Put yourself in the shoes of a disgraced Nevada politician. Like Imelda Marcos’ closet, you have plenty to choose from.
If you were convicted of a crime pertaining to your office, would you leave Nevada to build a new life or stay and try to start anew?
Convicted and confused ex-Clark County Recorder Frances Deane fled Las Vegas.
So did former County Commissioner Lynette Boggs McDonald, who has re-created herself in Texas as Lynnie Boggs and is now a law student in San Antonio.
It takes courage to stay. It means when you walk into a public place like a restaurant and are recognized, you can hear the whispering begin. Sometimes people pretend they don’t see you.
It’s a lot easier to stay if you’re like former County Commissioner Mary Kincaid-Chauncey and genuinely don’t believe you did anything wrong by soliciting and accepting unreported cash payments from a topless club owner.
But some of the most corrupt — two commissioners who sought higher office with the blessing of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, yet thankfully lost — decided against leaving Las Vegas.
Dario Herrera, the commissioner who failed at becoming a congressman, served his time and is now back in Las Vegas, giving his mea culpas publicly and privately, trying for a new life as a marketing executive. Some believe he is truly repentant.
After Herrera’s release in December, he became Norm-worthy. Clarke reported Herrera’s girlfriend Stephanie Wilson, president of a public relations and advertising firm, is expecting their baby in late summer.
Erin Kenny, who lost her bid for lieutenant governor, was released from prison and, though she hasn’t gone public yet with interviews, she has stayed in Las Vegas and is trying to rebuild her life with her husband and five children.
Again, it takes some courage not to flee.
Lance Malone, the cop/commissioner/bagman, remains in prison, with a release date of July 2012.
The money man himself, Michael Galardi, is living in relative anonymity in San Diego, raising his kids. He’s out of the adult entertainment business, which made him so much money in both Las Vegas and San Diego.
The departed Lynette Boggs saw her four felonies negotiated down to one misdemeanor. In January 2009, she agreed to pay a $2,000 fine and plead guilty to filing to run for her commission seat while not living in the district. She is attending law school at St. Mary’s Law School in San Antonio. A felony conviction would have blocked that.
One of the most pathetic corrupt politicians is also among the least known.
In 2006, former Recorder Frances Deane was one of the few actually charged while she was in office. She was removed from office even before she pleaded guilty to taking bribes. She was given probation in January and ordered to pay $54,000 in restitution. Amazingly, she solicited bribes shortly after she was sworn in in 2003. She is now believed to be living in Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, former University Medical Center CEO Lacy Thomas goes on trial today in yet another high-profile corruption case.
Thomas was named to head UMC in 2003 and was indicted in February 2008 on charges of theft and misconduct of a public official. He also left town and is working in the health care industry in Dallas, as a vice president at ESI.
Nothing like a juicy corruption trial to reinvigorate the public’s faith in government.
If you like to track these things by party affiliation, they’re running neck and neck. Of the elected officials, there are three Democrats (Herrera, Kenny, Kincaid-Chauncey) and three Republicans (Deane, Boggs, Malone) who have been convicted in recent times in Las Vegas.
Presuming you were guilty, would you go or would you stay?
Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0275. She also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/morrison.