan and tearfully said she regretted becoming involved in the takeover scheme.

All three defendants pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and cooperated with the government. Mattingly and Jones testified at the federal trial of former Benzer attorney Keith Gregory and three other defendants, who were convicted in March.

Kim also pleaded guilty in a related bank fraud scheme involving the Courthouse Cafe, which once operated out of the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas. Her former husband, retired Las Vegas police Lt. Ben Kim, was sentenced to three years probation in 2013 for his role in the scheme.

A total of 20 defendants are being sentenced this week in the largest public corruption case federal authorities have brought in Southern Nevada. In all, 38 defendants pleaded guilty in the FBI-led investigation, which began in November 2007.

Benzer pleaded guilty in January and is to be sentenced later this year.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ

FUCK THE NEVADA POLICE: Arrests disrupt medical pot convention in Las Vegas

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Las Vegas police and federal agents arrested 10 people and seized drugs over the weekend at Hempcon, a marijuana education convention at the Cashman Center.

People who were there described seeing police dogs around the event, as well as officers on the roof of the building, apparently looking for people smoking marijuana.

fuck-the-police_o_168412The arrests outraged event organizers, and some attendees said they left patients frightened as Nevada’s first legal dispensaries prepare to open.

“It’s disheartening for our whole community,” said Jennifer Solis, who’s with Wellness Education Cannabis Advocates of Nevada, or WECAN, and was at the event.

From Friday to Sunday, officers shut down five booths, arrested 10 people and cited three others on charges including drug possession, possession with intent to sell and transporting a controlled substance, said officer Laura Meltzer, a Metro spokeswoman. She said officers seized marijuana, hashish, marijuana seeds, edible products containing THC and psilocybin mushrooms.

Meltzer said Metro narcotics detectives and Hempcon organizers had spoken before the event, and organizers told attendees they had to follow the law.

Nevada allows medical use of marijuana by patients with state-issued cards. But it’s illegal to sell the drug without a state dispensary license, and it’s illegal for anyone to use it in public.

Asked about the criticism of the arrests, Meltzer said, “It is incumbent upon the people who are attending this and who are conducting this to be aware of Nevada state law.”19760-fuck-the-police_large

Mark Saint, an activist who was at the convention Friday, said the police stance was hypocritical since officers have looked the other way at similar events while people used marijuana.

The arrests were made by a task force called Southern Nevada Cannabis Operation and Regional Enforcement, which includes Metro, Henderson police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA spokeswoman Sarah Pullen said a federal agent is on the task force, but that Las Vegas police led the operation.

Meltzer said the names of those arrested were not available Tuesday. Police made no public announcement about the operation and provided information only in response to questions from the Review-Journal.

Jason Sturtsman, a patient advocate and owner of a medical marijuana growing operation, wondered whether that’s because police know how much public attitudes toward marijuana have shifted.

“It just seems like a waste of resources,” said Sturtsman, who was not at the event but heard about the arrests.

People who were there said police seemed to become more aggressive as the weekend went on.

On Friday, officers arrested some people who were selling marijuana, said Kurt Duchac, a board member of WECAN. Duchac said those arrests were understandable, since it’s illegal to sell without a license.

But on Saturday, he said, officers started arresting patients who were peacefully using marijuana in their cars. And on Sunday, a SWAT vehicle showed up and officers were on the roof of the building.

nevada is a police state“They were targeting patients, people for simply having it on them,” Duchac said. “They were running dogs through there.”

Inside, Duchac said, officers were “trashing” booths and ripping open boxes looking for drugs. People gathered around to watch, with some filming police and yelling at them.

“It was ugly,” Duchac said.

Meltzer said she did not know details of how the operation was conducted and that the task force commander was not available for comment Tuesday.

Hempcon, which holds conventions around the country, is meant to be an educational event where vendors can meet customers and patients can find information. Its website says attendees are not allowed to bring drugs or drug paraphernalia.

Organizers didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. On their Facebook page, they wrote in a post Monday: “We deeply regret the unfortunate police activity during the Las Vegas Hempcon over the weekend of May 15-17. It was a blow to our Vendors, the attendees, the Community as a whole, and to us as well. It is sad that our industry is subject to such indiscriminate and prejudicial behavior by law enforcement, but we as a Community will PERSEVERE and not let our forward momentum be derailed by them.”

Solis, who has organized another marijuana-themed event, said police told her such crackdowns are a backlash to an event last year called Hempfest. After that event, Solis said, police were embarrassed by photos that showed people smoking marijuana while officers simply watched.

“You can thank your buddies at Hempfest for all this backlash,” she recalled one officer saying when she met with police after applying for her event permit.

Sturtsman said police crackdowns could pose challenges, since soon-to-open legal dispensaries are expecting many of their customers to be from out of state. And some of those patients might not realize using a legal drug is outlawed in public places.

“I think it’s going to be a growing problem in Las Vegas when these dispensaries open up … where can these individuals consume cannabis in a safe place?” he said.

Las Vegas’ big ‘party’ banner irritates county leaders

The big banner in the shadow of the Stratosphere seems harmless enough.

At 100 feet wide and nearly 30 feet tall, the city of Las Vegas’ latest attempt to promote downtown tourism is sized to draw eyeballs as it spans Las Vegas Boulevard at Sahara Avenue, easily seen by the estimated 82,000 Rock in Rio visitors over the weekend.

It’s also purple enough to attract the ire of Clark County, where at least one commissioner fears the $35,000, city-built sign may obscure red traffic lights and create a hazardous distraction for drivers leaving county territory on Las Vegas Boulevard.

City officials say the three-week-old banner — which is emblazoned with yellow, human-height text inviting northbound tourists to “Keep the party going!” — isn’t coming down anytime soon. In fact, they plan to turn its frame into a permanent gateway feature much like Reno’s famous “Biggest Little City” arch.

Until then, few would call the banner the sexiest or most attention-grabbing sign ever seen near the Strip; though at the moment, it may be the most talked about.

“If you’re the first vehicle in the line, I could see where it could be difficult to pick the street light out there if you’re approaching it,” County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said of the sign on Monday. “The last thing we need is another distraction for drivers.”

Sisolak and other commissioners say the banner — which plugs the city’s upcoming Helldorado Days rodeo on the side facing north —meets some of the criteria that recently kept them from backing legislation that would have cleared a path for commercial advertising on the Strip’s pedestrian bridges.

The county’s ban on such signs was reaffirmed in February following testimony from Las Vegas police and the county’s Public Works director, who said traffic signals could get “lost in the advertising.”

But Las Vegas Community Development Director Jorge Cervantes said those concerns were taken into account before the banner’s construction. He said independent structural engineers consulted on the project and city traffic engineers checked the sign’s potential impact on drivers.

He said they found nothing to worry about, adding the sign’s colors would have to be “louder” to qualify as a driving distraction.

Perhaps the world’s most famous such distraction lies only four miles south of the new banner, where Clark County’s glittering, diamond-shaped “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign greets millions of tourists a year.

That sign cost around $4,000 to build in 1959 — a little bit less than what Las Vegas spent on its banner, after accounting for inflation.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman — who was abruptly dis-invited from a key gifting ceremony as part of a recent, widely publicized flap with the county over her unannounced appearances at the welcome sign and other Strip landmarks — figures her city’s new downtown banner is a good investment.

Officials recognized Goodman as the driving force behind the project, which was inspired by an arch inviting visitors to San Diego’s much-lauded Gaslamp District, in the “Historic heart of San Diego.”

The banner, she added, was never intended as a poke in the county’s eye.

“We just want our visitors to have a wonderful time,” Goodman said. “These young folks really want to interact closely in taverns and restaurants. It’s a different type of entertainment than what you get (on the Strip).”

Nevada sees more than 3,500 distraction-related accidents every year, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.

An NDOT spokesman said his agency “would not welcome” another roadside distraction on a street already packed with giant LED signs advertising risque shows and elaborate water fountain shows. He wouldn’t say if he thinks the city’s new banner qualifies as such a distraction.

At a nearby bus stop at the corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Boulevard, the sign drew shrugs of indifference from locals already accustomed to flashy signage.

In time, the sign will blend in with the others, said Louis Perez, a Las Vegas painter who moved from Phoenix a year ago.

But he commended the effort to remind passersby that Las Vegas is, indeed, a place to party.

“It’s still something to see,” Perez said. “It’s Vegas.”

Jeb Bush, a GOP presidential contender for 2016, will hold a town hall meeting in Reno Wednesday morning

jeb-george-bushFormer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a GOP presidential contender for 2016, will hold a town hall meeting in Reno Wednesday morning at the Evelyn Mount Community Center, 1301 Valley Road.

The program is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. and the doors will be open to the public at 8:30 a.m.

Bush is the third GOP presidential candidate to visit Northern Nevada during the early-campaign cycle. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., visited Reno earlier this year and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke at the Nevada GOP Central Committee meeting in Carson City recently.

Bush is scheduled to speak at the Clark County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner Wednesday evening in Las Vegas.

Sentencings are beginning of the end in Vegas HOA scandal

Longtime political strategist Steve Wark has been waiting more than 3½ years to be sentenced in the massive scheme to take over and defraud Las Vegas-area homeowners associations.

On Monday the former Nevada Republican Party chairman and four other defendants who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud in late 2011 will finally hear their fate in federal court.

They are among more than two dozen cooperating defendants who will be sentenced in the next two weeks in the largest public corruption case ever brought by federal authorities in Southern Nevada. In all, 38 people have pleaded guilty in the multimillion-dollar scheme, which involved as many as 11 HOAs between 2003 and 2009, according to federal prosecutors.

The long-running investigation, spearheaded by the Justice Department’s fraud section in Washington, became public in September 2008 with FBI-led raids across the valley.

The sentencings of Wark and others this week were put on hold after the January 2013 federal indictment of the scheme’s mastermind, former construction company boss Leon Benzer, and 10 others. The plea deals of the cooperating defendants called for them to testify for the government at the trial, so they couldn’t be sentenced until all of the cases were settled.

Benzer and six co-defendants ended up pleading guilty. Only four defendants, including one of his former lawyers, Keith Gregory, went to trial, with all convicted on conspiracy and wire fraud charges in March. They are to be sentenced in June.

Attorneys, former police officers, HOA community managers and private investigators who played roles in the elaborate scheme are among the defendants preparing to receive punishment in the case over the next two weeks.

More defendants, including Benzer and his right-hand man, Ralph Priola, are to be sentenced this summer. Benzer is likely to be slapped with a large share of the $25 million in restitution prosecutors are seeking.

Three defendants who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate died before they could be sentenced. Attorney David Amesbury hanged himself, and Darryl Scott Nichols and Arnold Myers, both HOA board members paid by Benzer, died of natural causes.

Three other deaths have been linked to the investigation. Construction defects attorney Nancy Quon, who prosecutors alleged helped bankroll the takeover conspiracy, committed suicide in March 2012. Former Las Vegas police officer Christopher Van Cleef, a Benzer-friendly board member, shot himself to death days after the FBI raid in 2008, and Robbi Castro, another board member close to Benzer, died of a drug overdose in 2010. All three were not charged in the case.

In a sentencing memorandum in Wark’s case last week, prosecutors summarized the sweeping scheme, which fell apart after the raid.

“Benzer directed the purchase of condominiums at targeted HOAs through a network of straw buyers and systematically took control of several HOA boards through a pattern of fraud and deceit, including the rigging of HOA board elections,” prosecutors wrote.

The goal was to funnel lucrative construction defect repair contracts to Benzer.

At Vistana in southwest Las Vegas, where the scheme was carried out to its fullest, Benzer and his Silver Lining Construction Company swindled homeowners out of $7 million earmarked for construction defect work that was never done, according to prosecutors.

As Vistana’s HOA president, Wark played a critical role in steering money to Benzer during a September 2007 meeting he orchestrated at Benzer’s request.

Wark, the first of the wave of defendants to plead guilty, laid it all out on the witness stand during Gregory’s trial, earning himself a lighter sentence. In court papers, prosecutors seek a prison term of 8 to 14 months for Wark, with three years of supervised release after prison but no payment of restitution. Probation officers recommended as much as 21 months behind bars.

Citing Wark’s remorse and extensive cooperation with prosecutors, defense lawyer Angela Dows in court papers asks for only five years of supervised release.

Dows said Wark met with prosecutors a dozen times for more than 26 hours over the past five years.

The stress of the case has taken a toll on Wark, Dows wrote. In 2013 he was hospitalized with “heart issues,” and last year he went through a divorce with his wife of 10 years.

Prosecutors later in the week plan to ask for leniency for Benzer’s former girlfriend, Marcella Triana, who also was quick to assist the government.

Triana, who worked at Silver Lining Construction and was a straw buyer and “puppet” board member at Chateau Versailles, held a “privileged position near the top of the pyramid-shaped conspiracy” and fulfilled her end of the plea deal by testifying at the trial. She consistently provided the government with valuable information during the investigation, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. Much of her cooperating came while still in a relationship with Benzer.

Prosecutors seek one year behind bars, three years of supervised release after prison and no restitution for Triana.

Her lawyer, Todd Leventhal, argues for probation. In court papers he said Triana “incurred a significant risk of danger as a result of her assistance” in the HOA investigation, and that her cooperation in related cases will be brought up at her sentencing Wednesday. He did not detail the related cases.

Deborah Genato, a community management company employee who testified at the trial, is also getting a break from prosecutors, who plan to suggest up to 6 months in prison. As part of her plea deal, Genato agreed to pay $30,000 in restitution to homeowners associations.

Benzer’s cousin, Edward Lugo, who pleaded guilty in October 2011, might not get off so lightly.

Lugo, who lives in Southern California, was a Benzer-controlled HOA board member at Park Avenue and paid the bills of recruited straw buyers. Prosecutors are seeking a reduced sentence in light of his help, but still want 27 to 33 months in prison.

They said in court papers they think Lugo “forgot” certain key facts during his trial testimony, possibly to protect his cousin, Benzer’s half-sister Edith Gillespie.

With donors on his mind, Ted Cruz heads to Vegas

Featured Image -- 20667Washington (CNN)Ted Cruz has a lot on the line this weekend.

The Texas firebrand, who launched his presidential campaign last month, isn’t breaking through in most early polls of the 2016 race. But when he travels to Las Vegas to speak to the Republican Jewish donors he has aggressively courted, he’ll be on top.

The only other Republicans with presidential aspirations expected to attend the Republican Jewish Coalition spring meeting are former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. They’re all at the bottom of most polls. And the top-ranking Republicans, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, won’t be around.

That gives Cruz a key opening to prove to some of the most prominent Republican donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, that he’s the most electable, pro-Israel Republican in a crowd of candidates making the exact same pitch. The coalition is deeply split, with large groups of donors interested in Cruz, Bush, Walker and Rubio, according to a half-dozen RJC members. Consensus seems far in the distance — if it will ever arrive at all.

“I don’t think at this time there is any larger faction than any other,” said Ron Bloom, a California GOP donor on the group’s board who is undecided. “I’ll commit to four of five of them financially because I love them all — and we’ll see who comes out on top.”

The four dozen board members in attendance this weekend includes some of the biggest names in the pro-Israel donor network, including Adelson, potential Rubio finance chair Wayne Berman, top Bush bundler Sam Fox, and hedge fund manager Paul Singer. And other Israel supporters — incensed by President Obama’s recent negotiations with Iran and his perceived snubbing of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — will draw record attendance, with about 700 total people expected to attend the spring meeting.

READ: Lynch vote: Why Cruz skipped and McConnell voted yes

Bundlers and other top donors will roam Adelson’s Venetian Resort and Hotel, likely crossing paths not just with Cruz and Perry but also with the surrogates that other candidates are sending to rub elbows with the RJC board members on their behalf.

Walker is sending his chief foreign policy aide, Mike Gallagher, to the meeting, as an ambassador, according to someone familiar with the event. And Bush has an even better surrogate: his older brother, President George W. Bush, who appointed many of the group’s leadership to plum assignments during his presidency and will speak Saturday evening.

“There is a tremendous connection not only with George W. Bush the man, but the George W. Bush who has been probably the best president that Israel has ever had,” said Florence Shaprio, a former Texas state senator who is supporting Jeb Bush. “There’s not a strong — there’s a very strong — leaning toward George W. Bush.”

Another shadow Cruz will have to overtake this weekend: 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who some RJC members still think can be convinced to make a third run for the office. Romney won a coveted spot at the Thursday evening private dinner at Sheldon Adelson’s home, joining Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus.

“I know he would be the best of the best,” said board member Martin Selig, who is hoping the Jewish group could draft him, though Romney has continually rebuffed others’ entreaties.

Yet Cruz has his allies in the group, led by Dallas businessman and longtime Cruz friend Adam Ross, according to several RJC members. Cruz has also deputized Nick Muzin, a political aide to Cruz who is Orthodox, as his top pitchman to the Jewish community.

“Jewish voters are approaching 2016 very strategically and they want to support someone that can win the nomination and can beat Hillary — and we’ve been successfully making that argument,” said Muzin.

READ: Ted Cruz: I still oppose gay marriage

Cruz remains a somewhat less divisive figure in the RJC community than he does within the broader Republican electorate: Many RJC members have been enamored by the Texan’s ideological commitment to Israel, with several recalling how Cruz walked off the stage at an gala in September where some crowd members heckled and booed him for his advocacy.

“If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you,” he told the crowd.

Nevertheless, RJC leadership is looking for Cruz to convert on that goodwill this weekend. He has spoken to the board before privately, but this is his first audition in front of the entire roll of supporters.

“If somebody has the opportunity to catch fire and doesn’t catch fire, that’s notable,” said one RJC board member, who asked not to be identified.

Cruz will attend Shabbat dinner on Friday evening and speak Saturday morning, as will Perry, Pence and Ohio senator Rob Portman. Graham and House Speaker John Boehner will address members in the afternoon. That’s when Cruz and Perry will be quickly hustling across two time zones to address an audience of very different beliefs at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.

But much of the Cruz overtures will happen before he even speaks — on the sidelines at cocktail parties at receptions where deals are made and commitments secured. Cruz is scheduled to meet privately with several RJC board members, Muzin said.

Cruz will likely have his sights trained on Adelson in particular, who spent at least $100 million in 2012 — including some against Cruz in his Texas primary — and has not yet decided which Republican candidate to support in this year’s primary, according to Republicans familiar with his thinking. Cruz has huddled with Adelson several times in the past few months.

But this weekend, every Republican donor gets a chance for one more once-over before they meet the Republican field in full at a forum in December in Washington. By then, the Iowa caucuses won’t be far off.

Any hard endorsement at this point — no matter how hard Cruz or his Republican rivals pursue them or how sincerely donors consider their overtures — aren’t likely to come after one weekend, though. RJC members said they plan to smile and play polite.

“When there’s presidential politics in the works, everybody sort of stands up and salutes,” said Shapiro.

Further Future festival scrambles for new location in Las Vegas

For those lucky enough to be invited, the inaugural Further Future festival promises a “carefully curated” slate of musicians, business and cultural leaders, chefs, mixologists and masseuses on “an incredible piece of land within a 45 minute drive of Las Vegas airport.”

The slick website for the three-day event, May 1-3, describes it as “a shared experience that’s beyond our future.” Think Burning Man, only smaller and more exclusive.

There’s just one problem: With less than two weeks until Further Future is set to begin, organizers are scrambling to secure a new location for the festival after apparently giving up on their preferred site.

Friday afternoon, representatives for Further Future moved to withdraw their request for a county permit to host the event for up to 5,000 people at an old mining site near Lake Mead, 35 miles east of Las Vegas.

The Clark County Commission was set to review the group’s application for a special use permit this Wednesday. But even if commissioners signed off on the plans, organizers faced the prospect of throwing a party with no way to get there.

Though the festival’s website carefully avoids identifying a specific location for the event, all the permits sought so far concerned the Anniversary Mine, a 215-acre tract sandwiched between Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Bureau of Land Management’s Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area.

Earlier this month, both the BLM and the National Park Service denied the festival a commercial use permit for the roads leading across public land to the privately owned mine.

Bureau officials said they rejected the permit application because they didn’t have enough time to review it. The Park Service gave a different reason: a continuing dispute with the mine’s owner over control of the dirt track leading to and through his property.

Robert Ford made headlines in February when he closed his portion of Anniversary Mine Road, cutting off public access to a popular hiking trail through a nearby slot canyon.

Ford said he was forced to close the road because it was dangerous and because his insurance carrier was threatening to drop him if he continued to let people cross his land to get to Anniversary Narrows. He has offered to pave the entire road — including where it crosses federal land — at his own expense, but the BLM and Park Service said no.

Now, Ford said, federal officials are trying to spoil the party he hoped to cash in on.

“If they block this, they’re taking away my ability to use my property,” he said. “The BLM should pay the bill.”

On April 10, Ford sued the federal government for not allowing him to fix the road, effectively denying him use of his mine.

He previously tried to improve the road by having it resurfaced with asphalt chips, but the work drew a warning letter from the BLM.

Christie Vanover, spokeswoman for the Park Service at Lake Mead, confirmed last week that there is “an open investigation regarding considerable unauthorized damage and changes made to the backcountry road.”

That’s why Further Future was denied permission to use that route through the park to get to Ford’s property, she said.

There is no sign of any trouble on the festival’s website. Amid pictures and videos of glammed-up models parading through the desert at the Anniversary Mine site, festivalgoers can read about the amenities and purchase some of the packaged experiences still available.

The cheapest tier of tickets have already sold out at $200 each, as have a few “boutique camping options” such as the private, air-conditioned tents and the large group suite that sleeps up to 10 people.

You can still reserve meals and drinks and book “wellness experiences” at the pop-up spa. Some on-site parking will be offered, but most attendees are expected to come and go via shuttle buses.

The nonstop, three-day party is only open to invited guests and successful applicants age 21 and older who “share our sense of mindfulness and optimism, and will bring great energy, love and respect to our gathering,” the website says. Those who attend are encouraged to dress in costume as their Further Future selves.

The festival is the brainchild of a group called Robot Heart, an art and music collective known for the parties it throws during the annual Burning Man counterculture gathering in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

The slate of entertainment includes several dozen musical acts performing throughout the weekend on multiple stages, including some well-known names on the electronic, ambient and dance music scenes. For its “Vision Series” on May 2, the festival has lined up a host of art, science and business luminaries, including Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

All that’s left to determine is where everyone will meet for this “incredible, memorable and curated experience.”

Attempts to contact Further Future organizers, who have gone to some lengths not to identify themselves by name, were unsuccessful. Las Vegas attorney Alicia Ashcraft, who was representing the group in its quest for county and federal permits, did not respond to several requests for comment.

Ford said the Further Future folks have been doing prep work on his land for the past two months, but they did have a backup plan if the site couldn’t be used for some reason. He didn’t offer any specifics, just that the alternate location is on an “Indian reservation” outside Las Vegas, where federal permits and county liquor licenses are not an issue.

Whatever the festival’s organizers plan to do, they will need to do it quickly. With less than two weeks to go, Further Future is at risk of turning into the coolest party no one ever went to.

SOURCE: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/further-future-festival-scrambles-new-location

Las Vegas Police officer Richard Scavone charged in battery of suspected prostitute

hookerA Las Vegas police officer is on paid leave after being charged with roughing up a woman suspected of being a prostitute.

Metro officer Richard Scavone, 48, is accused of using unlawful force on the woman, the Clark County district attorney’s office announced Tuesday. He faces a misdemeanor battery charge.

He has not been arrested.

Scavone stopped a woman about 5 a.m. Jan. 6 near where Tropicana Avenue crosses Inter­state 15, the district attorney said in a news release. The officer said the woman was loitering, trying to solicit work as a prostitute.

When Scavone told her to move, the DA said, the woman refused and threw a cup of coffee over her shoulder — not in the officer’s direction. The officer then got out of his car to arrest the woman and “used force and violence against her, which was not justified or required for purposes of his investigation,” the DA’s office said in a news release.

Scavone’s supervisors investigated his use of force and deemed it was “not only excessive, it was unreasonable,” Las Vegas police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said Tuesday during a news conference. Metro submitted the case to the district attorney’s office for prosecution.

McMahill said Scavone was wearing a body camera during the incident but that footage would not be released yet.

“I can tell you that she did have a mark on her face at the conclusion of this incident,” McMahill said. “It appears to have come from the interaction with officer Scavone.”

The woman Scavone is accused of battering initially was charged with littering and loitering, McMahill said, but those charges have been dismissed.

“Police officers deal with a wide variety of situations, and the vast majority handle themselves in a professional and appropriate manner,” District Attorney Steve Wolfson said in a written statement. “For those who take it too far, there are consequences.”

In March 2010, Scavone was placed on routine paid administrative leave after shooting a burglary suspect.

McMahill would not comment on Scavone’s use of force prior to January. Scavone has worked at Metro for eight years.

The same year Scavone shot someone, he received a Metro award for “Meritorious Service,” given “for a highly unusual accomplishment under adverse conditions with some degree of hazard to life,” according to the department website.

Contact Kimberly De La Cruz at Kdelacruz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Find her on Twitter: @KimberlyinLV.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Sciscento get a pie in the face

Ashley Michelle Agerbeek struggled through DUI court for more than a year, so much so that Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Sciscento nearly kicked her out of the moderate offenders program.

She failed drug and alcohol tests twice, spending most of the months of February and May in 2014 in the Clark County Detention Center. The program requires regular addiction classes, court appearances and random drug and alcohol tests.

Joseph Sciscento pie face“I was for termination,” Sciscento said. “I didn’t think she would make it. She was one of these people who was fighting me left and right.”

Whenever he told her she was doing well, she would mess up again.

Even her mother, Gaby Agerbeek, said she was worried. Las Vegas, with access to all vices at all hours, isn’t the easiest town to stay sober.

“You have to be really disciplined not to get caught up in gambling and drinking,” she said.

In late 2013, Ashley Agerbeek was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, improper lane change and operating a vehicle without registration among other counts. It was her third DUI.

She knew she had a problem with booze, blacking out and making bad decisions, but she said she didn’t have control of herself.

As the 25-year-old struggled through rehabilitation, the judge threatened to send her to jail for six months. She would lose her house and car and probably the spa that she runs. She would have to start her life over.

Agerbeek sobered up during her last stint in jail, and she hasn’t had a drink since.

“I started taking things seriously,” she said. “I decided to challenge myself. I found a peace in myself. I like being sober, and I learned to love who I am sober. I don’t want to go backwards.”

Because of the DUI, she lost her license for an undetermined amount of time and spent more than $10,000 on her case. Whenever she is able to drive again, she’ll have to pay monthly fees for a Breathalyzer on her steering wheel.

She said she has mended relationships with family and changed the friends with whom she surrounds herself.

Late Friday morning, a pink, yellow and white Hello Kitty cake sat on the judge’s bench, waiting for Agerbeek’s name to be called. She was about to graduate from the yearlong intensive program. Sciscento said she has become a leader among her peers.

Nearly everyone in the packed courtroom — clerks, public defenders, prosecutors, court marshals and fellow judges — held cellphones up to snap photos and video of what was about to happen.

Two other people received certificates and cupcakes before the judge called Agerbeek.

She walked up with her mother and stepfather.

“I’m getting nervous now,” Sciscento said, standing on a drop cloth in the middle of the courtroom. “To see how much you’ve changed is amazing. I’m very proud.”

Months ago, when Agerbeek was struggling through the program, the judge promised her a special treat if she graduated. He agreed to let her throw the cake in his face.

“I will do whatever it takes to help you graduate,” Sciscento said.

Agerbeek learned Friday that the judge, whom she called one of her biggest motivators, stuck to his word.

“Thank you,” she said, reaching for the cake and nearly dropping it on the floor. “This is an honor.”

She mashed the cake in the judge’s face — twice. He extended his arms for a hug, and she ducked.

None of the cake appeared to fall on the judge’s robe, which he said wasn’t the one he normally wears.

Icing dripped from his face and hands, and Sciscento needed to wash up before addressing the rest of the people in the program.

“It’s not like this is moisturizing cream,” he said. “Court will be in recess for five minutes.”

Ex-Metro lieutenant testifies he helped rig HOA elections

A retired Las Vegas police lieutenant who pleaded guilty in the massive scheme to take over homeowners associations said Friday he was testifying for the government to “right a wrong.”

“I know I was wrong,” Morris Mattingly told a federal jury. “I’m man enough to admit it.”

Mattingly, who once headed security for a construction company owned by Leon Benzer, the scheme’s mastermind, testified he helped rig elections and voted for Benzer’s financial interests as a key member of the Vistana HOA board in two separate stints between 2004 and 2008.

Mattingly is one of 37 people, including Benzer, who pleaded guilty in the scheme, which federal prosecutors allege defrauded as many as 11 HOAs of millions of dollars.

Las Vegas attorney Keith Gregory, one of Benzer’s former attorneys, and three other remaining defendants are standing trial on conspiracy and fraud charges in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge James Mahan.

The other defendants are Benzer’s half-sister Edith Gillespie, who prosecutors say recruited straw buyers; Salvatore Ruvolo, who prosecutors say was a Benzer-controlled HOA board member at Park Avenue and Chateau Nouveau; and David Ball, who Benzer is alleged to have placed on the Chateau Nouveau board.

Mattingly’s testimony came at the end of the second week of testimony. Prosecutors said they expect to wrap up their case by Tuesday, which will give the defense a chance to present witnesses.

Mattingly, who spent more than 20 years on the police force, said he was asked to bring “a bunch” of phony ballots to community management firms for two HOA elections during the scheme. The first time he botched the delivery and fell out of favor with Benzer, eventually losing his security job with Silver Lining Construction and his place to stay at condominium owned by Benzer at another development.

But months later, he said, he was approached by Benzer’s right-hand man, Ralph Priola, and asked to run again for a seat on the Vistana HOA board.

Mattingly told the jury he agreed to do it on the condition he get back the $4,000-a-month salary he was making as the construction company’s security director.

As a result of another fixed election, Mattingly testified, he was elected again and served for several months, receiving $4,000 in cash each month in an envelope from Priola.

Earlier last week, Priola, who also pleaded guilty, spent two days on the witness stand laying out the scheme for prosecutors. Benzer does not have a cooperation agreement with prosecutors. He is on both government and defense witness lists, but is unlikely to be called because his lawyer has said he would assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when questioned in court. Benzer is waiting to be sentenced.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ.