A Nevada Democratic county commissioner is accused of deleting text messages after he orchestrated a so-called ‘quid pro quo’ with Governor Steve Sisolak (D) to delay a developer’s plans, leading to his bankruptcy, according to a recent criminal record.
Lawyers for developer Gypsum Resources have accused Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones (D), who is a Nevada attorney, of destroying “public records in an effort to cover up his wrongdoings relating to Gypsum,” in the court file.
Jones, then a candidate for commissioner, allegedly colluded with Sisolak, then a commissioner candidate for governor, in 2018 to oppose one of the developments proposed by Gypsum Resource.
As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported:
Last year, lawyers for Gypsum Resources highlighted an October 2018 pre-election email from Jones to a Sisolak campaign aide, which suggested Sisolak might receive public support from environmental activists – and Jones could dismiss Save Red Rock’s lawsuit against the county – if Sisolak objects. a vote on the project.
A few days later, Sisolak announced his support for delaying any votes until after the election, when two new commissioners would be seated – one of whom was eventually Jones.
Once elected commissioner, Jones delayed the vote on the Gypsum Resources development until April 17, 2019, according to the court filing.
Gypsum Resources says Jones is a material witness in their lawsuit alleging violation of the taking clause of the 5th Amendment which states that the government cannot take property without due process, bias and breach of contract against Clark County and its board of commissioners. A third party conducted the forensic audit because Jones only produced six messages after the April vote after Jones was impeached, he was assigned to produce all “relevant” text messages for the case. ‘last year.
However, lawyers for Gypsum Resources allegedly obtained a text message thread between Jones and former Nevada Conservation League chief Andy Maggi in October 2018, where Jones said, “Well, I’m doing my part. If Sisolak doesn’t want to play, it’s going to blow up in his face tomorrow.
A court-ordered forensic audit of Jones’ cellphone and iCloud accounts found that all of Jones’ text messages leading up to the April 2019 vote were deleted and unrecoverable, according to the court filing. The first messages on Jones’ phone date back about six hours after the commission voted unanimously to reject Gypsum Resource’s request to waive a condition and proceed with its preliminary 3,000-home development plan.
Although Jones called Gypsum Resources’ allegations a “relentless smear campaign,” his lawyers did not dispute the findings of the audits.
Jones told the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Gypsum and its attorneys have been engaged in a relentless smear campaign against me since the day my Commission colleagues and I voted unanimously to hold Gypsum to its own commitments regarding its ill-conceived plan to develop thousands of homes in Red Rock Canyon. This latest legal filing is just more of the same vindictive personal attacks designed to bolster his efforts to bankrupt the county.
The United States District Court for the District of Nevada is still deciding to hear Gypsum Resource’s request to impose penalties on Jones and the county for allegedly destroying evidence.
If granted, the court could impose “significant monetary penalties” on both Jones and Clark County in Nevada. Given that Clark County recently struggled to make a multimillion-dollar bond payment on the brand new Raider Stadium amid room tax shortfalls, the lawsuit could spell financial ruin for the county.
The deal is Gypsum Resources v. Clark CountyNo. 2:19-cv-00850-GMN-EJY in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.