MEDIA RELEASE: REGARDING LEGAL COMPLAINT AGAINST GRIFFIN, Mayor of Reno (14 Nov, 1997)
PLAINTIFF: GUY FELTON, Citizen of Reno
Corrupt government can only exist when citizens permit corrupt public officials to assume a mantle of impunity.
Reno Mayor "Jeff" Griffin must be removed from office well before the 1998 Reno meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. He is an embarrassment to our city, to Nevada, to the Republican Party, and to honest, dedicated public servants everywhere.
Reno cries for a mayor who deserves local and national respect. Griffin does NOT qualify! He must be replaced with a person who will put maximum effort into delivering clean municipal government.
Griffin was recently found guilty of conflict of interest by Nevada's so-called Ethics Commission although the Commissioners tip-toed through the tulips and used less abrasive language in dealing with their fellow politician. This conflict involves a contract between Griffin's business company and the Reno/Tahoe International Airport which is overseen by eight trustees, four of whom are appointed by ... and are accountable to ... Griffin and the Reno City Council. To quote citizen activist Sam Dehne, "Griffin was caught with both hands in the cookie jar."
Further, Griffin is responsible for one or more secret meetings which led to an illegal contract between the Reno City Council and a corporation headed by Oliver McMillan. Nevada's open meeting law was disregarded and broken by involved public officials in an incredibly arrogant manner. Councilwoman Judy Pruett Herman was the ONLY council member who voted AGAINST the McMillan contract; she did NOT participate in any involved secret meeting(s).
Secret meetings and disregard of due process are nothing less than assassins of open, honest, trustworthy government. Public officials who participate in or condone secret meetings are enemies of the American vision for which countless Americans have given their lives .
The McMillan contract, pertaining to redevelopment of downtown Reno, is highly controversial and involves millions of public dollars; it must be declared null and void. Any penalties demanded by the McMillan company must be paid by those public officials who participated in "approving" this illegal contract. Such manner included sham public discussion and a "window dressing" public vote by the council AFTER the Mayor and most members of the Reno City Council had already decided to approve the contract.
Public officials are NOT empowered to engage in illegal activities. When they do, they must bear financial and other consequences and not the taxpayers whom they have betrayed.
American citizens have a clear right to extend their trust only to officials who appreciate and respect such trust. Abuse of political influence and the power of public office for personal gain simply can not and must not be permitted.
American citizens have a clear right to honest, open government under law. When due process is circumvented by secret meetings and other "backroom" political tactics, our form of government and our American ideals are trashed. It is the birthright and obligation of American citizens to challenge any appearance of corruption in government ... especially when checks and balances within government are not enforced by appropriate public officials. Reno
City Attorney Patricia Lynch often seems to be asleep at the switch; she may well be the focus of a future legal complaint.
Further, we must take a hard look at public officials, lobbyists, and other persons who make excuses for Griffin's improper activities. This will reveal dimensions of the problem we have with rogue government in Reno ... and will indicate direction for further legal action.
Plaintiff, Guy Felton, is indebted to Samuel T. Bull, Esquire, for his willingness to make this legal action possible. Mr. Bull is a well-experienced attorney whose career includes having once served as a Deputy Reno City Attorney.
In other perfidious news of the day
Who will Host Reno's Conference of Mayors?
AN OPEN LETTER
Concerned Citizens League
Washington Station Box 50093
Reno, NV 89513
To: Mr. J. Thomas Cochran, Exec. Dir.
United States Conference of Mayors
1620 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Dear Mr. Cochran:
Please be forewarned that Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin may possibly be
removed from office prior to the USCM's meeting in Reno next year.
He will shortly be the focus of legal action questioning his seeking and
accepting a government contract for his private business, a clear
conflict of interest. Such contract was awarded, in part, by four
political subordinates ... City of Reno appointees to the governing
board of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. You might feel it
appropriate to ask Mr. Griffin for his view of this matter, in writing;
the undersigned would appreciate a copy of such document. Further, would
it be possible to obtain a mailing list of the nation's mayors from you?
The USCM's Reno meeting will present an appropriate opportunity to study
the politics of a gambling town, especially the mechanics of casino
money maintaining tight control over a majority of local politicians
with predictable results. The question of significance: Do communities
across the United States intend to permit gambling operations to take
control of their political structures ... and to literally destroy our
American vision of government of, by, and for the people?
Guy P. Felton III
Listed, "Who's Who in Finance & Industry"
Vice Chair, Concerned Citizens League of Northern Nevada
Reno City Council, Reno's Washoe County Airport Authority, Governor Bob Miller, Lt Governor Lonnie Hammargren, The Las Vegas Citizen Internet Magazine, Nevada Ethics Commission and Attorney General, Senator Richard Bryan, Senator Harry Reid, Congressman Jim Gibbons, The Reno Gazette, Reno News & Review