You’ll be relieved to learn Erin Kenny’s vertigo is slowly clearing up.
The corrupt former Clark County commissioner was uncharacteristically candid this week in federal court when she admitted she receives $16,800 a month — that’s $201,600 a year — as a stealth consultant to developer Jim Rhodes. Although that must have shocked those unaccustomed to her rapacious nature, give her credit for remembering to tell the truth this time.
The last time she set foot in court as a prosecution witness, in the corruption trial of former Commissioners Mary Kincaid-Chauncey and Dario Herrera, Kenny failed to mention Rhodes’ generosity. She claimed she suffered from vertigo, which we recently learned was self-diagnosed.
This week, in the trial of developer consultant Don Davidson, Kenny’s memory was better.
Vertigo, it comes and goes.
Kenny testified about receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes before getting caught and turning against her former benefactors. She admitted taking a $200,000 payoff she swears Davidson and his son, Larry Davidson, helped conceal.
The payoff was connected to Kenny’s shameless shilling for a zoning change and special-use permit for a CVS Pharmacy at Desert Inn Road and Buffalo Drive.
Perhaps the best part of Kenny’s testimony came under cross-examination, when she acknowledged receiving that monthly stipend as Rhodes’ personal consultant on zoning and development matters. Kenny is a government affairs specialist, no pun intended.
Not only does she receive $16,800 a month from Rhodes for stealth consulting, but that is an increase from the original $15,000 she said she received.
That’s right. She does nothing so well she’s earned a raise.
If you don’t believe Kenny’s expertise is hard to quantify, just look at what she does for him.
I mean, really look.
Go on. Keep looking.
Look a little more.
Tired of looking?
Let me do a little looking for you.
Nevada laws concerning real estate development are constantly evolving, but a check of the state’s Web site shows Kenny wasn’t a lobbyist during this past session of the Legislature. Although she’s a former member of the Assembly, only a dope would hang out with her.
No official I spoke with recalls passing the stealth consultant in the halls of the Clark County Government Center or seeing her approach the microphone to speak on behalf of Rhodes at a zoning or commission meeting. Given her notoriety and eventual jailbird status, it’s hard to imagine the county official so numb-skulled he’d dare to be seen meeting with Kenny.
Just to make sure, I called County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre, who said Kenny hasn’t signed up to lobby the commissioners. Of course, Parraguirre reminds me she has no way of knowing who meets with commissioners and fails to sign in.
That’s a job for the FBI.
I also called County Manager Virginia Valentine, whose colleagues nurse black eyes they’ve received from the corrupt acts of Kenny, Herrera, Kincaid-Chauncey, and Lance Malone.
“Whatever she’s doing for 200,000 a year, we haven’t seen her over here,” Valentine says. “It would be the kiss of death to be seen with Erin Kenny.”
It’s a kiss Rhodes doesn’t mind receiving.
Down at City Hall, City Manager Doug Selby reports not a single Kenny sighting. As far as Selby’s aware, Kenny “has never set foot in the Development Services Center, which is where anybody would go who is working for a developer on a project.”
Now that’s stealthy consulting.
Kenny received thousands of dollars in bribes from strip club mogul Michael Galardi, who also became a government witness. In his 2003 FBI debriefing, Galardi remembered Commissioner Kenny telling him that Rhodes paid her $20,000 a month.
“Jim Rhodes gives me $20,000. You only give me $10,000,” Galardi recalled her saying, adding that he confirmed the payment arrangement with Rhodes.
Was Rhodes paying Kenny long before she left office to become his stealth consultant?
I called Rhodes seeking illumination, but so far my phone has failed to ring.
Some skeptics will believe Kenny’s being well paid to remain silent and protect Rhodes’ interests, because it is clear she does nothing for her $16,800 per month.
After watching her political/criminal career unfold, it’s obvious Erin Kenny will continue to do nothing as long as those checks keep coming.
Vertigo, it comes and goes.
John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 383-0295.JOHN L. SMITHMORE COLUMNSDiscuss this column in the eForums!