Judge disqualifies lawyer in suit against Lowden

A U.S. District Court judge has disqualified an attorney representing a company suing lieutenant governor candidate Sue Lowden over a $77,000 bill from her U.S. Senate campaign in 2010.

Lowden, declaring victory, said Thursday she planned to try and get what she called “a bogus case” dismissed entirely after the judge threw attorney John Head off the case involving Vitale & Associates.

“I feel I’ve been vindicated on this case,” Lowden said. “The vendor has just been harassing me on a bogus charge.”

The news comes during the second week of early voting ahead of the June 10 primary.

Lowden, a Republican, is running against state Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, in the most heated contest on the ballot.

During the campaign, Hutchison has criticized Lowden for not paying some $600,000 in debt from her failed U.S. Senate campaign. Lowden has insisted she shouldn’t have to pay the Colorado polling company Vitale for work she said she didn’t authorize. As for the other bills, Lowden said she is waiting for the Federal Election Commission to sign off on a debt repayment plan in which vendors would be reimbursed about 45 cents on the dollar.

In the Vitale case, attorney Head had claimed the Lowden camp and her accountant, Las Vegas Councilman Bob Beers, weren’t cooperating with scheduled meetings to discuss the case.

But U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Dorsey sided with Lowden and disqualified Head, saying he was the one who seemed to have trouble meeting filing deadlines.

Separately, Head lost his bid to get Beers held in contempt for missing a meeting. The judge agreed with Beers that it wasn’t his fault and ordered Head to pay all court costs.

Lowden has filed papers to have the Vitale case dismissed and a federal magistrate has recommended it be dropped.

“I’m hopeful that happens soon,” Lowden said. “When you believe you’re right, you deserve your day in court.”

Hutchison’s campaign slammed Lowden for putting off paying vendors she has owed for several years.

“While families and small businesses go without payment for the time and services they provided Lowden, she wags her finger and shamelessly declares victory,” Hutchison campaign spokesman Ryan Cherry said in a statement.

“One wonders how much she has paid teams of lawyers and D.C. specialists to stall payment to hard working men and women that she hired for her last political campaign. Sue Lowden needs to answer why it’s okay to bankroll her political aspirations instead of using that money to pay her bills.”

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.