CARSON CITY -- The attorney for first lady Dawn Gibbons accused Gov. Jim Gibbons of involvement with another woman, stating in court documents filed Wednesday that this is his real reason for seeking a divorce.
"Despite his disingenuous, shallow, and transparent protestation that his relationship with another man's wife is a mere friendship, his infatuation and involvement with the other woman is the real, concealed and undisclosed reason for his voluntary departure from the marriage and from the Mansion where he occasionally resided," wrote Cal Dunlap, the former Washoe County district attorney who represents the first lady.
The comment is part of a motion filed in Washoe County Family Court that seeks to open all records in the first couple's divorce case and to have proceedings conducted in public.
Citing incompatibility, the governor, 63, on May 2 filed for divorce from his 54-year-old wife after nearly 22 years of marriage. Three days later, at the governor's request, Carson City District Judge Bill Maddox ordered that the records be sealed and the divorce conducted in private.
Dunlap said he did not identify the other woman "to spare embarrassment to her husband."
The woman is Kathy Karrasch, said several sources who requested anonymity, the wife of Reno podiatrist C. Craig Karrasch.
Recent phone records obtained by the Review-Journal show a single call placed from the governor's cell phone to Kathy Karrasch's cell phone on Jan. 10.
A family member who answered the cell phone Wednesday said Kathy Karrasch and her husband have separated for reasons unrelated to the governor.
The family member, who identified herself as the couple's daughter, said her mother had been advised not to talk to the media.
The high school sophomore said that Dawn Gibbons has had disagreements with her mother for years and wants to embarrass her for no legitimate reason despite her helping care for the Gibbonses' now 20-year-old son, Jimmy, when the couple were busy with their political campaigns.
Jim Gibbons is a former congressman, and Dawn Gibbons served in the Nevada Assembly.
Kathy Karrasch, 48, donated $870 to Jim Gibbons' 1996 run for Congress, according to election campaign records. At least $252.50 was an in-kind contribution for magnetic political signs.
Questions about the governor's fractured marriage followed him to Las Vegas, where they cut short a late afternoon news conference on a new state loan program that helps teachers buy homes.
Gibbons fielded one question about the loan program before he was asked about the allegations of infidelity. For his response in full, he referred the gathering of local media to a letter to the editor that was published in Elko's daily newspaper on Tuesday.
"I've answered this," Gibbons said. "I don't think it's appropriate for me to discuss my personal problems in the public, and I'm not going to do so. If you want to see my answer, you go turn to the Elko Daily Free Press."
In his letter to the Elko newspaper, Gibbons said he has known the woman, whom he did not name, for more than 15 years, adding "there is nothing inappropriate about that friendship."
"Saying I am 'involved' with her certainly leads readers to believe something that is not true," Gibbons said in the letter.
In his motion, Dunlap said Dawn Gibbons is entitled to a public court proceeding where "she can fix blame where it belongs, on the shoulders of the woman who has, for years, stalked the man who could give her the public persona and prestige that, apparently, she craves, and, for which she is willing to, concurrently, abandon her husband. And, he who has succumbed to the seduction of those wiles, should not be allowed to fix the blame, for the failure of the marriage, on anyone else but on the marital intruder and on himself."
Gary Silverman, the governor's lawyer, refused to comment on the allegations Dunlap raised in his motion.
Dunlap said Gibbons has been treating the first lady like a "castaway wife" though she stood up for him in October 2006 when he was accused by Las Vegas cocktail server Chrissy Mazzeo of trying to sexually assault her.
Las Vegas police investigated Mazzeo's charges and declined to file criminal charges against Gibbons.
But Dunlap said Mazzeo bears a "striking resemblance" to the Reno woman with whom the governor is involved.
Dunlap added that Mazzeo "like his wife now, was trashed" by the governor, and "the Public was again misled."
Dawn Gibbons has been the governor's "greatest asset," Dunlap said.
She has worked "relentlessly and tirelessly to advance his career, and had stood by his side, at the most critical time in his quest to be elected governor," Dunlap said.
"In short, by not stepping up and by not candidly admitting his fawning involvement with his frequent bar, lunch, dinner, and even grocery store companion, he (the governor) has brought the spotlight down upon himself and upon the reason for the divorce," Dunlap said in the court documents.
Dunlap charged that Silverman has threatened to retaliate against him and Dawn Gibbons "should the truth of his (the governor's) extracurricular activities become an issue in this case."
In the motion, Dunlap charged the governor has "deserted, abandoned and has shunned his wife without justification for that behavior."
He said Gibbons, by his acts, statements and innuendos, has suggested the marriage failed because of "some fault" on Dawn Gibbons' part and her unwillingness to work to save the marriage.
By opening records to public scrutiny and by conducting the divorce in public, Dawn Gibbons can "set the record straight and debunk the whispers and the propaganda," according to Dunlap's motion.
Depriving her of that right would be a "grave injustice" not only to her "but to the remaining trusting and believing public, if any, who expect integrity and truth from their elected officials," he added.
Under state law, one party in a divorce action can petition judges to have records sealed and the divorce trial conducted in private.
In his motion, Dunlap charges that law is unconstitutional when applied to public officials.
"There is no greater public property right in Court proceedings or need for public scrutiny of judicial proceedings than when the Plaintiff holds one of the highest offices in a state, in this case, the Governor of the State of Nevada, and then seeks to bar the press and the public from the contents of the Court and from Court Proceedings," Dunlap said.
The case has been moved to Family Court in Reno. District Judge Francis Doherty is slated to preside over the divorce.
Review-Journal writers Brian Haynes and Henry Brean contributed to this report. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.