Is It a Freaky Ethics Commission?
You Be the Judge
By Sam Dehne
Below is the word-for-word transcript from the June 10, 1999 Ethics Hearing against the scandal-plagued Jeff Griffin, the man posing as Reno mayor and the Reno Airport. A Federal Lawsuit has been filed against the Nevada Ethics Commission by Sam Dehne (retired Air Force officer), by the American Civil Liberties Union, and by Reno civil rights attorney, Jeff Dickerson.
This is exactly the type of Constitution-molesting that the ACLU was originally created for.
Result of Sam's Federal Lawsuit against the Ethcomm the Judge ruled that the Ethcomm has been operating in violation of the United States Constitution.
In Judge Hagen's Conclusion of Sept, 2001, he states:
"Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that a judgment be entered that NRS 281.525(1) and
281.551(2)(a) violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States
Constitution and that permanent injunctions be issued enjoining these statutes
Kudos! to Judge Hagen and Judge Cooke!!!
Las Vegas Review Journal
On 8 August, 2001 a Federal Judge-Magistrate found the Nevada Ethics
Commission to have been in gross violation of the Law and of the U. S. Constitution.
The Federal judge chastised the Ethics Commission for having used illegal
laws to fine Reno Watchdog Sam Dehne $5,000 (AND sic the DA on him).
The ethcomm ignored the "defendant" Public Officials' numerous documented
lies and instead wrongfully tried to make people believe that Watchdog Sam lied.
Sam did not lie. Sam provided reams of vidence that proved his "Request for
Opinion" was right on the mark.
Sam had requested that the ethcomm look into perceived improprieties
perpetrated by 2 Reno Public Officials.
Instead of doing the honorable thing and investigating these deceptive
Public Officials, the ethcomm, after hearing over 45 minutes of compelling
testimony and evidence, instead turned on Sam... ordering him out of the
his own Hearing... and conspiring with the 2 "defendants" as to how to punish Sam.
The Hearing was a veritable WHITEWASHING Kangaroo Court...
as the ethcomm joined with Reno mayoral imposter Jeff Griffin (and his
taxpayer-funded attorney) and aviation amateur airport director Krys Bart
(and her taxpayer-funded attorney) to mutilate Sam's Civil Rights.
They joined in this conspiracy to retaliate against Sam's
ongoing Reno Watchdogging.
Recent Newspaper reports about the Judge-Magistrate's decision
should have said something to the effect:
"Even though Dehne did not lie, a federal judge has ruled that
citizens should not have to guarantee every statement when
bringing valid charges against govt officials... as long
as the statements were not premeditated or malicious."
The supposed "lie" that the ethcomm relied on to try to divert the case away from
what truly appeared to be a case of govt corruption... was when Sam
wrote that these 2 Reno public political figures (Griffin and Bart) flew together
to an illegal meeting in Dallas. The fact of whether or not they flew "together" was
totally irrelevant to the corruption that was perpetrated. Yet the ethcomm
focused on that statement and declared it to be a lie.
Please read the Transcript and decide for yourselves.
Subsequent signed documents state that these 2 grotesque Public Officials did
fly together... with citizens testifying to Bart later saying
that "Griffin escorted her to Dallas."
Heavy Kudos are sent to the Judge-Magistrate for making
an honorable finding! And to the ACLU and attorneys Allen
Lichtenstein and Jeff Dickerson... for helping show her the way.
MORE BREAKING NEWS:
COLUMN: Steve Sebelius
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
"Those Tiny Liberties"
It was a small story, buried in the Saturday
newspaper, as most stories unrelated to terrorism are these days. But it's
an important story anyway, about an entirely different kind of terrorism.
Under a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge David Hagen, the state Ethics
Commission cannot fine a person for making a false or vexatious
complaint about a public officer. Or, to put it another way, the commission
cannot abridge the freedom of speech or the right of the people to petition
the government for a redress of grievances.
That sounds very familiar. Yes, I'm sure I've read that before somewhere.
The problem is, the Legislature didn't, when it initially gave the
commission the ability to fine people who complain falsely about elected
officials. And let's be honest about who those complainers are going to
be, after all: Government gadflies, for whom "vexatious purpose" is a
reason to get out of bed in the morning.
So when Reno gadfly Sam Dehne got out of bed in 1999 and alleged that
Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin had a conflict of interest in his dealings with
Airport Authority of Washoe County Executive Director Krys Bart, the
commission took umbrage. Not only was there no conflict, the board ruled,
but Dehne said what he said to vex Griffin. The next thing he knew, he was
facing a $5,000 fine.
But, like so many other First Amendment cases here in Nevada, the
federal courts stepped in with a measure of common sense when no one
else was prepared to show any.
First, federal Magistrate Judge Valerie Cooke and later Hagen ruled that
the statutes -- which ban making false statements to the commission to
get them to render an opinion, and which allow fines for making
statements in bad faith or with vexatious purpose -- violated the First
Amendment (free speech) and the 14th Amendment (due process, since
there's no hearing before the commission imposes a fine).
"A statute that regulates speech critical of public officials and which
implicitly requires the critic to guarantee the truth of every factual assertion
made to the commission ... results in self-censorship and discourages
public debate," Cooke wrote. And why do I think that was the general idea
in the first place?
But you see, here in America, it's our God-given right to criticize our public
officials. We can say just about anything we want about the president, the
governor and the mayor. And unless any of those people can prove what
we said is not only false, but was uttered with the knowledge that it was
false or with a reckless disregard for whether it was false or not, they can't
win a defamation lawsuit.
Yes, it's a great country. And I'm not just saying that because I regularly
lampoon public officers in a constitutionally protected way.
What does the Ethics Commission have to say? First, it doesn't look like
they'll appeal. Chairman Todd Russell and attorney Nancy Varnum both
say that changes in the law adopted during the 1999 Legislature make
fining people who complain a thing of the past. Now, a two-member panel
of the full eight-member commission first hears all complaints behind
closed doors, and rejects those that panel members think are without
merit. Since only the full commission can decide to fine someone, false,
vexatious or otherwise imperfect complaints never get to the full
commission, and thus no one will ever get fined. (No one, they say, has
been fined since October 1999, when the new law went into effect.)
"I don't think this commission views its job as being the police of the
general public," Varnum says.
All of which fills American Civil Liberties Union attorney Allen Lichtenstein
with absolutely no confidence whatsoever. What if, Lichtenstein wonders,
a panel decides to give a complaint to the full commission, which then
decides -- in light of fuller testimony or new evidence -- that a complaint
was vexatious after all? With those laws still in place, a person could still
And that raises a curious point: If, as the commission says, the new
procedures make the law moot, why did the Ethics Commission fight so
hard before Cooke and Hagen to keep them in place, Lichtenstein
wonders? "They're being disingenuous in terms of their argument," he
But thanks once again to federal judges, the statutes really are moot, and
the Bill of Rights goes unmolested for another day. Then again, this is
Nevada, and there's always tomorrow.
Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist. His column runs
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at 383-0283 or by e-mail at
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -25 Sept, 2001
A federal judge (click) has ruled that the state Ethics Commission relied on two unconstitutional sections of Nevada law to punish citizens who complain about public officials
U.S. District Judge David Hagen of Reno ruled Friday that the Ethics Commission violated the U.S. Constitution last year when it fined self-proclaimed government watchdog Sam Dehne of Reno $5,000 over a complaint he filed against Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin.
The ruling, upholding a recommendation made last month by U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Cooke, prohibits the commission from enforcing the law.
In a five-page order, Hagen said the law under which the commission fined Dehne was so overbroad that it would let the commission fine people even if the allegations they raise against public officials were true.
Dehne had complained that Griffin violated a prior ethics ruling when he traveled to Dallas with Reno-Tahoe International Airport officials. Griffin owns a transport company and has a contract with the airport to operate the only foreign trade zone at the airport.
Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, hailed the ruling.
"Criticism of public officials is a crucial part of our democracy, and we should not inhibit criticism of officials because there may be statements that aren't entirely accurate. Ensuring robust and wide-ranging political discourse includes maintaining our rights to criticize our public officials," he said.
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
EDITORIAL: Citizen Complaints
On Friday, U.S. District Judge David Hagen ruled that two sections of Nevada
law allowing the Ethics Commission to fine citizens who file false complaints
are unconstitutional. His ruling followed a recommendation handed down last
month by U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Cooke.
Judge Hagen's ruling upholds a time-honored American tradition: the right to
criticize government officials without fear of reprisal. Striking down these
statutes will encourage average citizens to participate more fully in the
day-to-day activities of state and local government.
The case originated in Reno, where Sam Dehne, a frequent critic of city
government, filed a conflict-of-interest complaint against Mayor Jeff Griffin. The
Ethics Commission dismissed the complaint, but it decided that Mr. Dehne's
letter contained "false" information. He was charged with a misdemeanor and
Mr. Dehne sued, claiming that the laws violate the First and 14th Amendments
to the U.S. Constitution. Judge Hagen agreed, based on the 1964 New York
Times v. Sullivan decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
That ruling stated that people who make false accusations against public
officials are protected by the Constitution so long as no "actual malice" was
involved. Judge Hagen agreed with the recommendation of Judge Cooke, who
ruled that the Nevada statute violates the First Amendment because it "results
in self-censorship and discourages public debate."
The Ethics Commission has not decided whether it will appeal the ruling. It
shouldn't. Judge Hagen's decision was a sound one, in line with existing
precedents, that should be upheld by higher courts.
NOTE: There have been numerous reports and editorials about this Monumental Ruling (Click)
Citizen Sam's Free Speech Win
Reno News & Review, 16 August, 2001
By Deidre Pike
Gagging Gadflies - Federal Magistrate is Correct to Muzzle state Ethics Commission
Las Vegas Review Journal
Nevada Ethics Commission laws unconstitutional
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A federal magistrate says the state Ethics Commission has relied on two unconstitutional - sections of Nevada law to punish citizens who complain about public officials.
Judge says Law Limits Free Speech
Penalizing people for making false statements to ethics panel violates First Amendment
(note: Dehne did not make false statements)
Las Vegas Watchdog, Steve Miller, has also had several run-ins with this rotten Nevada Ethics Commission. Read his poignant account of his Kangaroo Court that was wrongfully "arranged" to protect some evil Public Officials... instead of overseeing them. (Story at bottom)
The Nevada (Un)Ethics Commission does to citizens... what it is supposed to protect them against!
lRemember that the purpose of the "Request for Opinion" was to show the Ethics Commission that Griffin and Bart met together somewhere (in violation of an earlier Ethics Decree) and possibly conspired to unilaterally dismantle the long-standing Nevada Air Guard move to Rewana Farms, Reno.
lAnd that the reason for the cancellation of the Air Guard move was to turn the confiscated land into a cargo area for the monopolistic advantage of Griffin and his cohorts.
lOnce it was proven that these 2 public officials met together, the Ethics Commission should have demanded a full-scale investigation to determine the truth behind this deceptive scheme.
lThe transcript below will prove they met... and as an added bonus they were caught in several important perjurious falsehoods. (Stay tuned to this site because we will start addressing the falsehoods... one by one in the future.)
lBUT the Ethics Commission fined ME (the innocent Watchdog, doing his duty) $5,000 !
lYou be the judge. Also please observe that the Ethics Commission (rather than acting like an impartial body) actually assumed the attitude of being Defense Attorney... for Griffin.
lThus it ends up being Sam Dehne (click to email) versus the 10 of "them" in this "battle".
lAlso remember that it is a rule of logic that once a witness is caught perjuring himself... the rest of his or her statements under oath cannot be believed.
lAnd yet... the Ethics Commission fined ME $5,000 !
Note: Citizens can thank an anonymous patriot for his extensive efforts to bring this word for word Transcript to the internet... so the truth can be broadcast to the world.
Note: The various highlights are meant to depict something important or interesting... and often to alert the reader to the fact that what was being said by the defendant "Subjects" was a perverted and/or distorted statement.
Note: See ATTACH A at the end of transcript for an Executive Summary.
PS Contrary to her statement, Sam never shook his fist at Bart.
........................ETHCOMM FAT CATS WALKING ALL OVER CITIZENS
BEFORE THE NEVADA COMMISSION ON ETHICS
OPINION REQUEST # 99-15, 99-16
THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 1999
DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
BUILDING E, ROOM 144
4600 KIETZKE LANE
KAREN YATES, RPR
Nevada CCR No. 195
COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT:
MARY E. BOETSCH, CHAIRMAN
MARIO G. RECANZONE
R. HAL SMITH
COUNSEL FOR THE COMMISSION:
ROBERT F. BONY, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
LEGAL RESEARCHER: LORI MEREDITH
OPINION REQUESTER: SAM DEHNE
COUNSEL FOR MR. GRIFFIN:
MICHAEL K. HALLEY, Reno Deputy City Attorney
COUNSEL FOR MS. BART:
ROBERT H. ULRICH, Sparks Deputy City Attorney
RENO, NEVADA, THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 1999, 8:45 A.M.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: We are here on Opinion Request Numbers 99-15 and 16. Mr. Dehne has written the Commission suggesting they be given one number or combined, because it's all the same thing and he intended them to be the same thing. I don't see any problem in proceeding in that fashion.
MR. ULRICH: May I? Just to make a record on that point, we did not receive a copy of the second opinion. We only received a copy of 99-15.
MS. MEREDITH: That's true.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Now, you started to say they didn't get 99-15 because --
MS. MEREDITH: Ms. Bart is only named on one of them. Mr. Griffin is named on both. I can go ahead.
MR. HALLEY: Madam Chair, we don't object to them having a copy of the request.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: You want to go ahead and make copies?
MS. MEREDITH: Yes.
MR. ULRICH: I will point out, we did get copies.
MR. HALLEY: In fact, Madam Chair, we already provided him with a copy. He has a copy of it.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: You have a copy?
MR. ULRICH: We received it last night.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I understand. You weren't served with it officially?
MR. ULRICH: Yes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: We will proceed now. For purposes of the record, would you each identify yourselves, starting with the gentleman directly in front of me?
MR. HALLEY: -Michael Halley, Deputy City Attorney.
MR. GRIFFIN: Jeff Griffin, City of Reno.
MS. BART: Krys Bart, Executive Director, Airport Authority.
MR. ULRICH: Bob Ulrich, General Counsel.
MR. DEHNE: Sam Dehne, Reno citizen.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Would all of you who are going to testify raise your right hands, please?
(Mr. Dehne, Mr. Griffin, and Ms. Bart were duly sworn.)
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, would you like to proceed?
MR. DEHNE: Yes. Sam Dehne, I'm a Reno citizen. I don't take this duty as a citizen lightly, but I have been watching this. I attend every single government meeting in Northern Nevada. I've watched, I have a special perspective of what's going on. I am going to give you a brief background. And my whole presentation shouldn't take more than ten minutes. The evidence will be provided. I would like to bring a witness, maybe two witnesses in. They will be in here for one to two minutes each, depending on what other people want to do.
A quick background is, if you recall back in 1997, I brought a complaint against Mr. Griffin because he got a contract with the airport. And that was actually in July he appointed people to the airport board. The very next month they gave him a clandestine contract for his private company which will eventually make him a rather rich man. I brought the complaint later in that year. You people digested it, listened to the complaint. On May 29 of last year, basically a year ago right now, May 29, 1998, you came out with a finding and a conclusion that Mr. Griffin was not supposed to basically interface with the airport.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Where does it say that in our opinion?
MR. DEHNE: Your opinion says, we'll go to the aspect of anybody reading the whole document and what he did, and the intertwining with his wheeling and dealing with EDAWN, all of that, the basic conclusion would be by any sane person that he should not be interfacing with the airport.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I was asking, Mr. Dehne, a specific question. Where in our opinion does it say that he cannot interface with the airport?
MR. DEHNE (this is a very long and extemporaneous Speech): It's just a conclusion of your conclusion, saying he has to abstain from voting on any matters with the airport. He has to explain explicitly why he is abstaining from matters with the airport. And anybody with an IQ above 50 has to say if he can't do anything at the City Council, he certainly can't go and do things in private with the people who are the subordinates of the people who he appoints... who hire those people.
So, you've got it the purpose of his abstaining is because he's got a contract with the airport. Therefore., he has no right -- he, according to this conclusion and the document, he has no right; he should not be interfacing with the airport. I mean, that's the pure logic of it all.
Why is he to abstain from appointing the people? Because he's got a contract. If he can't appoint the people, he certainly shouldn't be discussing private matters with those same people that he's appointed. But actually everybody on there was appointed by him because they rubber-stamped his earlier appointments just last Tuesday. So, the people on the board are still his appointees.
At any rate, that leads up to my filing of the complaint. Because basically on the 18th of December, 1998, and then on another couple of dates yet to be determined exactly, early March 1999, Mr. Griffin traveled with the airport trustees and Ms. Bart to Texas. In the meantime, when Ms. Bart was initially hired I warned her more than once in public meetings about this conclusion; that she should not be interfacing with the Mayor, Mr. Griffin, because he has a lucrative contract with the airport. And he'll concede, a lucrative contract with the airport.
Instead they did go off and travel. And that was bad enough in and of itself. That is bad enough of itself. But almost immediately within days after their return from traveling together in opposition, in contradiction to your conclusion, to your finding that he should not interface with the airport, within days a 15-year plan to move the Air Guard, and everybody knows about it, to take over land in Rewana Farms, to move the Air Guard down to Rewana Farms, a 15-year plan. Three million dollars has already been spent. Like that! Just like that, a snap of the fingers, dismantled right after that trip together.
By the way, Mr. Griffin is a cargo man. His company is cargo, trucking. Keep that in mind in the context of this. Immediately after, within days after coming back from that trip, the whole thing is dismantled. The Air Guard, the Air Guard General was there. His jaw dropped. Several board members, their jaws dropped when they heard this.
It was a unilateral decision that she thrust upon them. And then they accepted her decision because if they didn't, they would look like a bunch of blunderbusses because two months before they had just hired her. How can you vote against the biggest decision the person you just hired makes?
So, they voted to accept this boondoggle. And not only did they cancel the Air Guard, within that same week Ms. Bart announced at City Hall that she's going to go cargo. And shortly thereafter, and I don't know how this fits into it, but within days after that or weeks, this U.S.P.S., this Postal thing everybody heard about, dropped in their lap, too. I can't believe these people can be so perfidious and so lucky, too. It's amazing to me. Yet they got the Postal thing which will be the catalyst to start this, which they want to be the catalyst.
We are fighting it tooth and nail. They want it to be the catalyst to make that whole 150 acres of land a cargo area. That plays directly into Mr. Griffin's hands. He has control of the Foreign Trade Zone, 2,000 acres. That's why I came before you almost two years ago complaining about that, because he did that contract, and it was not done properly. I won't go into that detail. At least to a degree, you must have agreed because you told him not to have anything to do with the airport anymore and abstain from voting and explain the reasons why he abstained from voting at Council meetings.
I have three more minutes to go and I will call up a witness. That leads up to where we are, where we got to. That is, the Postal Service. Unilaterally again, the airport under her direction is taking millions of federal dollars and commingling those dollars over into another fund to build a temporary place for this Postal Service, with no public input. I know I'm a little off the mark, but it's part of the context of this whole thing. With no public input; unilaterally, slam dunk.
They are so afraid of all this. Just this morning the airport refused to allow public meetings to be made public. Every other government agency has public meetings. They voted and said specifically because we don't want citizens up there telling the truth. They didn't say it was the truth. They called it grandstanding, but it's the truth. They don't want citizens up there telling the truth.
That's why they voted down (SNCAT) television to expose what's going on down at the airport, because they come up with all these cargo schemes. If anybody was down there, they would be shaking their heads in disgust.
Anyway, this Postal thing is going to be the catalyst, if they are successful in this plot. It's going to be the catalyst to take over even more land down there in the southwest, which is called Rewana Farms. Then they want to move all -- make that all cargo now. Think of it now, it's bad enough, the reason we are here today is specifically -- I mean, this goes on and on, like an octopus. The reason we are here today is due to the fact that among many, many other transgressions by government around here, these two-people, and maybe others violated your ethics conclusion of May 29, 1998, which by any stretch of the imagination says they are not, Griffin is not supposed to interface with the airport and his employee, subemployee. Ms. Bart should not be interfacing with him either because he's got a huge, huge contract with the airport.
Control of the entire Foreign Trade Zone. And so, you say Foreign Trade Zone. Think about all of a sudden this big scheme to go cargo in Reno. Nobody ever dreamed of doing that at the airport. Suddenly we have the two there together. She comes in and says: I'm going to make this decision to make this cargo. Mr. Griffin there, after they come back from their trip -- this is wonderful. They might have been plotting this before; I have no idea. The proof is in the pudding on the time period when they flew together. Against your conclusion, against your decision, against your advice, they flew together, came back and switched this whole thing around.
Whether they switched anything, that isn't exactly the point, but it adds just further credence to your decision. It makes your decision to tell him not to interface with the airport that much more poignant. Look what happened. That is exactly why he was not supposed to interface with the airport. That's exactly why he was not supposed to, because ol what is happening now.
Basically it's going to be the destruction of Reno. The livelihood, the safety, the welfare of Reno citizens, thousands of them, because of his desire to make a lot of money and make a lot of money for his friends and cronies who are mainly in the warehousing business. And Ms. Bart's desire maybe to make a name for herself or to appease him, get reappointed. I have no idea what her goal is on this thing. She is part of this thing. That's why I brought this complaint against her, too. I don't take this duty lightly. I have other things I can be doing with my life. And a lot of people probably wish I would do other things with my life, but I can't stand by and watch this. I know each of you somewhere in your lives, whether it was as high school senior valedictorian, Commissioner, City Council member, once upon a time in your lives you knew what was right and what was wrong. What they have done and are doing is wrong. Go back to basics. Anybody with an ounce of sense knows what they have done is wrong.
Now, I would like to bring in just a couple of witnesses. Take about one minute with them, ask them a question or two. Or would you rather go --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Do you want to hear the witnesses first before you have any questions, if you have any, for Mr. Dehne?
MR. GRIFFIN: I would rather get him over with all at once.
MR. DEHNE: He sure would. He always says that.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Let's get the witnesses in here. That's the only way we are going to do it that way. One at a time, Mr. Dehne, one at a time.
(There was a pause in the proceedings.)
MR. ULRICH: I would like an opportunity to make a comment before the witness testifies.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Wait until he gets back.
MR. ULRICH: I'll wait until Mr. Dehne gets back.
CHAIRWOMAN DOETSCH: We are back on the record. Mr. Dehne? Excuse me. Before you proceed, you wish to make a statement?
MR. ULRICH: Yes, I do. Actually, what I'm going to do is make a request of the Commission. As I understand it, this is a confidential proceeding. My client has not waived confidentiality. It's my understanding Mr. Halley has not waived confidentiality. What I would like from this Commission is an admonition to the witnesses they are not to discuss their testimony outside of this room with anybody else, in order to maintain the confidentiality of this proceeding.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That's fine, and I can do that. But you are aware that once this hearing is over, regardless of the decision, it becomes public.
MR. ULRICH: We will wait until the decision comes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: It's the result of legislative machinations involving a war between the first amendment and people's right to --
MR. ULRICH: Perhaps there's a statute I am not aware of. I looked at the Nevada Revised Statutes last night. I ask for an admonition until the decision comes out.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, call your witness.
MR. DEHNE: I don't know, you want her to sit right there? Is that okay?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: She better come forward. Please raise your right hand.
(Jackie Decker was duly sworn.)
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Please state your name for the record.
MS. DECKER: Jackie Decker.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: At the request of counsel, I will advice you, these are confidential proceedings.
MS. DECKER: Okay.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Okay? You have questions?
MR. DEHNE: Yes. A brief background. Ms. Decker has been to basically every airport meeting. So she is an expert in this area. She listens. She's intelligent. She speaks at these meetings and brings up information that you can, just listening to her you can tell that she's an intelligent person and she is observant. She is an expert witness at least on this issue.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Which issue?
MR. DEHNE: The issue before you relative to the, the issue that --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Just so we're clear here, Mr. Dehne, under Nevada law the definition of an expert does not apply to someone in her position yet. She is not an expert under Nevada law because she is intelligent and goes to meetings.
MR. DEHNE: I'll talk about common sense. She is an expert under the theory of common sense because she has been to all of the meetings. And the issue again, so we won't forget and I won't forget myself, is that you told the Mayor not to interface with the airport.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, we have a bit of time crunch. Ask her the questions.
MR. DEHNE: You asked what the issue was.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I know what the issue is.
MR. DEHNE: I thought you asked what the issue was.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: No.
EXAMINATION BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: The issue is -- the question is, let's just make it very simple. Does, to your knowledge, does Mr. Griffin, public officer Mr. Griffin, have a lucrative contract relative to the Foreign Trade Zone and EDAWN, for customs operations, with his bosses at the airport?
A: Yes, he does.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That is not helpful to the issue before us. We already know about his contract. We don't need her to recite facts we know.
MR. DEHNE: We'll go to the next one.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: In your opinion, you have been to many City Council meetings and almost every airport meeting. In your opinion, does Mr. Griffin possess and exercise political authority over his airport employees?
A: Yes, he does.
Q: And other--
MR. HALLEY: We object to this line of questioning.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Her opinion about his exercise of authority over anybody is not evidence. She doesn't get to give an opinion. She has to give us evidence, facts.
MR. DEHNE: I think she answered yes anyway, because she knows the answer.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Hang on, Mr. Dehne.
MR. DEHNE: We'll go on to the next one.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, that answer we are not going to consider. Her opinion isn't the issue. The facts are the issue. Ask her factual questions.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: Did the Ethics Commission tell Mr. Griffin to not interface with the airport?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That question is --
A: He did.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That question is inappropriate. We know what we told him. We have the opinion. You are supposed to give us evidence that will help us make a decision. Having her --
MR. DEHNE: I'm assuming you don't believe me.
I'm bringing in somebody you might believe for a change.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Two things. You know the rules; you have been here before. You do not talk when we are talking. You do not interrupt.
Number two, make no assumptions about whether we think you're lying or not. The rules are you call witnesses to give us factual evidence, not to browbeat the Mayor or repeat opinions or tell us what we already did. Factual evidence.
MR. DEHNE: It's testimony from an expert. You don't think she's a Nevada expert? She is an expert. Testimony from an expert is a fact. That is evidence.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: No.
MR. DEHNE: It is evidence.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, she is not going to be allowed to testify to what our opinion means. We decide that, not her.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: All right, next. I think we all know what your opinion should have been, anyway. Did Mr. Griffin travel with Ms. Bart to Texas?
A: Yes, he did.
CHAIRWOMAN DOETSCH: How do you know?
MS. DECKER: Well, because it's in their board memo.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Okay. I'm curious as to the basis of your information.
MS. DECKER: All right.
BY MR. DEHNE:
A: Also she appeared at City Council and told the public publicly that she had traveled there, and it was in the newspaper.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Okay. Go ahead.
MR. DEHNE: Well, that's what this is all about, really.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Just ask her a question.
MR. DEHNE: That's what it's all about. We can go on.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Ask her a question or we'll have her leave the room.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: Was Ms. Bart warned by anybody not to interface with Mr. Griffin?
A: Repeatedly at nearly every single caucus and meeting of the Airport Authority that I have been at.
Q: What kind of influence does Mr. Griffin have over Ms. Bart? Possibly in causing her to dismantle the long-time Air Guard move?
A: Well, there's a couple of answers. Actually, I guess, first of all, as everybody knows, he appoints --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Don't assume everybody knows anything.
MS. DECKER: Pardon?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Don't assume everybody knows anything.
MS. DECKER: All right. The City of Reno and Mayor Griffin appoint trustees to the Airport Board.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: The City Council does, correct?
MR. ULRICH: That's correct, Your Honor.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: City Council, of which he is a member.
MS. DECKER: That's exactly right, a public officer.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: There are how many City Council members?
MR. DEHNE: Seven.
MS. DECKER: Seven.
MR. HALLEY: Six.
MR. GRIFFIN: Six.
MR. DEHNE: There he goes again.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: You keep that up and you're out of this room, Mr. Dehne. I mean it.
MS. DECKER: That's very possible. It could be six. I would have to sit here and name them and count them on my fingers.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: The City Council appoints people to the Airport Authority?
MS. DECKER: Half of the governing board. They in turn appoint or hire the Executive Director. What was the question?
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: Does he have influence over them?
A: The other thing is the City of Reno has exclusive land use rights over the airport because they control the Airport Authority or they -- the appointees serve at the pleasure of the City Council and the Mayor.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Some of them do.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: Four of them?
A: Four of them do; half of them do. Okay. They are responsible for the land use issues of airport property. In Mr. Griffin's Foreign Trade Zone application that was made in June of 1998, he included in that application acquired properties in Rewana Farms. There's still much controversy surrounding the acquisition of the property and the Rewana Farms. That is still before court, and part of it before the Supreme Court.
So, by virtue of the fact that he is the operator of the Foreign Trade Zone that includes his property around the airport, of which the Rewana Farms area is part, it would directly benefit his company.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That wasnt the question. The question is his influence over Ms. Bart.
MS. DECKER: Well, absolutely.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Absolutely what?
MS. DECKER: Well, as you know, I am not a public official. It speaks for itself.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: No, it doesnt. It doesnt, maam.
MS. DECKER: It doesnt?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: No
MS. DECKER: Well, I disagree.
MR. DEHNE: Speaks for itself. That might be like proof in the pudding. Let me form this question, then, related to whether or not the Mayor, Mr. Griffin has any influence over Ms. Bart. For 15 years and three million dollars, all of that was spent on an Air Guard move to Rewana Farms. Within days after these two people traveled together, thats totally dismantled, with the objections really, the objections of a lot of people who were affraid to object because--
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Is that a question?
MR. DEHNE: -- it casts aspersions on them. Yes, the point is, the point is --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Ask her a question.
MR. DEHNE: He came back from that meeting.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Ask her a question, Mr. Dehne.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: When they came back from the meeting, did they or did they not totally dismantle the Air Guard move and do something that will feather the nest?
Q: And potentially make the Mayor and his cronies and friends a rich man? Did they or did they not?
MR. ULRICH: I object. It's leading.
MR. DEHNE: It's leading? She --
A: Yes, Ms. Bart was appointed.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Excuse me. You answered his question. You said yes; that's the answer to his question. Your objection is what?
MR. ULRICH: Feathering the nest. I just want to make a record that he's leading the witness.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Oh, I know. We have relaxed rules of evidence here. However, we don't have relaxed rules about perjury. I want to warn you people about that fact.
MR. DEHNE: Look over that way when you're saying that, please.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I will look at anyone I choose to. You are making some very serious allegations, both of you. They are made under oath. I'm not suggesting you are right or you're wrong. I'm telling you, they are made under oath.
MR. DEHNE: I started this out by saying I didn't come here and take this duty frivolously.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, I didn't ask you for a speech. Just be quiet right now.
MR. DEHNE: Right. So I'm not telling you--
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, be quiet now.
MR. DEHNE: Yes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: One more time and you're out of here. I'm merely warning you, as I would warn all of you, these statements are made under oath. You are making serious allegations.
MS. DECKER: I understand that. If I didn't have evidence to back them up, I wouldn't make them.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Next question.
MR. DEHNE: I'll just close out, then. Because all these lead to the reason for bringing this before you. You told him not to interface. Just one more time.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: Will Mr. Griffin benefit from Ms. Barts decision after they traveled together in contradiction to their decision?
A: My answer to that is yes, he will. All one has to do is refer back to previous rulings by the Ethics Commission in which it was substantiated what type of money Mr. Griffin's business makes on Foreign Trade Zone contracts. Since he expanded the contract from like 84 acres to well over 17,000 acres, I believe, and that figure may be wrong. I'm not -- but I can say that it's 2175.8 acres around the airport for which he is directly responsible.
You're bringing a cargo hub into the airport. That cargo hub will personally benefit Mr. Griffin. The answer to my question would be the Ethics Commission ruled him not to interface with the airport on airport business. He did that.
MR. DEHNE: That's all I have.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Thank you. Do you have any questions for her?
MR. ULRICH: No.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Halley, do you have any questions for her?
MR. HALLEY: No.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Do any members of the Commission have any questions for her?
(There was no response.)
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Thank you, ma'am. You are excused. You may bring in your next witness.
MR. DEHNE: Thank you, Ms. Decker.
(The witness was excused and left the hearing room.)
MR. DEHNE: I present Mr. Gil Weikel, witness. I assume you want to swear him in.
(Mr. Weikel was duly sworn.)
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Please state your name for the court reporter and spell your last name.
MR. WEIKEL: Gilbert Weikel, W-e-i-k-e-l.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Proceed, Mr. Dehne.
MR. ULRICH: Excuse me. May I have the same admonition?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: This is a confidential hearing at this point, sir. You are not supposed to discuss it outside of this room.
MR. WEIKEL: Okay.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Go ahead.
MR. DEHNE: Once again, I present Mr. Weikel here as just a regular old citizen. Doesn't have any contracts with the airport. Doesn't have any axes to grind.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Ask him a question, Mr. Dehne.
MR. DEHNE: Well, he needs a description of what --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: He can give it. You ask him a question.
EXAMINATION BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: Who are you? What are you?
A: Well, I have-lived in Reno for 30 years. I presently reside in the Rewana Farms subdivision area.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Okay.
MR. WEIKEL: And I am quite active in Airport Authority business because we are in an area that is being acquired by the airport. So, I attend almost all of the airport board meetings, numerous City Hall, City Council meetings.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Ask him a question.
MR. DEHNE: Well, I was chastised for some other questions. I'll try to cut to the chase.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: Within the context, under the context that the reason for this hearing is that the conclusion by this board said that the Mayor, Mr. Griffin, was not supposed to interface with the airport, do you have any knowledge that Mr. Griffin and Ms. Bart traveled together, discussing airport business?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That's a compound question. The first part of the question you don't need to answer. We already have the answer. We have evidence on the record that they traveled together, whether or not that evidence is correct. But whether they discussed airport business, how would he know unless he was on the plane?
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: How would you know that? What makes you think they might have discussed airport business?
A: At a recent board meeting, during the course of the ongoings of the meetings, Krys Bart did mention that she had traveled with the Mayor to, I believe it was Texas, on airport matters relative to gaining --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: But you don't know what they talked about?
MR. WEIKEL: No, the discussion was just at the board meeting that they had traveled to attend a meeting with some airlines and some air transportation --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: The reason given had to do with Reno Air and American Airlines and what was going on there, correct?
MR. WEIKEL: Among other things, I imagine that's what they were talking about.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Well, what did you hear they were talking about?
MR. WEIKEL: She mentioned they had traveled
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: To?
MR. WEIKEL: To Texas, I believe it was.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: To do what?
MR. WEIKEL: To discuss air traffic, air cargo, airlines, air whatever.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: You're not sure what it was?
MR. WEIKEL: It was relative to the expansion, the possible expansion. And the effort was to gain more cargo and/or more airline activity in and out of the Reno airport.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Which from an economic point of view, notwithstanding the complaint of the people living in your neighborhood about noise, et cetera, et cetera, from an economic point of view that is something most cities try to do is increase their participation in trade, correct?
MR. WEIKEL: Up to the point that it is morally realistic, yes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Next question?
MR. DEHNE: I didn't know we were going to be here talking about whether or not these things were economically feasible or benefit the community.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Next question, Mr. Dehne.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: Okay. After they came back from this trip together in violation of the ethics decree, did they totally dismantle the Air Guard and almost overnight go to a totally new scheme for the airport relative to the Rewana Farms area land grab, takeover?
MR. HALLEY: We object to that question. He's claiming there's a violation. There has been no violation proven.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I know. There's a lot of facts that are not in evidence in his question. That's a given.
MR. HALLEY: Okay.
BY MR. DEHNE:
Q: Did they dismantle it? Did they announce they were dismantling the Air Guard move after 15 years?
Q: Do you think that had anything to do with the fact that they traveled together and that this was going to benefit his company?
MR. ULRICH: I'm going to have to object.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That's a compound question. I don't know if he has the knowledge of it.
MR. ULRICH: It's based on speculation. I don't think he has the knowledge.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: All right. The Air Guard isn't moving where it was going to move, right?
MR. WEIKEL: Apparently at this moment, yes. The Air Guard has been on and off for years. It's going to go, it's not going to go.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Right now it's a no-go?
MR. WEIKEL: At this point we are under the impression the Air Guard is not going there; that they are going to build a permanent facility for the air cargo, Postal Service. And they are developing a master plan to incorporate the entire area into an air cargo hub facility.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Okay. And I guess it's safe to say you disapprove of that decision?
MR. WEIKEL: Well, I think -- there again this is my opinion. I think the people of Reno and the people of the Washoe Valley have a say in that decision. I don't think it's up to these people as private enterprises.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Okay.
MR. WEIKEL: The Mayor is the principal owner and participant in Foreign Trade Services, Inc. Foreign Trade Services, Inc. did the contract to expand the air, the Foreign Trade Zones in the area. They are licensed to EDAWN. EDAWN as the operator of the Foreign Trade Zone. All of these agencies will now operate through Foreign Trade Services to operate air cargo industry. That business seems to have a direct economic gain in this.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: All right. Back up a little bit. Do you know why the decision not to put the Air Guard there was made?
MR. WEIKEL: I believe --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Do you know?
MR. WEIKEL: In my heart I believe it was always intended, because the timing of the application for the Air Guard --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Listen to my question. Do you know why that decision was made?
MR. WEIKEL: I believe it was because the Foreign Trade Zone application was granted and now the opportunity to build air cargo there instead of the Guard would be a key issue in deciding not to move the Guard because the Guard was never a popular idea with some people, let's say.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Okay. So, do you have any information that the decision not to move the Guard and to do something else with that area was made on the basis of economic reality, for instance?
MR. WEIKEL: No. I mean, I don't believe that.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I know you don't believe it. There's a difference between fact and belief, a big one sometimes.
MR. WEIKEL: What I can say is three years ago I advised the airport, I personally said: Look, you people can't really believe this airline boom is going to continue. You can't put the Guard there.
So me not even being an expert, just a novice. I said you know, it's logical. You're only going to get so many planes and it's going to slow down, it's going to level off. Even I'm surprised that it dropped. I never believed it would continue to grow.
But the excuse was all of this growth, what we have to have. That was an excuse to continue to perpetuate the Guard move to build more cargo, more airline passenger service.
During that period of time, the application for the Foreign Trade Zone was in effect, or in the process. That application has now been granted. There's some 2,000 acres of land that will be incorporated --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Are you talking about the contract between the Mayor's company and the Airport Authority to expand the Foreign Trade Zone? Is that what you are talking about?
MR. WEIKEL: Yes, right. That was in the mill. I believe it was about two years ago when the issue actually surfaced. It was, my God, look at the way he stumbled over this, the Foreign Trade Services, the Mayor, all of these people involved in this activity.
During the period of time this thing is going on behind the scenes, if you will, we are talking about Guard movement, military base removal, and expanding of the facilities, and doubling the acreage and everything. It kept the attention away from the air cargo.
The minute, almost to the minute that Krys Bart comes on as Executive Director, we are not moving the Guard. Suddenly we are putting air cargo into the entire area, not just that facility. The plan is as of today, I came from an airport meeting. They have a master plan in the process to develop the entire southwest quadrant into air cargo facilities, of which the Mayor is primarily involved in air cargo and has made the application and is the operator for the Foreign Trade Zone.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I know, I know.
MR. DEHNE: That's all I have to say. I will even say myself --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That's all he has to say?
MR. WEIKEL: Yes.
MR. DEHNE: He got off the mark. It was very important information. I will even admit it went a little bit off the mark, but it was good for you to know about that. And it also verifies the fact that the Mayor, Mr. Griffin, has a tremendous amount to gain from this. I guess he can stay or leave.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Is he done?
MR. WEIKEL: Yes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: He leaves. Thank you, sir. Remember my admonition.
Wait a minute. I'm sorry, sir. Do you have questions for him? I forgot.
MR. HALLEY: No.
MR. ULRICH: No.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Do any Commissioners have any questions? No? Thank you. Now you can leave.
(The witness was excused and left the hearing room.)
MR. DEHNE: I can either go ahead and conclude, or do you want to have a dialogue? I don't know how you want to operate this thing. You probably want to conclude it. I know what you guys think.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I want to ask a couple questions of these folks, if I can.
MR. DEHNE: Okay. I just don't want to be left out of the loop.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Sit down. You're not left out of the loop. Ms. Bart, did you and the Mayor travel to Texas?
MS. BART: Madam Chair, the Mayor and I, if I may start -- I began work with the Airport Authority on December 14. Five days later I met the Mayor in Texas. We did not travel there or from together.
My first meeting with the Mayor was in Texas, in the airport. As we were boarding a shuttle bus to go to the headquarters of American Airlines in Dallas, we were two members of a large contingency. I would like to share with you who the rest of that contingency was. First of all, Senator Richard Bryan, Governor-Elect at that time Kenny Guinn; Tom Tate, head of tourism for the State of Nevada. Let's see.
MR. GRIFFIN: Phil Keane.
MS. BART: Phil Keane, head of RSCVA. Two of my trustees, Geno Menchetti and Ed Bruce; a member of my staff, Tom Medland, and myself. If you recall, at that time American Airlines was purchasing Reno Air. This airport, the airport was experiencing a significant downturn in passengers and in air service and in revenue.
The community, all these members, these high profile members of the community were very concerned that American would take away all the service. That would have had a very devastating impact on the economy of this entire Northern Nevada.
In preparation for that trip, while I was still employed at my previous place of employment, which was San Jose, I was working with the staff to facilitate the preparation of an air service analysis. We did that. This contingency met with the C.E.O. and the top senior staff of American Airlines. And we presented an analysis, an air service analysis of passenger service. That analysis clearly defined a potential market that was here. It was intended as an opportunity to present to American Airlines reasons why they should continue the air service and the business in this community.
The Senator spoke. The Governor-elect spoke, and the Mayor spoke. And the Mayor's comments were relative to the community. They were relative to how much the community depends on air service. They were relative to the positive impacts and how the community wants American Airlines to stay.
He spoke as the Mayor of the community. At no time was there one single mention of cargo at that meeting. We were concerned about passenger service. Given the fact I had not even met the Mayor prior to that, nor prior to that was I aware of any ethics ruling by this Commission, we had no discussion at all during that trip, before that trip, or for some time after that trip, to be quite honest with you. And that was the purpose for our visit to Dallas.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: As I understand it -- and I will be candid with you, I haven't paid that close attention to the issue of the Air Guard going to the airport because, frankly, I personally don't care. For a long time that has been a potential plan?
MS. BART: Yes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Apparently, your decision has been made that that is not going to happen. Is that correct?
MS. BART: The Board of Trustees of the Airport Authority voted to keep the Guard in their current location.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Because why?
MS. BART: If I may elaborate. I was very concerned about the financial stability of the airport when I arrived, given the decrease in passengers and the decrease in revenue because of the decrease in passengers.
One of my initial observations was the Air Guard and the fact that it would cost the airport 80 million dollars to move the Air Guard. And based on that concern, the staff of the airport contacted our outside financial consulting group and asked them to do a current financial analysis of the impact on the Air Guard. That financial analysis concluded that moving the Air Guard would not only cost the airport 80 million dollars, but in addition with the cost of the issuance of the debt, et cetera, it would be in excess of $100 million.
And the growth of the airport, which was now in a decline, would continue in a decline for some short period of time. The result of that would be that the cost to the airlines for bringing, the existing service to continue to bring passengers, the cost to the airlines would double. If in fact that happened this community would probably lose the majority of their air service.
At this time Southwest Airlines is the number one carrier. If the cost per passenger doubled to those carriers, it would reach approximately ten percent of the average fare of Southwest Airlines. That would have been enough of an inducement for Southwest Airlines as well as some of the others to leave Reno. That would have had a devastating effect on the community and the economics of the entire region.
I took that information to the board. And contrary to what Mr. Dehne said, the board was not surprised. The board was informed of this information and the fact that the financial analysis was conducted. The General, the Governor, and the legislature in terms of our Congressional delegation, were all aware of it. They were all very concerned about the economic impacts. The board took a vote to leave the Guard exactly where they are. The decision was made for financial reasons and financial reasons only.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Now, forgive me if I don't have all of the geography correct. Where the Guard is now, they were going to be moved where?
MS. BART: The Guard, if you can picture the layout of the airport, the passenger terminal being in the northwest quadrant, the Guard was to be relocated to the southwest quadrant, with the assumption being that relocation of the Guard would provide expansion of the terminal in the current Guard location.
It was then determined that with the slower growth we wouldn't need to expand the airport as rapidly as we thought. And actually, it would be better to expand the airport to the north, leave the Guard in their current location, save the 80 plus million dollars, and take another look at the best place for cargo.
Cargo at this airport and in this community, because of the extensive development of warehousing and distribution in Northern Nevada, cargo has been growing consistently at a double digit growth rate for the airport. Cargo activity for the region has been exceeding 400 percent growth.
So, contrary to speculation, cargo has actually achieved more growth than passenger growth for some years at this airport.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: At what point was the discussion, if there was one, about expanding the cargo area as opposed to moving the Guard? If there's even a connection between those two things.
MS. BART: There isn't really a connection. The Guard decision was based solely and exclusively on a financial possibility. At the time that that Guard decision was made, it was prudent to take a look at the property around the existing terminal because now if we weren't going to move the Guard and we would have to expand north of the terminal, there is cargo operations at this time north of the terminal. What would we do with those cargo operations if now we propose to expand the terminal?
And our consulting planners, who are P & D Aviation, took a look at that and concluded in their initial look that it would actually be more prudent to put the Guard in the southwest area, thereby separating dedicated cargo traffic from the passenger traffic. Because there's also an implication of ground transportation, trucks and tugs and all those sorts of things. So that was the initial conclusion.
Now, through a master planning process when they're looking at both the terminal area and the northwest quadrant of the airport and the southwest quadrant of the airport, they are in the process of refining those plans.
But that resulted, you know, it was a house of cards with a domino effect. If we don't move the Guard, how do we deal with the growth in these other areas? So, the planners, you know, came to that initial conclusion as to that.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Okay. Now, if I've got this all straight, is the cargo area around the airport going to be expanded in the near future?
MS. BART: Yes. The cargo area to the north of the airport that exists today will be expanded effective August 28 to handle an interim operation of the United States Postal Service, which will begin its western network hub at Reno.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: What is the benefit of that, bringing that to Reno?
MS. BART: The benefit of that is that because we've experienced reduced landed weights, with landed weights meaning less aircraft are landing at the airport. We have also experienced reduced landing fees because we have had less airplanes.
That means that the costs of operation to the passenger carriers would go up. We cut the budget at the airport for mid June. We cut it at the next fiscal year in order to keep the cost to the airlines down. With the additional landed weight of the cargo aircraft, the money that the cargo aircraft from the Post Office will be paying because they will be landing at the airport will go to offset the cost to the passenger carriers, actually reducing the cost to the passenger carriers by five cents per 100 pounds. This is an economic inducement to the carriers to continue existing service in this community for passenger service. And it's also an economic inducement to the carriers to attract additional service to support the economy of this region.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Now, in making these decisions, you in your capacity as the new director?
MS. BART: Executive Director, yes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Worked with your airport Board of Trustees, I take it?
MS. BART: Yes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: What if anything did Mayor Griffin have to do with any of these decisions?
MS. BART: Absolutely nothing. I report to the Board of Trustees. I have these discussions with the Board of Trustees in public, in public. The board is consistently receiving communications. I work directly with the chair, very closely with the chair.
I have had no discussions with Mayor Griffin. Mayor Griffin knows what he reads in the newspaper, as far as I know. But I personally have not sought Mr. Griffin's recommendation. I have not sought Mr. Griffin's input. I have not sought his approval on any of these issues.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Has he attempted to discuss any of this with you?
MS. BART: No, he has not.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mayor Griffin?
MR. GRIFFIN: Yes, Madam Chair.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Have you done anything to try to manipulate the situation at the airport so that the cargo area increases?
MR. GRIFFIN: No. If I may, Madam Chair, make a couple of observations about some of the, I guess we could call them contentions that Mr. Dehne is making. When he talks about the creation of a giant air cargo facility that will benefit me, in fact that is a giant air cargo facility that will benefit my competitors. I do not own the United States Postal Service.- I do not own Federal Express. I don't own United Parcel Service.
The people that will use this facility are people who operate their own trucks, operate their own aircraft. It is something I as both the Mayor as well as a corporate citizen of the Truckee Meadows, I applaud that. I think it raises the level of everything in our community and provides greater opportunity for all of us.
I do have a background obviously somewhat in the air cargo area. I have held the opinion that the proximity of the current cargo facility -- and those of you, I'm sure all of you fly in and out of that airport. If you go to the terminal and look to the north, you will see the greatest jumble of airplanes that you can imagine parked nose to tail, to the north of the airport terminal. That's the current location of my competitors. They are in the, operate in the elements without any real appropriate kind of infrastructure.
I think that it would be an appropriate thing to create separate from the, what I consider to be an inappropriate intermingling, if you will, of passengers and cargo, to some other location. I have not had any conversations, I have not had any discussions, I have not had any meetings with either Ms. Bart nor any of the members of the airport trustees on the subject of cargo facilities or the Air Guard or anything else.
I did meet, if I may, I did meet for the first time Ms. Bart in December. Actually, it was in the offices of American Airlines. We went on different airlines from different cities. I recall you came from San Jose. I flew in from Reno.
And there was a great deal of concern. I also was there not just in my capacity as Mayor but also chairman of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. This would have the possibility that the acquisition of Reno Air by American Airlines, who was in financial difficulty and as a public matter, that American Airlines might contemplate ceasing service to Reno. They were at that time close to or had been earlier in the year, close to 40 percent of the passengers in and out of our airport were on Reno Air.
I felt that my obligation in terms of the citizenry of not just the City of Reno, in my capacity as Mayor, but all of Northern Nevada in my capacity as chairman of the Convention Authority compelled me. I think we were fortunate to get the Governor-elect, Senator Bryan, and other people to make that appeal to American Airlines. It was not about cargo. It was not about the Air Guard. It was about the continuation of passenger service of Reno Air.
If I have an opportunity afterwards, Madam Chair, I would like if I can maybe to make some reference to some of the other contentions that Mr. Dehne has made.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Sure.
MR. GRIFFIN: Should I proceed now?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Uh-huh.
MR. GRIFFIN: I will make reference, I think probably you are now as familiar with my business as anybody can be. We have spent many hours together describing my business. I would not describe in any way the $12,500 contract that I have with my company and the Airport Authority. I am anticipating that will be concluded sometime in July.
I believe it was stated that the Foreign Trade Zone application was granted. That's not true. The Foreign Trade Zone board has not yet acted on it. We are expecting that they will.
It is not my application. It is my acting as an attorney in fact in the help, in the preparation of the application on behalf of the Airport Authority of Washoe County. When it is granted, which I assume it will be, it will not accrue to my benefit. It will accrue to the benefit of the Airport Authority of Washoe County. They now have the possibility of offering a Foreign Trade Zone kind of operation to those competing cargo carriers, competing in the sense of competing with myself.
And I guess another comment that was -- I'm not sure if it was a contention or accusation or even just an observation, but that I would control the Foreign Trade Zone and the cargo facility. I wish, frankly. That would be nice. But I don't; the Airport Authority does; the trustees do. And it's a very clear public issue.
I suppose the last thing is that I think in this particular case and perhaps in others, Mr. Dehne has been a little bit behind the curve here. We traveled independently and met as a group in Dallas in December. Apparently, this had not occurred or was not known to Mr. Dehne until over three months later when he decided that the clandestine, as he describes it, meeting had occurred. In fact, he's not sure what the dates are. He says January, February, thereabouts. In fact, it was December.
It was also, in terms of its clandestine element, I did two newspaper interviews, appeared on three television stations, and did two live call-in talk shows on radio stations. The subject was the concern about the continuation of service of Reno Air to the Reno-Tahoe Airport. I just wanted to clear up a few of those items. I appreciate the opportunity.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: Mayor, would you clarify your relationship with the four appointees?
MR. GRIFFIN: I have no relationship with them.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: Were any of them your recommendation?
MR. GRIFFIN: Originally, four years ago.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: I had one when I was on the Council, but one out of four.
MR. GRIFFIN: I had one. Excuse me -- in fact, today is my fourth anniversary in office. And I did vote and involve myself in the naming of two airport trustees in July of 1995, almost four years ago. Larry Martin and Phil Miller.
Subsequent to that, and again perhaps contrary to Mr. Dehne's contention, certainly in his complaint, was that decree that he makes reference to was not the result of a complaint. It was a request of my asking for guidance. You gave it to me. I have not had a conversation with any of the trustees -- forgive me, I have to admit I did have one conversation once subsequent -- actually, I'm not sure it was subsequent. It was probably before that.
Certainly since the admonition I have not had a discussion about airport affairs. I am very sensitive and I think, Commissioner Allen, you probably understand why. The legislature set up the Airport Authority Board of Trustees to remove it from political influence. I think you can ask any one of the four trustees that represent the City of Reno the question as to whether or not I've spent any time with them discussing airport matters, or exerting or trying to exert influence over them. It is my belief that they are named and should be left alone.
Mr. Dehne believes otherwise. Mr. Dehne believes that the Reno City Council should direct the airport trustees' conduct. I don't subscribe to that. Without the admonition, I don't subscribe to that. That's why the legislature set up this Airport Authority, to try to remove it from political control and political influence. I endorse that concept.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: Sam, in hearing about the Texas trip and the circumstances and the people involved and the fact that they never met and traveled together, do you still say that there's something wrong in this trip?
MR. DEHNE: I would like to ask another question. Have you ever traveled, have you ever gone to Texas after that? Was that the only time -- remember, under oath -- the only time that you two were in Texas?
MS. BART: Yes.
MR. GRIFFIN: Yes.
MR. DEHNE: Was it December 18? That's the only time?
MS. BART: Yes.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: You left it out. That's a very important thing. In their explanation, they would have very little opportunity to discuss this. Secondly, he doesn't have to go to Texas. He can pick up the phone and tell her if he wanted to do something unethical. So, this trip --
MR. DEHNE: The connection is the fact, and they left this out just now, the fact that on the early March, whatever the date was, March 8 she announced, this is right after coming back from Texas, announced to the board that she was canceling and dismantling the Air Guard move and then they rubber-stamped her announcement.
The very next day at City Council, she announces they canceled that and that she's going cargo now. The connection there is one of the most bizarre coincidences I have ever heard of, considering he's a cargo man and all the other implications. And just to think that, well, that was just a total coincidence that she -- nobody ever talked about, publicly about going cargo. It was Air Guard, Air Guard, Air Guard all the way.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne?
MR. DEHNE: Yes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Do you have any evidence that contradicts what they just told us?
MR. DEHNE: Yes.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: What?
MR. DEHNE: Number one, he says the contract was 12,500. I won't quibble except he's only off by 100 percent. It's $27,500, unless he wanted to reduce it. Here it is right here. There is the contract. He also says he has no -- by the way, here is the board memo, 27,500. Here is the board memo where they voted on it. Then to give the contract to his company. You know, this is kind of bizarre.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, I hate to interrupt you. We're going to take a break. Do you have a plane to catch?
MR. GRIFFIN: In a bit. I have to pack. But if I may just clear up one thing, I believe the contract says up to 27,500.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: We will take a five-minute break. I forgot in the rush.
MR. DEHNE: it doesn't say that. It says a flat --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, we're in recess.
MR. DEHNE: I mean, he's lying again!
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: We are in recess. Maam
(A recess was taken.)
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Can we reconvene, please? We are back on the record on Opinion Request 99-15 and 16, which are being held together. Mr. Dehne?
MR. DEHNE: Where we were, I was -- I don't know how to say it -- I would say rebutting, that's putting it mildly, some of their statements that -- some of them are maybe a little bit subjective, but others are just totally off the mark First of all, him saying as we ended there, a $12,500 contract. It's right here, flat fee of 20,000 with up to 7,500 more for incidentals. It's not up to; it's a flat fee.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, why do we care? In terms of the issue before --
MR. DEHNE: Why do you care? I'll tell you why you care. If he's going to lie to you about that, he's going to lie to you about other stuff. You know that as an attorney. That's how it works in court. If you can't believe the person over here, you can't believe them when they talk over there. It gets worse than that. He says he can have competition in this Foreign Trade Zone? Here is the contract that was actually drawn up with the airport, but guess what? Who drew it up? Not the airport. You want to talk about cronyism? He drew it up on his own letterhead. Nobody does that. You go to get hired to get a job and you draw up the contact and hand it in to your boss? No way, it doesn't work that way. But worse than that is it says --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, you dont have to scream at us.
MR. DEHNE: I'm sorry. Nevada Foreign -- this is emotional. This is bad stuff. Nevada Foreign Trade Zone is the exclusive --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne? Mr. Dehne? You still don't have to scream at us.
MR. DEHNE: I just have a loud voice. I'm sorry. I apologize. Let's see. No, I don't apologize. I'll try -- Nevada Foreign Trade Zone is the exclusive -exclusive operator of Foreign Trade Zone 126, which he has had for many years. Of course, he never could get this big Foreign Trade Zone until he appointed Mr. Mack, he forgot to mention that, Mr. Mack and Mr. -- and Ms. Camp, his good friend Ms. Camp, who were appointed to the board the month before. He finally got this contract he wanted for five years.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: We are not going to that issue.
MR. DEHNE: He just --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Move ahead.
MR. DEHNE: He said he only appointed two people. He appointed those other four, and those were the critical two. Anyway, it says: Whereas Nevada Foreign Trade, his company, is the exclusively operator of Nevada Foreign Trade Zone 126, and then he puts this in on his document, his letterhead signed by the airport eventually. It's not part of the contract that the airport voted on. Nothing about --
MR. HALLEY: Madam Chair, I object.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Wait, wait, wait.
MR. DEHNE: And then he subsequently --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Be quiet.
MR. DEHNE: What I --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That isn't what he said. The cargo area where the Postal Service is going in is going to provide an area that will benefit his competition.
MR. DEHNE: On the contrary, they're talking about Rewana Farms.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: No, no, no. I'm talking about what he said here today, where the Postal Service development is going in, the increased cargo area, where the Postal Service is going to be --
MR. DEHNE: Permanently.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: -- will benefit his competitors.
MR. DEHNE: Permanently.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That's what he said.
MR. DEHNE: Not relative to the Foreign Trade Zone. He's got control. He will shortly have control unless he's stymied, of the whole Foreign Trade Zone. The documents are there. It's out for public domain.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: What he said was the Postal Service coming to town will benefit his competitors.
MR. DEHNE: He also said -- he did say that, I agree. I don't necessarily agree with what he said, but he also said that he's going to have lots of competition on this Foreign Trade Zone, and he doesn't. He has the exclusive right to the Foreign Trade Zone.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Be quiet now. When he makes an objection, you be quiet until he makes it.
MR. HALLEY: The document speaks for itself. If he wants to just introduce it, that's fine. We are trying to get out of here as soon as we can. The Mayor has a flight to New Orleans, and he's wasting our time reading from a document. If he wants it introduced, introduce it.
But this --
MR. DEHNE: This is not a court of law. This is the Ethics Commission. Listen to reason. This isn't a flapdoodle like you guys do over this. This is the Ethics Commission where you look for honor and reasonableness.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne.
MR. DEHNE: And I pointed out where he --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, there's an objection pending. We get to rule on it. So be quiet. Why are you just reading from that document, sir?
MR. DEHNE: Because I have to refute his lie.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Why don't you give it to us?
MR. DEHNE: It's the only copy I have.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: We can read it.
MR. DEHNE: I will be here all day if you want to read the whole thing. All you have to do is read the underlined part, if you want. He says he -- he'll have competition all over the place. Check that out.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I don't think that's what he said. Move on.
MR. DEHNE: We go all the way back to the very beginning of why he should not be interfacing with the airport, period. By the way, they acted -- back to your thing about did they get together, did they go together, the other side of the coin is, they acted like: Oh, fancy meeting you here! What's your name again, Mr. Griffin? Oh, well --
MR. ULRICH: I object. That's a complete mischaracterization.
MR. DEHNE: It is not. That's how they came --they just ran into each other over coffee or whatever they said, at the terminal or something. It says right here in their own --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, that isn't what they said.
MR. DEHNE: What did they say? Would you refresh me, please?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Apparently someone needs to. They said they did not travel together. They met at the airport in Texas.
MR. DEHNE: Under the -- did you get the little bit of the feeling that they were a little bit surprised to see each other when they ran into each other?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: No.
MR. DEHNE: You didn't?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: No.
MR. DEHNE: Oh.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I think they all knew they were going to the same meeting.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: He hadn't met her, that's what I got out of it.
MR. DEHNE: I know you guys probably talked about this before this meeting, knowing the way things go. That could not have been the gist of what they said. It was like we ran into each other. That was the gist of what they said.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That is not what they said, Mr. Dehne.
MR. DEHNE: Okay. All right. He acted as if he only appointed two people. Two very close friends were appointed, and they were the ones who voted to give him this contract that brought up the initial ethics complaint --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne.
MR. DEHNE: -- back then that you voted --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: The Opinion Requests before us today have to do with allegations that they traveled together to Texas and had conversations wherein Mr. Griffin convinced Ms. Bart to not move the Air Guard so that the cargo area at the airport could be increased to benefit his personal interests.
Now, what evidence do you have -- listen to my question and don't even think about interrupting me.
MR. DEHNE: I'm thinking about it.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Get out. That's it.
MR. DEHNE: Good for you. Grease those rubber stamps. Grease up those rubber stamps all over again.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Mr. Dehne, if you don't get out of this room right away I will call the police and have you arrested.
MR. DEHNE: Oh, what a bunch of the flapdoodle you people are. What a joke to good government. Embarrassment. Flat, outright embarrassment.
(Mr. Dehne left the hearing room.)
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Is there any other evidence anyone wishes to present on these matters?
MR. ULRICH: I do have one document I would like to introduce. I was going to use Mr. Dehne to introduce it. I wish to introduce this website so the Commission can see what he's doing to the public. I had a speech all prepared. I believe that what he's using this Commission for is to obtain evidence that he can distort, that he can lie about, so that he can put it on his website. I would just like you to see it.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That's fine.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: This is awfully close to frivolous, as far as I'm concerned.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Well, we will get to that in a minute.
MS. BART: Madam Chairwoman, if I might also indulge the Commission, would you permit me to share with you some of what I have been going through with Mr. Dehne since I have been here? I have experienced, even at the day that I was present for my interview, which was a public interview in front of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Dehne gave public testimony demanding that I live under the flight path.
Although he was personally well behaved that day, ever since that day he has been to every board meeting. He has called me publicly all sorts of names. He has shouted at me, even more aggressively than he shouted at you today, because the position between my spot on the dais and the podium is literally three feet away. He has shook his hand and shook his fist at me.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Has he played his guitar for you?
MS. BART: Not yet. He has, in his website, called me the Airport Czar, the Airport Dictator, and the Airport Carpetbagger. I'm the brand new Carpetbagger Czar.
He indicates here as the Czar I refuse to buy a home that is in the area that he told me to, that's being devastated. That I'm the new Czar Rookie Director. That I refuse to live amidst the blight.
He has even referred to you as a body, "Let's not" -- quote, "Let's not forget that the Nevada Ethics Commission, as noodle-headed as most of its bogus decisions are . . ."
He has created for me personally a very hostile work environment, to say the least, to the point that there have been occasions when I have personally feared my safety. I have had to take steps to protect where I live.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: That's okay. I think we get the gist of what you're saying. I'm sure the Mayor can commiserate with you.
MR. GRIFFIN: I can. We have had a few moments here before the Commission started. I would just like to make a couple of observations concerning not just the tone and the tenor and the choice of words of Mr. Dehne. I sit, as those of you particularly know, on a number of boards and commissions and bodies.
In the last 12 months Mr. Dehne has appeared before me and attacked me personally 300 times. The issue for me, in addition to the complaints that he has lodged with this body, I have been personally sued. I have had to defend myself in those, having them dismissed.
And I have had, I believe now, five Open Meeting Law violations filed with the Attorney General's office from Mr. Dehne and his group. The first two Open Meeting Law violations were the subject of full investigations by the Attorney General. The last three have been done administratively and have been dismissed, and I understand with an admonition that these are frivolous now and that there is no basis in law or any, for any violation. And certainly it's been very difficult, I think, for the Attorney General's office to conclude what the accusation might even be.
It is becoming a pattern that I think, as I think Krys indicated, this is a systematic use of a public body to abuse public officials. I am sad to see that Krys is now in his sights. There are other folks that are in his sights as well.
I believe he has gone beyond the interests of the citizen to speak in areas that he thinks are appropriate and has taken on some entirely different kind of meaning and some entirely different kind of intention beyond a gadfly or a citizen activist. I believe there's some concern at our Council table and at the Convention Authority and at the Regional Governing Board and at the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners and the Regional Transportation Commission, and now perhaps the Board of Health, that Mr. Dehne represents som kind of danger; perhaps not physical, but it would be of interest to me to find that the commission might indicate in their findings that this kind of conduct has no future.
COMMISSIONER SMITH: This is the first one we were addressing, the Texas trip, is obviously -- our conclusions and our findings had nothing to do with them going and promoting their service in Texas. That is totally frivolous as far as Im concerned. And I dont think we should accept this as a legitimate matter to bring before us.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Is ther a motion to dismiss 99-15?
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: So moved.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: And 16
VICE CHAIRMAN RECANZONE: And 16, yes.
COMMISSIONER WINES: Second.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Motion and second. Any other discussion. This document will be whatever the next exhibit is.
MS. MEREDITH: Okay.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I have a motion and a second Any other discussion? All in favor?
(Whereupon, the motion was put to a vote and carried as indicated below.)
MS. BOETSCH: Aye.
MR. ALLEN: Aye.
MR. RECANZONE: Aye.
MR. SMITH: Aye.
MS. WINES: Aye.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Opposed? Abstention? That motion carries, as to both of you. The next question is, should there be sanctions against Mr. Dehne? The record should reflect that Mr. Dehne is not in this room because I told him to leave because he violated the boundaries of appropriate behavior here. He suffers the consequences of not being present to address the issue of sanctions due to his own behavior and his own behavior alone. I am inclined to say that we find sanctions, we find sanctions against him. These allegations are false, and the complaint is without merit. Under our statute we can sanction him for that.
COMMISSIONER SMITH: I would be in favor of sanctions. We will never collect them.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Whether we do or don't, the message should go out.
VICE-CHAIRMAN RECANZONE: What is the maximum?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Maximum is five.
VICE-CHAIRMAN RECANZONE: It is my motion that he be sanctioned and fined in the sum of $5,000.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: I have a motion.
COMMISSIONER SMITH: Ill second that.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Second. Any other discussion? All in favor?
(Whereupon, the motion was put to a vote and carried as indicated below.)
MS. BOETSCH: Aye.
MR. ALLEN: Aye.
MR. RECANZONE: Aye.
MR. SMITH: Aye.
MS. WINES: Aye.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Opposed? Abstention? That motion carries. He will be sanctioned $5,000.
COMMISSIONER SMITH: Ms. Bart, I want to say to you that many years ago I represented the firm that represented the financial consulting firm when you did your first major bond issues back in the late '70s and early '80s. I'll say that you are doing a very commendable job with a difficult situation. I applaud you for the steps you're having to take and doing.
MS. BART: Thank you.
MR. GRIFFIN: We are lucky to have her.
COMMISSIONER SMITH: I think you are.
MR. ULRICH: May I ask --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: And don't worry, Ms. Bart. I'm sure we'll all be on his next web page.
MR. ULRICH: May I ask just one housekeeping question?
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Sure.
MR. ULRICH: As I understand it, you will put this order in writing? If so, we would certainly like to distribute it to some of the board members and to the --
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Then you are making it -- you understand the public --
MR. ULRICH: I believe I can speak for my client. She would like to have this public.
MS. BART: Yes.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: Remember, one Sam Dehne is better than two.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: We're done. Thank you.
MR. GRIFFIN: Madam Chair, it's been a pleasure spending these mornings with you over the years. I know you will miss this opportunity to spend time with your other commissioners. Thanks for everything you're doing and we appreciate it. And God, I know what it's like to serve on something and be the target. So, I want to add my thanks and congratulations to you.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Thank you.
MR. GRIFFIN: It's a tough job.
COMMISSIONER ALLEN: Welcome us to the website?
MR. GRIFFIN: I have an adult blocker on my website that includes Mr. Dehne's website.
MR. HALLEY: We have no objection to making it public.
CHAIRWOMAN BOETSCH: Okay.
(The hearing concluded at 11:45 a.m.)
STATE OF NEVADA
COUNTY OF WASHOE
I, KAREN YATES, a Certified Court Reporter in and for the State of Nevada, do hereby certify:
That I was present at a hearing before the NEVADA ETHICS COMMISSION on Thursday, June 10, 1999, and thereafter took verbatim stenotype notes of the proceedings and thereafter transcribed them into typewriting as herein appears,
That the foregoing transcript is a full, true and correct transcription of my stenotype notes of said hearing.
DATED at Reno, Nevada, this 23rd day of June, 1999.
Here is an Executive Summary of the Hearing:
Have you ever known that you are right about something... "dead-on" right?
Well, such was the case when I filed lack-of-ethics charges against Jeff Griffin (posing as a Reno mayor) and Krys Bart (posing as a "cargo-bagger" Reno Airport czar).
Unfortunately Nevada's real prostitutes masquerading around as an Ethics Commission, were blinded by the facts and evidence... and once again proved that they don't understand that the law means what the law says it means. (Excuse us if we denigrate good honest prostitutes, but we refer to Webster; prostitute: "one who gives up one's moral integrity for low or unworthy intentions".)
On May 29, 1998, in a much watered-down opinion, the EthComm determined that Griffin "... must abstain from voting on those (Reno Airport appointment and his company's contract with the Reno Airport) matters as long as there is a potential the Airport Authority could take further action on his company's contract.". Any person with an ounce of sense would have to conclude that this meant that Griffin was being ordered to not interface or wheel and deal with his cronies at the Reno Airport. Any other conclusion would be noodleheaded.
They told him to stay away from airport dealings... in order to prevent exactly what he ended up doing... feathering his nests at the government trough.
It is especially nerve-racking to file charges with this pompous do-nothing board because having the word "ethics" in the title causes a layperson to think that THEY might at least try to be honorable and intelligent. That THEY might bypass cronyism and legalistic flapdoodle.
Nothing could be farther from reality.
Our case is as simple as this:
1. May 29, 1998 the EthComm ordered Griffin to not interface with the airport.
2. Bart was subsequently warned at public meetings that Griffin was not to interface with the airport... and thus she was not to interface with him if he approached her.
3. At the June 10, 1999 hearing Griffin admitted having met with Bart in Texas (and who knows when and where else... as subsequent evil airport decisons indicate they did).
4. The perversion is a lot more convoluted... because shortly after their clandestine meeting(s), Bart decided to Go Postal in cahoots with the Post Office... on her way to Going Cargo. This plays right into the greedy hands of Cargoman Griffin... who has ill-gotten monopolistic Contracts with the Reno airport... that is also controlled by other Griffin cronies like airport "trustees" Miller and Menchetti, et al.
Most people are rapidly becoming aware of how shameless the scandel-plagued Griffin and his accomplices really are. But they are too apathetic to get off their buttafookoes and challenge the mess. All they do is moan and groan about Reno's terrible government. But I digress...
At the windowdressed hearing on 10 June, 1999, Griffin got caught red-handed (by me) boldfacedly deviating from his hand-raised oath... to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help him God.
l He premeditatedly interjected, of his own volition, that his Contract with the airport was for only $12,500. However, I had the contract right there and showed the EthComm that he was lying, and that the Contract plainly stated that he was to be paid a total of $27,500.
l Then Griffin refused to quit when he was behind... further compounding his lie and saying that it was for "up to" that amount. Not! I had the other part of the Contract that plainly said it was for a "flat fee".
lHe went on to further perjure himself on the most critical of matters... saying that his FTZ (Foreign Trade Zone) Contract with the Airport was not "exclusive" and that anybody could do what he was doing. Again I showed the EthComm where the Agreement (that was outlandishly drawn up on his very own company letterhead) plainly stated that he had made his company the "exclusive operator for FTZ 126 and any subsequently authorized subzones". And this means that, if he gets away with this scheme, he will control a massive 2,000 acres of FTZ operations at the Reno Airport and another 5,000 acres at the Stead Airport. Again, he failed to be truthful!
I re-reminded the EthComm that they could not trust any of his testimony; because if he blatantly perjured himself under oath on these critical matters, how could they possibly believe anything else he said?
They can not trust him when he said he did not talk about expanding cargo at the airport.
Not a protest... not an admonition from this Kangaroo Court.
Instead Boetsch asked; "Mr. Dehne, why do we care?".
Here he was... caught with his hands in the cookie jar... up to the elbows. This time the EthComm gave him the jar... making people wonder what he gave the EthComm in return.
I finally got weary of, and nauseated by, the dimwittedness... and they subsequently followed through on their obviously predetermined whitewashing of yet another atrocity.
During the 45 minute Request for Opinion hearing, I provided far more than enough evidence to justify and demand a full open investigation. It was evidence that clearly showed that Griffin and Bart are thumbing their noses at the process that is supposed to be democracy.
Instead of being courageous, the EthComm once again embarrassed itself, the government of Nevada, and all moral sensibilities.
Wish you could have been there...
Oh, and never forget that these people are part of the wicked regime that has instigated the Rewana Farms ethnic cleansing of mostly senior citizens from their homes... for the personal greed of a small but powerful gang of Special Interests. 14 innocent citizens have died thus far trying to defend their homeland.
Once again - a prostitute is "one who gives up one's moral integrity". (Webster)
OH BOY! READ THIS!
The "Nevada Reporter" Filed this Damning Report on the Rotten Evil Ethics Commision WHITEWASHERS
Is ethics just a word in the dictionary?
Is justice merely a concept we pay lip service to?
Have we become so blasé that we permit our elected officials to lie and cheat w/ no fear of the consequences?
A case in point is the Attorney General whose arrogance has led her to divert resources intended for the State Ethics Commission to the State Labor Commissioner. As far back as 1993, the legislature granted the State Ethics Commission a full time legal counsel. But, the AGs disdain for adhering to the rules enabled her to shift that position to another agency w/out legislative authority or approval.
Could this lack of full time legal counsel have led to some of the questionable actions by the Commission?
Yet, in 1999, both she and Mary Boetsch, former chair of the Commission, felt obligated to appear before various legislative committees seeking funding for a full time legal counsel even though both women were cognizant that such a position already existed. Could we consider their testimony to be perjury by omission? Especially since both women are licensed, practicing attorneys.
This leads us to ask what other facts have been distorted by the AG for the advancement and benefit of her political aspirations?
Click here for the "rest of the story"
Las Vegas Citizen Watchdog, Steve Miller, has had several run-ins with the rotten Nevada Ethics Commission. Read his poignant account of their prostituted Kangaroo Court that was arranged to (once again) protect Public Officials... instead of overseeing them. The Nevada EthComm does to citizens what it is supposed to protect them against!
COLUMN: Steve Miller
Las Vegas Tribune
December 6, 1999
Intoxicated With Power
It all started when I requested the Nevada Ethics Commission's "opinion"
about former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones misusing her Mayoral title to promote
competitive-to-Nevada casinos in Detroit while not disclosing that two
companies she held stock in -- Mirage and Circus Circus -- were actively
bidding for licenses in Detroit at the same time as her visit.
I now believe that I accidentally delved into an area that was politically
off limits -- at least in Nevada where casinos like Mirage and Circus Circus
are King. Maybe I should have realized that their lust to expand into other
jurisdictions, and their chosen spokeswoman - Mayor Jan Jones -- were not to
The Chairwoman of the Ethics Commission at the July 17, 1998, hearing on
Jones was Reno Attorney Mary Boetsch, Governor Bob Miller's appointment.
Ms. Boetsch is a close associate of Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del
Pappa. Del Pappa is a close associate of former Mayor Jan Jones -- the
subject of my Request for Opinion. I should have seen the writing on the
As the hearing opened, veteran Commissioner Joni Wines disclosed that she is
a close personal friend of mine, but that she could remain objective and
would participate in the hearing.
Commission attorney Louis Ling proceeded to berate Wines for wanting to
participate, but Wines persisted in telling Ling that he had no right to tell
her what to do.
Then Chairwoman Boetsch butted in and told Wines that she (Wines) would be
sitting in the seat occupied by Jones if she did not abstain. In other words
that Wines would be brought before the commission for judgment if she
insisted on participating in a hearing requested by her personal friend
I began seeing the deck being stacked against me!
Joni Wines then told the commission that if she were ever to be brought
before them on an ethics Opinion Request, they could not vote on her case
because they were all such close personal friends of hers'. Commissioner
Wines then recused herself.
Boetsch then chastised me for speaking to the press about my Opinion Request
on Jones. She said the document was Confidential and that I had no right to
release such information, especially so close to an election Jones was a
candidate in. I argued that such Requests for Opinion were public documents
and that I had every right to publicly release the information.
Boetsch continued criticizing the timing of my Opinion Request in the middle
of the Gubernatorial election, asking me why I chose that time to make my
Request. I answered that I did not control the Commission's agenda -- she did
-- and that I had no control over the timing of the hearing -- only she could
schedule such hearings.
Boetsch went on to tersely state that she intended to carefully scrutinize
and limit any new evidence I wished to present about Jones. She told me that
such new information would only be allowed if it were, in her opinion,
"relevant, non-redundant, and not personal opinion," otherwise she threatened
to "cut off" my testimony.
I reminded the Chairwoman and her Commission that I was there in Reno at my
own expense and volition to do them the favor of exposing a very corrupt
politician, and that I deserved to be treated with more professionalism and
I also stated that, since I was the author of the City of Las Vegas Ethics in
Government Law, I would not accept having my four-minute presentation "cut
off" for any reason. I asked if I could proceed with my opening statement.
Again the Chairwoman said that she intended to cut me off if I did not offer
new information. I replied that all of the information I wished to present
was new, and again asked if I may proceed. Boetsch repeated her threat to cut
me off. I responded that I only needed four-minutes, and that was all. The
Chairwoman became more agitated, and repeated her threat a fifth time.
Her rude and unprofessional behavior had become so discouraging that I
decided to show my feelings with my action instead of words. I got up and
silently exited her meeting.
In the hallway I was met by the Reno press, and I told them that I had just
witnessed a Kangaroo Court. I said that I fully expected them to arbitrarily
and capriciously excuse Jones. I was soon proven correct.
The Commission promptly proceeded to dismiss my Request about Jones. They
then, in the presence of Jones and her aide Cathy Hanson, voted to fine me
$2,500 for filing what they called a "frivolous" Request for their Opinion.
Following the hearing, Hanson distributed a press release saying that I had
been fined for filing a "frivolous complaint" against Jones. (No where in
the Request for Opinion form does it use the word "complaint.")
Several news stories followed in which Chairwoman Boetsch was quoted making
disparaging remarks about me. I did not respond to her statements.
No communications followed from the Nevada Commission on Ethics for nine
months, until two weeks before the spring City Council election in which I
was a candidate.
In the heat of the campaign, I was shocked to pick up a copy of the Review
Journal with a story of how the Ethics Commission was now actively seeking
the $2,500 fine. This type of news story so close to an election usually has
devastating effects on the outcome of the election. I was very curious how
the newspaper received the information. I later found that someone at the
Ethics Commission had leaked the story to the RJ, obviously timed to damage
my political campaign.
I then realized what was the true mission of the Nevada Ethics Commission;
they were "A political hatchet used to kill the messengers who expose certain
Upon reading of the Chairwoman's "Opinion" about me in the RJ, I replied to
her with the following letter on April 26, 1999:
I have received your "Opinion No. 9842" in the middle of my campaign for Las
Vegas City Council. Your timing was of no surprise after witnessing the
political favors you granted Mayor Jan Jones on the eleven occasions she
appeared before you. Now you are at it again!
I am at a loss of words to express my disgust at receiving an "Opinion" from
a person like you after it was announced that you had resigned. I am
especially disgusted when I remember your "Arrest Report and Declaration of
Probable Cause" dated March 26,1997.
I am vehemently opposed to people like you being on public boards -- or on
public roads -- after being arrested for a crime as serious as Drunken
Driving. Furthermore, you lied to Nevada Highway Patrol officer R. M. Smith
on the night of your arrest according to his official report. Case No. 6985949.
You even had the gall to tell him that you had not been drinking, then
changed your story! (BURRRP!) Why you chose to remain on the Ethics
Commission after that night in 1997 completely baffles me.
Because the "Opinion'" you sent me had your (BURRRP) signature on it, and
since I am a staunch supporter of the strengthening of Drunken Driving laws,
I will place your stupid "Opinion" in the closest appropriate receptacle and
pull the handle.
Signed: Steve Miller
Since I mailed the above letter, I have received no further communication
from the Nevada Commission on Ethics. Governor Kenny Guinn is presently
considering Boetsch for appointment to a Washoe County District Court
Steve Miller, as a former Las Vegas City Councilman, was the author and
Sponsor of the City of Las Vegas Ethics in Government Law. He writes a weekly
column in the Las Vegas Tribune
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The Story about the $5,000 Ethics Fine - DEHNE vs Avansino