Tea Party candidate makes restitution, avoids arrest

U.S. Senate hopeful Scott Ashjian will avoid being arrested on felony charges of theft and writing bad checks after he paid $5,575 to cover a bounced check and court fees.

The Tea Party of Nevada candidate told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Thursday that his campaign would release a statement regarding all of his legal woes today .

"The bottom line is, I did pay money on a stop payment check, it wasn't an insufficient funds claim like (the complaint that) was issued," Ashjian said. "At the end of the day, the facts will come out."

Chief Deputy District Attorney Bernie Zadrowski said a Las Vegas judge is expected to approve withdrawal of criminal charges against Ashjian sometime today.

If he had been convicted, the 46-year-old Ashjian would have faced up to 14 years in state prison and would have been banned from running for elected office.

"He came in (Wednesday) and made full restitution," said Zadrowski, chief of the bad check unit.

Ashjian is one of 22 candidates seeking to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat running for his fifth term.

Last week, the Nevada State Contractors Board revoked Ashjian's contractor's license for his asphalt company and ordered him to pay more than $2,600 in additional fees on top of the $37,000 to complainants, which also included a bad check written for $981.82.

As of Thursday, board spokesman Art Nadler said Ashjian had not paid the fines and fees as needed to reinstate his contractor's license.

When asked about his campaign to unseat Reid, Ashjian said voters are perceiving it "based on untrue stories."

"We plan on presenting the facts, and at the end of the day the facts will fall on our side," Ashjian said. "The GOP elitists are pulling out all stops trying to get me to check out."

The Senate candidate has had mounting legal troubles since announcing his candidacy. Public documents show Ashjian faced foreclosure on home loans totaling almost $1 million, owed a $200,000 Internal Revenue Service tax debt and faced liens and city nuisance actions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279.