Ethics complaint alleges legislator abused her office

A Las Vegas florist who claims Assemblywoman Francis Allen failed to pay for flowers provided for her wedding has filed a complaint against Allen with the Nevada Ethics Commission.

The complaint was sent Friday by Cynthia Calhoun, owner of Carabisio’s Flowers & Gifts. She charges that Allen, R-Las Vegas, abused her legislative position and sought favorable treatment in breach of the public trust.

Allen stopped payment on a check for more than $5,000 for the floral arrangements at her March wedding, claiming dissatisfaction with the florist.

Calhoun claims Allen expected to get the flowers for free because of her position and put pressure on other vendors to provide free services as well.

Allen, who is seeking a third term in office, said Calhoun’s accusations were false.

“I don’t use my title. The whole thing is fictitious,” she said Friday. “There’s no story here other than the fact that I had a bad florist.”

Allen said the arrangements were incomplete, some were wilted, and part of one arrangement fell onto the dance floor.

She said her wedding planner distributed pre-written checks to all the vendors at the wedding, but she decided to stop payment on the floral service balance, which was on top of $2,500 previously paid, after she saw shoddy service.

“I was paying top dollar for flowers, and I didn’t get it,” she said.

Allen denied Calhoun’s allegation that she obtained free liquor by pressuring another vendor to offer a gift, saying she paid for all the services at the wedding and could prove it.

“I don’t believe the Ethics Commission will find any merit to this,” she said.

Calhoun’s complaint states the florist met with Allen and others and heard a discussion of the liquor being donated that seemed intended to imply that the flowers might come free as well.

Allen, she alleges in the complaint, “may have used her position to curry favors and gifts from select businesses, breached public trust by seeking unwarranted gifts and privileges, punished those businesses when they fell out of her favor by publicly debasing them, did not avoid conflicts of interest between her private life and serving the public, did not enhance the people’s faith in the integrity and impartiality of public officers, and did not demonstrate the appropriate separation between the roles of persons who are both public servants and private citizens.”

Contact reporter Molly Ball at mball@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.

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