The Las Vegas constable’s office was back in business Wednesday, the day after police executed a search warrant looking for evidence of illegal wiretapping.
Chief Deputy Dean Lauer said the police raid hasn’t disrupted the constable’s services, which include handling evictions and serving court papers.
“They took a lot of stuff, but nothing that affects our operation,” Lauer said. “The deputies are out there doing their job.”
The office has 24 deputies and eight process servers, who are hired by the constable. Clark County civilian employees support the office with eight full-time staffers and five part-time workers.
Detectives with the Criminal Intelligence Section of the Metropolitan Police Department carted away computers, phones and other electronic equipment from Constable John Bonaventura’s office and his home in southeastern Las Vegas in a separate search at the same time late Tuesday.
Bonaventura was at his downtown office when detectives arrived to serve the search warrant.
He left through a back door, jumped into his car and prepared to drive away but was approached by detectives and then returned to the office, according to people present during the raid. Detectives kept him away from his employees as they conducted their search.
Police said Tuesday the search warrants were served as part of an investigation into a recorded telephone call between Bonaventura and Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, which the Review-Journal obtained and reported in May. The department has said the newspaper story was the basis of its investigation.
Detectives searched for evidence that would show if there is a violation of the state’s law against surreptitious telephone recordings. Under the law, both parties in a telephone conversation must give consent to be recorded. Anyone convicted of violating the law faces one to four years in prison.
In an audio file obtained by the Review-Journal, Bonaventura is heard introducing and playing to another person a recording of a telephone conversation between him and Collins. In the conversation, Collins profanely criticizes county commissioners Steve Sisolak, Mary Beth Scow and Susan Brager and encourages Bonaventura to run for the county commission and tell people he won’t be a puppet if elected.
“I wanted you to hear this thing,” Bonaventura says in the recording, introducing a person to his conversation with Collins. “This is pretty funny, man. This is Tom Collins. You know he’s one of the commissioners, right? He’s talking about Scow, the lady I’m running against. You know all of them voted against the office. He’s talking about Scow and Brager and then I confronted him about why the f—— did he vote against our office and s—- like that.”
Bonaventura ran against Scow for a commission seat in the June 10 primaries but lost the Democratic nomination for the seat to incumbent Scow.
Collins later told a reporter he never gave permission for the conversation to be recorded.
No arrests have been made in the wiretapping investigation, and Bonaventure has not returned messages seeking comment since the police raid. A recording on his cell phone said his voicemail inbox was full.
His attorney Robert Pool has declined to comment.
County commissioners unanimously voted in March 2013 to abolish Bonaventura’s office, effective when his term ends in January 2015. Bonaventura was elected to his first term in 2010 and has become embroiled in a variety of controversies since then, including jurisdictional disputes with neighboring constables, financial conflicts with the county and lawsuits from former staffers.
Bonaventure filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the county’s decision to abolish the office, but a Clark County district judge ruled against him this month. On Tuesday, the constable filed a notice he was appealing the decision, court records show.
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