Commission rejects Loux deal

CARSON CITY — The state Ethics Commission on a 3-2 vote Thursday refused to accept former state Agency for Nuclear Projects administrator Bob Loux’s proposal to pay the state back more than $29,000 in salary overpayments in exchange for dropping an ethics complaint against him.

Acting Commissioner Robert Weise said he could not accept Loux’s proposal “because there is no punishment here.”

“All he would be doing is giving back money that he should not have received in the first place,” he said.

The decision means the Ethics Commission will go forward with a planned March 12 evidentiary hearing at which many state officials, including former Gov. Kenny Guinn, have been subpoenaed to attend.

That civil hearing might last several days and commissioners could decide to fine Loux and order him to pay back additional funds to the state.

Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, filed an ethics complaint against Loux after a September legislative hearing. At that hearing, Loux admitted taking the salary of an employee who retired from his office and dividing it up among his staff and himself.

Soon afterward, Gov. Jim Gibbons released results of an audit that showed Loux and his staff for at least three years received as much as 33 percent more than their legislatively approved salaries.

According to the administration, Loux made a $151,442 salary last year when he was entitled to receive $114,088. Governors of Nevada earn $141,000 a year.

Gibbons called for Loux’s resignation.

Loux eventually resigned and recently was replaced by Bruce Breslow as the head of the agency that fights against the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

As head of the agency for 23 years, Loux was one of the best known officials in Nevada.

After rejecting Loux’s proposed agreement Thursday, Ethics Commission Chairman Mark Hutchison and other commissioners said they would accept the stipulation if in it Loux admitted that he “willfully violated” ethics laws by diverting money to his and his staff salaries without proper authority.

Tom Perkins, one of Loux’s lawyers, refused to accept that offer. He said that admitting to a willful violation might adversely affect his client if criminal charges eventually are brought against him.

“I would not like an admission (of a willful violation) brought against him in that context,” Perkins said.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Department is investigating whether Loux violated state laws by his decisions that increased salaries for himself and his staff.

Carson City District Attorney Neil Rombardo has agreed to prosecute if a criminal indictment is filed against Loux.

By admitting to a willful violation, Loux also could have been fined as much as $5,000 by the Ethics Commission.

Hutchison questioned how Loux could not be guilty of a willful violation since “he took a full salary of someone in the department and divvied it up without authority.”

Besides paying back $16,444 in salary overpayments and $12,922 in overpaid retirement benefits, Loux likely will be forced to pay back another $22,000 in salary overpayment he received in two earlier years. Perkins said the state controller is still determining what Loux must pay back for those years.

During the hearing, Judy Sheldrew, another of Loux’s lawyers, said that state law from the time of Guinn’s administration gave governors the authority to change salaries of Loux and people in his office as long as they did not exceed legislatively approved spending for the agency.

Salaries were increased under this procedure, according to Sheldrew, and state budget officers for some reason did not pick up the changes in subsequent budgets presented to the Legislature.

She said Guinn “essentially delegated” to Loux the authority to set his agency’s salaries.

Rules on this procedure were supposed to have been written, but they were “all verbal,” Sheldrew added.

“It will be difficult to sort out who is responsible for all these messes,” said Perkins, adding that the administration and the Legislature also are to blame.

Weise, however, said there was no record of governors actually approving Loux’s salary adjustments and he would like to hear from people in positions of authority on whether they knew of the adjustments.

Perkins acknowledged that Loux “made a lot of mistakes” and did not tell the Gibbons’ administration about diverting the salary of a vacant position to himself and his staff.

He said Loux had a “distinguished” 30-year career with the state, lost his job and likely will not find a comparable job in today’s economy.

“He agrees it was an ethical transgression,” Perkins said.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.

Volunteers gather for annual Clark County homeless count
Volunteers gather for the annual Southern Nevada Homeless Census, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who can understand hospital price lists?
Lists of costs for procedures, drugs and devices are now posted the websites of hospitals to comply with a new federal rule designed to provide additional consumer transparency. Good luck figuring out what they mean.
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Group helping stranded motorists during power outage
A group of Good Samaritans are offering free gas to people in need at the Glendale AM/PM, during a massive power outage near Mesquite on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like