Police union's ex-chief avoiding court

The former head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Managers and Supervisors Association is accused of mis­appropriating nearly $40,000 in union funds, but he might avoid prosecution.

Union members who attended a January meeting voted not to press criminal charges against Lt. Paul C. Page in hopes that he pays back the money. If not, the union could pursue criminal charges against Page.

Page in November was placed on paid administrative leave following allegations that appeared "to detail some irregularities with association finances," a union e-mail stated.

In December, with the investigation into the missing funds ongoing, Page was unanimously approved for disability retirement by the Nevada Public Employees' Retirement Board, and left the police department.

Page was appointed to the retirement board by former Gov. Jim Gibbons but did not vote on his own retirement application. A PERS official would not say what disability Page claimed.

Because he was determined to be disabled, Page, 46, was able to retire before the usual minimum of 25 years of service for a healthy officer. Page joined the police department in 1992.

Citing state law, PERS officials would not say if Page applied for disability retirement before or after he learned of the investigation, or the amount of his pension. A PERS official said it normally takes 90 days to process a disability retirement application.

At the Jan. 26 union meeting, members learned the results of a forensic examination of the union's finances. The report by Anthem Forensics showed "intentional discrepancies" of $22,386.88, and "inappropriate charges" of $16,133.87, for a total of $38,520.75.

Page, for example, is accused of using union money to purchase computers and luxury office equipment annually, and then using them for a year at his home before turning the items over to the union. Page was first elected chairman of the union in 2004.

Attorney fees and the Anthem Forensics fee would add another $12,673.95 for a total bill of about $51,200, according to the union's board of directors.

At the meeting, union members were asked to decide whether to seek criminal prosecution of Page or to seek restitution privately, reserving prosecution as an option if Page fails to pay. One of the "pros" for seeking restitution was that there would be "no media attention."

A majority of members who attended the meeting voted to seek restitution.

The outcome of that vote has not been transmitted to Page or his attorneys, and Page could not be reached for comment.

The newly elected chairman of the board of directors, Lt. John Faulis, said it is uncertain what will happen next.

"This is an ongoing investigation, and we don't know which way we're going to end up resolving this thing," Faulis said.

Since Page left the union, the board has made several changes to avoid future financial indiscretions.

Union officials have hired a book­keeper to reconcile financial transactions with the union's treasurer, and issued corporate credit cards which will not be paid without board review and approval. Also, union officials plan to disclose financial records monthly, and increase communication with and oversight of the board.

Assistant Sheriff Ray Flynn said the department could launch an internal affairs investigation regardless of the union's decision.

The managers and supervisors union represents more than 450 sergeants, lieutenants and captains in the Metropolitan Police Department.

The chairman of the union works full-time in that capacity and does not have other departmental responsibilities.

Before heading the union, Page served in the Southeast Area Command, at the airport and as a detective with the special investigations and criminal intelligence sections, according to a biography on the union's website.

He also is a certified fraud specialist.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.