Never at a loss for stories that embarrass

Talk about depressing. No, not the sorry state of the economy or the fact housing prices are in the dumper.

I’m upset because not a single Clark County commissioner was arrested in 2008. Talk about a slow year. Fortunately, state government did more than its share.

An indicted lieutenant governor, a divorcing governor: Come to think of it, there are plenty of candidates for my 19th annual Bottom 10 most embarrassing stories of the year.

Last year, city officials won top of the bottom honors for their malodorous arrest of homeless men in Huntridge Park whom they apprehended in the vicinity of fecal matter. In the end, the poopers scooped up $10,000 from the city.

But that’s a walk in the park compared with the odd events of 2008, a year in which I was tempted to make a Bottom 10 list just for Gov. Jim Gibbons, whose administration and personal life made him a singularly target-rich environment.

Around these parts, you had better watch where you step:

No. 10: KROLICKI’S KAPUT.

Former state treasurer and current Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki cries politics after he is indicted on allegations he mismanaged Nevada’s college savings funds. Maybe he should ask his buddy, former Treasurer Bob Seale, for advice.

No. 9: SHELDON’S STUMBLE.

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson loses lawsuits and $24 billion in personal wealth in a stormy 2008. I know whenever I lose $24 billion, it’s usually behind the couch cushions. I hear his 2009 looks even more cloudy.

No. 8: JERRY’S PISTOL.

Comedy legend Jerry Lewis is busted at an airport for having an unloaded pistol in a carry-on bag. Was he trying to collect from deadbeats trying to renege on their MDA pledges? Hey, pal, you don’t mess with Jerry’s Kids.

No. 7: STEVE’S SLAP.

Casino impresario Steve Wynn makes headlines when he gets slapped while trying to remove a prostitute from his resort. He spends the rest of the year pimp-slapping his competition on the Strip and watching his stock defy gravity in one of the worst years in Las Vegas history.

No. 6: DA DEMO DERBY.

Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett crashes two vehicles, including his county-issued SUV, in a single day, and is suspected of drunken driving. His response: Run for a seat on the District Court bench.

No. 5: JUSTICE PERVERTED.

Judge Nicholas DelVecchio’s endlessly inappropriate behavior finally comes back to bite him in a salacious complaint filed by the Judicial Discipline Commission. He’s an embarrassment to a bench with more than its share of red-faced moments.

No. 4: HALVERSON’S HORROR.

District Judge Elizabeth Halverson is yanked from the bench after being found incompetent. Halverson later is hospitalized after being beaten by her husband. All in all, it’s a bad year in the Halverson household.

No. 3: MANSION GHOST.

One of the more pathetic moments in Gov. Gibbons’ divorce from wife Dawn — and there have been a few — happens when she takes up residence in the guesthouse next to the Governor’s Mansion.

No. 2: OMG! BFF!

In a year of tough moments for Gibbons, getting caught text messaging a woman not your spouse had to be one of the most humiliating. When it was reported Gibbons had messaged Kathy Karrasch 860 times in one month, the governor’s divorce story line took a wicked plot twist.

His response has been to admit only that he and Karrasch were just friends. But will they be best friends forever?

No. 1: JUICE JUSTICE.

What, you thought I would leave the odd case of robbery and kidnapping against O.J. Simpson off the list? Not a chance.

While journalists and editors weighed whether the story warranted 24-hour coverage, the public kept its jaded eye on The Juice. District Judge Jackie Glass threw Simpson for a loss he never received in his NFL days: 33 years with parole eligibility only after he serves 11 years.

Meanwhile, most of his partners in the strange crimes committed in the name of retrieving Simpson’s own memorabilia turned against him and saved their skins.

All except Clarence "C.J." Stewart, that is.

Expect their appeals to go nowhere. Expect Simpson to rot in prison.

Finally, expect the murder suspect to spend the rest of his life thinking about the concept of karma.

You know, maybe 2008 wasn’t so bad after all.

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith/.

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