AG declines to pursue charges against Nye County sheriff

PAHRUMP — The Nevada attorney general’s office has declined to pursue charges against Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo after officials there determined there was insufficient evidence to show the elected official willfully overspent his budget during the last fiscal year.

The county district attorney’s office was issued a letter on June 27 stating that based on a review of the evidence from the previous fiscal year and various interviews with county personnel, there wasn’t enough evidence to show DeMeo knowingly intended to spend more money than his department was allocated.

“Based on the review, I must decline to prosecute due to a lack of sufficient evidence of intent,” Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto wrote in a letter to District Attorney Brian Kunzi last month.

Prosecution of the sheriff was first sought by county commissioners in October when they voted 4-0, with one member absent, to refer DeMeo to the attorney general after he reportedly went more than $1 million over his budget, in apparent violation of Nevada law.

DeMeo declined comment Friday, but his attorney, Adam Levine, said he was not surprised the attorney general decided not to pursue charges. He said the overexpenditure was due in part to the county budgeting for more members of the Sheriff’s Office staff to take furlough days, despite the fact those unpaid days off had never been bargained for with the local police union, the Nye County Law Enforcement Association.

“We believe the reason the attorney general’s office closed the case was one, the county budgeted the sheriff’s office for furloughs without it ever having been negotiated with NCLEA, which was improper on the part of the county, and two, in May and June, the (county) comptroller’s office gave the sheriff’s office inaccurate financial reports, which falsely claimed the sheriff’s office had not yet used up its fully allocated budget,” Levine said.

Contact Pahrump Valley Times reporter Kelsey Givens at or 775-727-5102.