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How to pay for costly Badlands rulings? Las Vegas mayoral candidates weigh in

Updated May 31, 2024 - 3:54 pm

The Review-Journal reached out to all of Las Vegas’ mayoral candidates to get comment on how the city should pay for the Badlands-related court rulings and whether they agreed with the city’s decision to engage in the yearslong legal battle.

Cedric Crear

The mayoral campaign of the Las Vegas city councilman, who was elected in 2018, referred questions for this story to the city’s public information office. He has voted to approve spending millions of dollars for outside lawyers to litigate the dispute for the city, council minutes show.

At a recent candidate forum, he told voters that he was standing up for them and the city has done nothing wrong in the Badlands case.

Below are edited excerpts from the candidates who replied for this story.

Kola Akingbade

I totally agree that the city should have gone into litigation. The problem, however, is they went too far. At some point they should have realized that they would lose this suit. In order to end this nightmare, the city should borrow money through a bond sale and pay this off.

Tera Anderson

I will not support raising city taxes to pay for this. The city must immediately approve the entitlement application on this project and proceed with negotiating with the developer to stop the bleeding. Until this occurs, the final cost of these legal judgments increase with every passing day.

Lynn Baird

I’d like to see if we can settle out of court for a lesser amount. Also, if there is some way we can pay for the judgments using some general fund money, selling some assets and borrowing if necessary, that would be good. Raising taxes would be my very last option.

Shelley Berkley

It is a sign of insanity to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result. I just don’t understand why the City Council keeps voting for funding to pay outside counsel to continue this fight.

Irina Hansen

I strongly disagree with the city’s handling of the Badlands case, which will have significant, adverse economic effects on Las Vegas taxpayers.

I will publicly apologize to Mr. Lowie and acknowledge the city’s improper treatment of him. I will use general fund money to cover his legal fees and offer tax breaks and incentives for the development.

Kara Jenkins

We need to move towards a settlement. We need to use the funds for other things and help our residents. This could have been avoided. Now it’s time to pick up the pieces.

If I’m mayor, I’d look at bonds. I don’t want to cut into crucial services like fire and rescue or public safety. I hate borrowing money, but I don’t want to tap into other areas allocated to help people.

Eric Medlin

The city needs to settle. To the average person looking at this, this is just a bunch of rich people buying political influence to prevent something from being built in their backyard. If it were up to me, I would make them pay out of their own pockets along with some council members.

Donna Miller

The city should never have been involved in this dispute and should focus on settling to stop the financial bleeding. Using the general fund will affect our city’s services. Borrowing money will spread the financial burden but will also add interest. Selling assets will provide quick cash, but it will not be sustainable. Raising property taxes will be very unpopular.

Michael Pacino

The City Council was in the wrong on this issue from the very beginning. The city and its residents are now left on the hook for the council’s blunder, and this case will have catastrophic consequences to the residents of this city.

Deb Peck

I would choose a combination of bonds, asset sales, staggered payments, non-monetary compensation, and any assistance from Clark County and the state of Nevada. The developer wants an end to this nightmare, and so do we the taxpayer.

Victoria Seaman

The city has money in reserves for this outcome, but ultimately, it will affect the city’s budget and services. For this reason, I have been advocating for settlement for five years. It is irresponsible to gamble with taxpayer dollars.

William “Dock” Walls

If there is no relief from an insurance policy, I will seek grants and aid from the state of Nevada and federal government programs designed to assist municipalities facing significant legal settlements.

We will spread the anticipated $200 million payout over 10 years. This will allow us to continue delivering essential services without disruption.

The City Council should have avoided the eight-year legal battle with the Badlands’ owners. The awards granted by the courts greatly threaten the city’s solvency.

Note: Mayoral candidate Dan Chapman did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Michael Pacino’s campaign said he was not providing headshots of himself or offering photo opportunities.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342.

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