Valley Electric Association’s members delayed in ousting board

Updated March 25, 2019 - 8:26 pm

A group of members from Pahrump-based utility Valley Electric Association say the cooperative is refusing to let them oust the current board.

Ken Johnson, one of the organizers behind the roughly 100-member group VEA Members for Change, said the electric cooperative failed to acknowledge the 1,100-plus signatures requesting a special meeting in which members would vote to remove select directors from its board.

“They’re trying to get us frustrated and make us give up,” Johnson said. “But they’re just galvanizing the group.”

A Valley Electric representative said the group has failed to follow the correct steps laid out in its bylaws to request such a meeting.

Collecting signatures

VEA Members for Change was formed in early February, after Valley Electric announced a 9 percent rate hike in early February.

Since then, Valley Electric has been subject to a number of scandals. A search warrant from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, released Feb. 22, alleged the rate hike — which went into effect this month — may have stemmed from former CEO Tom Husted’s use of ratepayer money to pay for a sexual harassment cover-up. On Feb. 26, CEO Angela Evans was arrested on embezzlement charges.

Now, Johnson — the cooperative’s former executive vice president for broadband business — said the board is not following the cooperative’s bylaws, which state members can call a special meeting.

In order to remove directors, Johnson said, members must follow a two-step process. The first is have a written request signed by at least 5 percent of the members to call a special meeting. The cooperative’s secretary would have to notify members of the special meeting at least 25 days in advance. Then, 10 percent of the membership’s signatures would be needed to hold a vote to oust directors.

Valley Electric has roughly 17,500 members, and the organization collected more than 1,100 signatures — more than 6 percent of the estimated membership.

Johnson said VEA Members for Change had collected just over 1,200 signatures as of early Monday afternoon. The group had planned to hold the special meeting April 20, but the VEA’s secretary would have to alert members by Tuesday to meet the 25-day notice.

Different interpretations

After notifying the secretary of the signatures March 18, Johnson said, the group received no response. He added that after the group reached out to Richard Peck, the interim CEO, it was told the utility had chosen to ignore the notice until the group took further action.

Mike Hengel, Valley Electric’s executive vice president of corporate communications, said VEA Members for Change arrived at the Valley Electric offices Monday morning and handed the cooperative a copy of a blank petition. Hengel is a former editor in chief of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“They did not leave a written request signed by 5 percent of the members,” Hengel said via email. “The Board will evaluate any request for outside counsel for this group when it meets next.”

Johnson argued that the bylaw doesn’t say that the members have to hand over the petition’s signatures in order to call a special meeting.

“There are people who have signed that are scared to death that (VEA is) going to see their name and harass them or intimidate them,” Johnson said. “We’ve said we won’t hand over names to the company. We’re willing to bring them in and let (Valley Electric) inspect them, but (they) won’t be making photocopies of them.”

Johnson said Valley Electric declined to review and validate the signatures at its office Monday morning.

Legal action

VEA Members for Change had originally requested the VEA pay for legal counsel of its choosing, but Johnson said the group is now seeking counsel on its own.

“The gloves are truly off, and we’re going to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Johnson said.

If VEA Members for Change doesn’t get its request sorted in time to hold a special meeting on April 20, Johnson said, there’s a chance they’ll hold a vote to oust board members at Valley Electric’s biannual meeting on April 27.

“There are five backup plans,” he said.

Contact Bailey Schulz at or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

Business Videos
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA/Boring Company Press Conference
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced a collaboration with Elon Musk's The Boring Company to develop and operate an autonomous people mover system for the Las Vegas Convention Center District.
International Pizza Expo includes green and gluten free
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included companies focused on vegan and gluten free, and plant-based pizza boxes. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo kicks off in Las Vegas
The first day of the International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center is everything Pizza. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
T-Mobile program aids guests with sensory needs
A program at T-Mobile Arena is designed to provide a more sensory friendly experience for guests.
Photo Booth Expo
Danielle May talks about how Simple Booth transformed her Volkswagen bus into a business.
Nevada Gaming Commission's highest fines
The highest fines assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, according to commission Chairman Tony Alamo: 1) Wynn Resorts Ltd., $20 million, 2019 2) CG Technology (then known as Cantor G&W Holdings), $5.5 million, 2014 3) The Mirage, $5 million ($3 million fine, $2 million compensatory payment), 2003 4) Stardust, $3 million, 1985 5) Santa Fe Station, $2.2 million ($1.5 million fine, $700,000 compensatory payment), 2005 6) Las Vegas Sands, $2 million, 2016 7) CG Technology, $1.75 million, 2018 8) CG Technology, $1.5 million (also $25,000 in escrow for underpaid patrons), 2016 9) Caesars Entertainment, $1.5 million, 2015 10) Imperial Palace, $1.5 million, 1989 11) Peppermill Casinos, $1 million, 2014
Tiny Pipe Home vs Shipping Crate
A Tiny pipe home was displayed at the International Builders Show this week in Las Vegas.
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing