The state Supreme Court has allowed bail for the former construction chief of the College of Southern Nevada while he appeals his August 2010 conviction for stealing building material and equipment from the school to build a million-dollar home near Mount Charleston.
Former CSN Associate Vice President William "Bob" Gilbert was found guilty by a jury of 11 felony counts of theft and was sentenced to one to four years at Three Lakes Valley Conservation Camp, a minimum-security facility in Indian Springs.
Gilbert has maintained he had permission from his bosses to use the material and equipment for college-related projects on his property and that no one from the college was harmed by his actions.
"If there's no victim, there's no crime," said defense attorney Brent Bryson who welcomed the decision by justices Nancy Saitta, James Hardesty and Ron Parraguirre.
In an order filed Wednesday granting Gilbert's request for bail, the justices said Gilbert's appeal was not frivolous. His convictions were for nonviolent property offenses, there's been no indication he's a flight risk and he has made all of his court appearances.
Bryson said Gilbert's family was extremely happy and Gilbert looks forward to having the high court review "all the facts and circumstances surrounding what he believes to be his wrongful conviction."
Bryson said he is "cautiously optimistic that Mr. Gilbert's appeal will be victorious and his conviction overturned, however, we do not want to read too much into the Supreme Court's order."
The bail amount will be set by the trial judge, District Judge Donald Mosley, at a hearing that has not yet been scheduled. Bryson is hoping for a minimal bail setting. Releasing Gilbert on his own recognizance also could be an option.
Gilbert is appealing several issues, including a claim that there was insufficient evidence presented at trial and that no one from the college during the trial said construction equipment or building materials were missing from the college.
Authorities said Gilbert and three co-defendants took construction-grade material and equipment from the college for Gilbert to build his house in lower Kyle Canyon, and the co-defendants worked on the house when they should have been working on campus. One state investigator described Gilbert's property as "a Home Depot" of building supplies.
Former CSN President Ron Remington testified at the trial that he gave Gilbert permission to do construction work, including welding, at his residence because the college did not have the storage space or facilities for the work on campus. But he said Gilbert was not authorized to make personal use of college materials and equipment.
Days before the trial began, Gilbert's co-defendants -- Thad Skinner, Matthew Goins and George Casal -- pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit theft, a gross misdemeanor, and were sentenced to one year of probation.
Gilbert, a former Marine, refused a pretrial plea offer that included probation and payment of $20,000 in restitution in exchange for a guilty plea to three felony theft counts.
Gilbert had a prior felony conviction before taking his job at CSN. Gilbert pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge involving $6,200 in 1991 based on accusations that arose while he worked as a construction manager for an Indian tribe in California.
Although it wasn't required by the college at the time, Gilbert did disclose his felony conviction to the CSN president when he was hired.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at email@example.com or 702-380-1039.