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Clark County DA Steve Wolfson takes big campaign finance lead

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson raised more money in 2021 than any other year he’s been in office, with a list of donors that includes major Strip hotels, high-profile attorneys and a company tied to former casino executive Steve Wynn.

Wolfson raised $887,477 last year, bringing his total campaign fund to more than $1.2 million, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Nevada secretary of state’s office. Last year marked the most money Wolfson has raised since 2017, when he received $618,500 in contributions.

His opponent, former Nevada legislator Ozzie Fumo, has reported having $28,498 on hand after raising more than $37,000 in the past year. Both are running as Democrats in the November election.

Wolfson’s donors include 46 people and businesses who have contributed $10,000, which is the maximum amount that can be donated in a single year. Included in the list is a limited liability company called “Sierra Charter,” which gave $10,000 in August.

Business records with the secretary of state’s office show that Wynn is listed as a manager for a company named “Sierra Charter Title II, LLC,” which was formed June 29. The company has since been dissolved.

Fumo declined to comment on the campaign finance reports, but on Wednesday, Wolfson confirmed that Wynn donated to his campaign through the company.

“Mr. Wynn has been a friend for many, many years. He’s been a supporter of my campaigns for many, many years,” Wolfson said in a phone interview.

Wynn stepped down from his position with Wynn Resorts in 2018 and divested himself of all company shares following accusations that he sexually assaulted several women and made unwanted sexual advances on female employees. He has denied the accusations.

Lawyers representing Wynn did not reply to a request for comment.

The Nevada Gaming Commission fined Wynn Resorts a record $20 million in February 2019 for failing to adequately oversee and act on complaints women took to the company.

Wynn has not faced criminal charges related to the allegations.

Wolfson said on Wednesday that his office never received reports from a law enforcement agency regarding the accusations, and the office is “not equipped” to conduct its own investigations.

“We were never even given the opportunity to prosecute because nothing was ever provided to our office,” Wolfson said.

In February 2018, the Metropolitan Police Department announced that two women had filed complaints alleging that Wynn had sexually assaulted them. A Clark County district judge later ruled that one of the complaints was false and defamatory.

The Nevada Supreme Court in October 2020 sided with Wynn in his defamation lawsuit against The Associated Press, which Wynn accused of publishing false statements in the complaint with actual malice.

Wolfson was appointed district attorney in 2012 after David Roger retired with three years remaining in his term. A company tied to Wynn has not donated to one of Wolfson’s campaigns since 2017, when Wynn Resorts gave $10,000 and Wynn Las Vegas donated $5,000.

Prior to that, Wynn Resorts gave $5,000 to Wolfson’s campaign in 2013.

Donors who contributed $10,000 to Wolfson’s campaign last year include a lengthy list of casinos and hotel owners — the South Point and its owner, Michael Gaughan; The Siegel Group, which owns Siegel Suites; The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; Derek Stevens, who owns the D Las Vegas and the Circa; Park MGM and MGM Resorts International; New York-New York; Station Casinos; Resorts World Las Vegas and Red Rock Resort.

Other donors who have contributed $10,000 to Wolfson’s campaign include Stephen Cloobeck, chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission; Las Vegas lobbyist Jay Brown; and criminal defense attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld. Chesnoff donated $10,000 to Wolfson in his own name and $10,000 through his company.

“I’ve known him all these years as a man of true intellect and real professionalism,” Chesnoff said. “As a citizen, I support somebody with those qualities.”

Chesnoff and Schonfeld have represented numerous defendants in high-profile cases, including former Raiders player Henry Ruggs, former UNLV basketball recruit Zaon Collins, real estate broker Scott Gragson and tech billionaire Henry Nicholas III.

Fumo, meanwhile, has contributed more than $10,000 to his own campaign, records show. His highest donors include Las Vegas criminal defense attorney David Fischer, who gave $3,000, and apartment owner Doug DeMasi, who donated $2,000.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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