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Ex-Henderson City Attorney Josh Reid responds to city’s allegations

Updated August 14, 2019 - 8:57 pm

Former Henderson City Attorney Josh Reid is pushing back on allegations that he filed costly anonymous records requests and false complaints.

Last month, a Henderson-hired attorney wrote to Reid that his alleged actions cost the city more than $150,000.

In an Aug. 7 response, Reid’s lawyer, Janeen Isaacson, outlined the former city attorney’s denial of the allegations and said that the letter sent on the city’s behalf contains inaccuracies and was “sent to press outlets for the sole purpose of defaming Mr. Reid in order to damage his professional reputation and to smear his record of accomplishment as city attorney.”

Henderson breached its duty to maintain confidentiality and defend Reid by releasing the notification of allegations, Isaacson said.

“This release resulted in a July 25, 2019, article being published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal defaming Mr. Reid, causing disruption with his current employer and clients, and causing significant expense to be incurred responding to the city’s unfounded allegations,” the letter said.

Henderson also “reached out” to other news outlets with the intention of creating “defamatory press coverage” against Reid, the response said.

The city declined to comment on the attorney’s letter.

In a statement to the Review-Journal, Reid said: “I respect and appreciate my friends and former colleagues at the city of Henderson, and I am hopeful that this can be resolved quickly and amicably.”

Responding to allegations

Reid left the city last year to return to private practice as a partner at Lewis Roca Rothegerber Christie LLP. Henderson alleges that in February 2018, while he was still employed at City Hall, Reid submitted an anonymous records request for no reason but to harass the city and create expenses.

Although Reid denies submitting the requests and filing the complaints, his attorney argued that the alleged actions do not run afoul of Henderson policy or state law.

The letter to Reid said that in early March of last year, he submitted an anonymous ethics complaint against Councilman John Marz. Reid then sent the complaint to outside counsel for review, the letter said.

Isaacson wrote that the complaint was not sent out for review.

Days after the ethics complaint, the city alleges, Reid sent himself a records request seeking all text messages from professional and personal phones of “various city officials.”

Reid’s attorney replied that the complaint in question also requested Reid’s own text messages and would be compiled by the city attorney’s office. “Accordingly, the primary person Mr. Reid would be harming by making such an anonymous records request would be himself,” the letter said.

The city said that after Reid left his job in City Hall, he continued to make records requests using an encrypted email service. He is also accused of submitting anonymous complaints that cost more than $40,000 to investigate.

Reid’s lawyer wrote that the letter sent on the city’s behalf “purposefully defames” Reid by implying his employment was terminated. He left City Hall voluntarily “well before” his contract expired, the letter said.

Legal threats

Isaacson threatened to sue if the city does not stop its accusations against Reid and asked that the city reimburse Reid for the cost of hiring an attorney.

Reid’s attorney says that, despite settled law,”the city seeks to harm Mr. Reid’s reputation purely in an effort to chill speech against the city and to cause fear to others that make complaints that the city does not like, that the city will send highly paid lawyers after them to defame them and threaten them with damages.”

Henderson offered Reid the opportunity to avoid a lawsuit by agreeing not to submit requests or complaints anonymously and by refraining from communications that harass or inconvenience the city.

Isaacson responded that the city could avoid a lawsuit by not pursuing legal action, withdrawing its demand and stopping what she described as “disruptive and illegal conduct.”

“Additionally, since such assurances seem important to the city, Mr. Reid would confirm that if he wishes to file complaints or submit requests for records with the city of Henderson, he will do so in his own name or on behalf of a client,” the letter said.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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