After FBI career, special agent heads to fairways to improve kids’ futures

After heading the FBI in Nevada for three years, Kevin Favreau has became a salesman of sorts.

It’s not the traditional route taken by retiring special agents in charge here. They usually land cushy six-figure jobs in hotel security.

Favreau decided, after spending 29 years with the highly structured FBI, that he wanted to work with a nonprofit, to do something that improves Las Vegas, his home for the past three years.

Turning to Craigslist, Favreau wrote “executive director for a nonprofit” and suddenly the answer was provided. First Tee of Southern Nevada, a program to teach kids ages 6 to 17 how to play golf, needed an executive director. About 70 people applied. The Las Vegas SAC got the job.

For Favreau, 51, this meant he could do something positive that reflects the values he represented throughout his career in the FBI. Honesty. Respect. Responsibility.

“If you can begin to master golf, you can begin to master life,” he said with the passion of a true golf fanatic.

“I can sell making kids good citizens,” he told me Thursday, his first week on the job.

Favreau estimated 500 to 1,000 kids are in the 10-year-old Las Vegas program. He wanted to correct any misconception that the program is for disadvantaged kids, even though the cost for a year is a reasonable $135. All kids are welcome.

Four golf courses locally welcome the program – Wildhorse Golf Club, Las Vegas Municipal Golf Club, Aliante Golf Club and the Badlands Golf Club.

For the kids, maybe golf will open the door to scholarships, maybe it will make them better people. Maybe it will lower Favreau’s handicap of 15 down to the single digits. But he believes the teaching and competitive aspects of First Tee can help young people.

One thing about handing your money over to the former Las Vegas FBI SAC, you won’t need to worry that the money isn’t going where it should. His salary for the full-time job is $60,000, and right now there are only three employees. So this is a program where the money goes to kids, not staff.

At a lunch in his honor today, Favreau will make his pitch to the Las Vegas FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association. His pitch is not just for money. Used golf clubs are welcome. Volunteers for tournaments are needed. Coaches are needed. As he said, he’s selling a proven program to help kids. The national program began in 1997, the local program began in 2002. The website is tftsn.org.

When asked about his accomplishments during his three years heading the FBI in Las Vegas, Favreau, who was assistant director of intelligence at FBI headquarters before coming here, said he was pleased to be able to put into practice in Las Vegas what he had advocated at headquarters about being proactive, especially with counterintelligence and counterterrorism.

“The office became more intelligence-driven,” he said.

He credited agents for building cases to battle mortgage fraud – Operation Stolen Dreams.

Political corruption cases he listed were indictments filed against lobbyist Harvey Whittemore and Family Court Judge Steven Jones. Favreau said there are several political corruption cases under investigation but not yet public.

The arrest of Steven Fernandes in October may have prevented an act of terrorism in Las Vegas. The 18-year-old was arrested on gun charges after allegedly making threatening comments to confidential sources. One source said Fernandes bragged that he could beat the number of shootings in a Colorado movie theater where 12 people were killed and 58 injured.

Notice that Las Vegas had no acts of terrorism on Favreau’s watch. Not every FBI SAC can retire with that record.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call her at 702-383-0275. She blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/Morrison.

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