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Perhaps we will have Boggs to thank for end of slippery traditions

Ladies and gentlemen, start your moving vans.

It’s time to pack those pots and pans, gather your clothes and shut down that mail drop box.

Look side to side and over each shoulder before slinking back into your proper City Council ward or County Commission, Assembly or Senate district. The Vegas rules are changing right before your eyes thanks to former Clark County Commissioner Lynette Boggs.

Let’s all take time to show our appreciation, shall we?

That’s right. Appreciation.

Without Boggs’ lame sleight-of-address trick and comical payment of a nanny with checks from her campaign account, the sleazy old political rules might still apply. Boggs stands charged with four felony counts, two each of perjury and of filing a false record, and faces disgrace, humiliation and even jail time.

Frankly, I think we ought to throw her a parade.

Why? When the case against her is finished and she’s very likely convicted of all those counts, we can look back and applaud her for inadvertently helping to change the ethically sloppy traditions that have thrived in our local political muck for decades. Whether the charges against her result in jail time or just a good scolding, they are undoubtedly the greatest accomplishment of her overinflated, underweighted political career.

From the start Boggs suffered from the most dangerous malady in politics: She was a candidate with potential. Her career was not defined by practical experience, success in business or an apprenticeship in the campaign ranks, but by her potential. She was a handsome black woman with a degree from Notre Dame, and all that spelled potential. Add to that her boundless ambition, and the stage for her fall was set.

Her potential carried through tenures on the Las Vegas City Council and Clark County Commission. Even the fact she was walloped in a congressional bid against incumbent Shelley Berkley didn’t seem to dim Boggs’ potential.

Now she has the potential to wear a nifty orange jumpsuit.

If you’re looking to play Perry Mason on Boggs’ behalf, you’re in for a challenge. Given what’s already known, the charges against her are as good as made.

Boggs was nailed by private investigator Dave Groover and his associates. Groover was hired last year by the Police Protective Association and the Culinary union to follow up on information that Boggs wasn’t living at the 6386 Grays River Court residence she listed on her campaign filing document. In fact, Boggs lived outside District F at 3646 Dutch Valley Drive.

In one night Groover confirmed the story and began collecting evidence that led to this week’s criminal complaint. Over the next few weeks, Groover built a solid case that Boggs had lied about her address on her candidacy form. Boggs’ former assistant, Linda Ferris, also confirmed the living arrangement.

When Boggs fired her nanny, Kelly McLeod, Groover took the initiative to interview the woman, who not only confirmed the residency issue, but added that she had been paid with checks from Boggs’ campaign account. She even kept the check stubs.

“It was absolutely a case where she made our job easy,” Groover said Tuesday. “The hardest part was sitting in the car in the summertime.”

Groover logged the times Boggs arrived at the Dutch Valley Drive residence, checked the Grays River Court house regularly, and waited until the lights went out.

He returned the next morning to watch Boggs leave the Dutch Valley Drive home.

Unless her defense includes a Guinness world record for sleepwalking, Boggs is sunk.

“She made it pretty simple,” Groover said.

Now Boggs will be lucky if some intrepid investigator doesn’t scour all her campaign finance disclosures for more signs of co-mingling and graft.

At last, Lynette Boggs’ potential for accomplishing something in politics is being realized.

Because of her well-documented actions, politicians are scurrying back onto their own turf. They’re probably preparing to amend their campaign disclosure forms, too.

District Attorney David Roger said times are changing in Southern Nevada politics.

“I think that law enforcement is getting more and more information from the public,” Roger explained. “I think the public feels a comfort level that law enforcement will take their information seriously. … I think that the public demands that their elected officials comply with their legal and ethical obligations, and as a result the public is more willing to step forward with information of alleged wrongdoing.”

Thanks to Lynette Boggs, the district attorney just might have plenty of work on his hands.

The rush on moving van rentals figures to be fierce.

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 383-0295.

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