Las Vegas police served search warrants Wednesday morning in their investigation of an extortion plot against County Commissioner Steve Sisolak.
Detectives with the Criminal Intelligence Section of the Metropolitan Police Department searched the Henderson home of Sisolak's former girlfriend Kathleen Vermillion and the offices of longtime publicist Mark Fierro and Vermillion's lawyer, Robert Martin, sources said.
The investigation, open since late January, has focused on a meeting between Sisolak, Fierro and Martin.
Sisolak called the meeting a shakedown for $3.9 million. Martin and Fierro called the meeting a legal settlement conference to resolve the lawsuit Vermillion filed against Sisolak and Clark County three days earlier in District Court.
The former Henderson city councilwoman's lawsuit accused Sisolak of leaking her drug test results and of carrying on an improper relationship with her 15-year-old daughter. She has since dropped the lawsuit.
Vermillion said Wednesday that she fully cooperated with detectives when they came to her home and turned over any written correspondence she had with Fierro and Martin.
"I'm going to continue to cooperate, and I'm confident at the end of the day that I won't be charged," she said.
Martin declined to comment, and Fierro could not be reached for comment.
But Renee Roberts, an executive with Fierro Communications, issued a statement Wednesday.
"Our firm has been part of this community for decades," Roberts said. "We work with some of the most respected law firms in the state. We were retained by a law firm that was involved every step of the way throughout this case. We did nothing wrong, and we know with certainty that the facts of the case will bear that out."
The police investigation began when Sisolak filed a complaint after the Jan. 22 meeting at Fierro's office. During the meeting, the publicist said that he and Martin were not accusing Sisolak of criminal conduct but that "this is the stuff that ends political careers."
If Sisolak reached a settlement for $3.9 million, it would all "be erased," according to notes from Sisolak's lawyer, Laura FitzSimmons , who took notes based on a recording of the meeting.
At a news conference the next day, Sisolak blasted the people involved and called the meeting an extortion attempt. Hours later, Vermillion's team held a news conference that included a video of her 15-year-old daughter saying Sisolak had her model bathing suits for him, took her on a "movie date" and texted her late at night.
The teen also said that Sisolak was "obsessed with her looks and how she dressed" and that he tried to continue his relationship with her even after he and Vermillion ended their rocky five-year romance in October.
"I didn't want to think about him being attracted to me," the girl said in the video. "He's a liar. He's somebody you shouldn't trust. He's grimy."
The girl's father and Vermillion's ex-husband, Burt Boutin, later released a statement saying his daughter had told him that her statements were false and that she had been coaxed into giving the videotaped interview. Boutin's statement also said Sisolak "acted as a gentleman to both of my children and to me."
In the girl's interview, however, she said her father had called Sisolak a "sketchy guy."
Vermillion, 44, filed her lawsuit against Sisolak and Clark County amid public allegations that she misused money from the charity she founded, the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. The charity's interim director, Arash Ghafoori, filed a complaint Jan. 11 with the attorney general's office accusing her of malfeasance.
State authorities and the FBI were investigating.
Vermillion, who resigned from the City Council at the start of the year and was fired from the Partnership for Homeless Youth, has said she recently began substance abuse treatment. She was hospitalized after an overdose on Feb. 3, but she insists the overdose was not a suicide attempt.
She said she had begun mixing alcohol and anti-anxiety medication on a nightly basis to deal with the stress of being on the council, running the charity and being in a rocky relationship with Sisolak.
Review-Journal reporter Kristi Jourdan contributed to this report. Contact Jeff German at email@example.com or 702-380-8135. Contact reporter Brian Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0281.