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Constable: Shred investigation of porn star searches

Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura ordered the shredding of documents from an internal investigation that determined his second-in-command, Deputy Chief Dean Lauer, had used office resources to look for information about adult film actresses, the Review-Journal has learned.

Bonaventura ordered the documents destroyed at a meeting in April 2013, about a month after Clark County commissioners voted to abolish the troubled office when Bonaventura’s term ends in January.

Deputies had raised an alarm after learning that someone used Lauer’s log-on name and password to access the office’s $800-a-month subscription-based database to look up porn actresses, according to documents obtained by the newspaper and inter­views with employees of the office.

The database service, Accurint, is typically used by law enforcement for investigative purposes such as finding addresses, phone numbers and contact information for people, such as the names of family members. It can also provide other personal data, such as dates of birth, Social Security numbers and other names used by a person.

Constable’s Office records obtained by the Review-Journal show someone using Lauer’s password searched for 16 current and former actresses, including Traci Lords, Porche Lynne, Kayla Kleevage, Lisa Sparxxx and Gianna Michaels. Employees of the office said it was unclear whether the system was accessed from a Constable’s Office computer or a personal computer elsewhere. No legitimate law enforcement purpose for the searches was ever identified, they told the Review-Journal.

Capt. Hadi Sadjadi, the office’s internal affairs investigator, presented the information at the meeting with Bonaventura, Lauer and other senior officers. On a recording of the meeting obtained by the Review-Journal, Bonaventura wasn’t interested in knowing anything at all about the unauthorized searches done between March and December 2012.

“I need you to pull out all that stuff you got on Dean for running the Accurint stuff because, you know, I believe in my heart that he didn’t do it because he’s addicted to porno or something like that,” Bonaventura is heard saying. “I know somebody mentioned it was 3 in the morning or whatever. … I don’t know. I don’t even want to know. I don’t want to f—-ing know. Whatever you got, I want you to bring it in here and put it in the pile.”

In an email to the Review-Journal on Monday, Bonaventura denied giving the order to destroy records and said Lauer didn’t use Accurint to look up the porn actresses. He said it is “impossible to respond to lies and baseless allegations.”

When asked to reconcile his statement with his comments on the recording, Bonaventura said the recording was probably doctored by a disgruntled former employee, though he declined an offer to have it played for him.

Lauer said in a statement that he had in the past filed a report about his passwords being accessed and changed. He also called the recording of the meeting “illegal and possibly doctored.”

SHREDDING ORDERED

Bonaventura’s employees have told the newspaper they routinely make surreptitious recordings to document interactions with colleagues and superiors in the constable’s office, and someone in the meeting did just that.

On the recording, Sadjadi is heard responding to Bonaventura’s opening comment by asking that chairs in the office be rearranged so staffers could face each other and have a “friendly debate.”

“We’re not having a debate, Hadi,” Bonaventura responded. “We’re not having a debate. …”

“But what I want you guys to do is I’m going to leave the room,” Bonaventura said. “There’s all this stuff here. There’s a shredder right there. Take your own crap and put it in the f—-ing shredder, OK? And when I come back, I want every­body to shake hands and that’s it.”

Bonaventura expressed concern for the future of his job, and for those of his staff.

“I don’t want no more of this infighting b—-s—-,” Bonaventura said. “We got too much at stake here. All of our jobs are on the line. Don’t you guys realize every one of our jobs are on the line?”

Bonaventura’s orders were followed and his men shredded the records, current and former employees familiar with the matter told the newspaper.

In the year since the shredding, Lauer has remained on the job. He is one of about two dozen sworn law enforcement officers in the Constable’s Office, which handles evictions and serves court papers.

PAST RECORDINGS

The recording of the meeting about the unauthorized searches for adult actresses isn’t the first to leak from Bonaventura’s office.

The Review-Journal in May obtained a recording of a telephone conversation between Bonaventura and Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins. The pair talked about the County Commission’s decision to abolish the constable’s office and Bonaventura’s run for the seat of Commissioner Mary Beth Scow in the June primaries. Bonaventura would later lose that race.

Collins, who called several of his fellow commissioners “puppets” during the exchange, has said he never gave permission to be recorded. That tape was obtained after Bonaventura played it to another person, who happened to be recording a conversation with the constable.

The Metropolitan Police Department raided the constable’s office June 17 with search warrants as part of a wiretapping probe into the recording. Under state law, it’s illegal to record a telephone conversation without both parties’ consent.

Bonaventura has not been arrested or charged with any crimes in connection with the ongoing investigation.

The Review-Journal obtained another recording in which Bonaventura says he wishes he could spend all of the office’s $3.9 million and leave the county with nothing when his office is abolished.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.

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