Updated May 3, 2023 - 10:34 pm
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones packed his bag, put on a pair of reading glasses, and sipped from a water bottle as he prepared to listen to speakers deride him during public comment Tuesday.
The District F representative sat stone-faced as 10 people walked up to the dais and demanded he resign after a U.S. judge sanctioned him for purportedly deleting important text messages from his phone in a long-running legal dispute over development on Blue Diamond Hill, and then allegedly lying to the court about it.
“I understand that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and understanding the weakness of one of your links that is here, I would ask that something be done so that link is removed,” Howell Shaw told the commissioners, who are barred from responding under the state’s Open Meeting Law.
A pair of speakers got contentious as they tried to argue their points during the public comment section at the beginning of the meeting, in which they can only discuss items on the agenda.
Jones wasn’t on the agenda, Commissioner Jim Gibson noted multiple times.
“If you want to be in this room, you have to comply with the rules, we all have to,” said Gibson, reminding the public that there was time toward the end of the meeting to make their displeasures known.
Ed Uehling, a regular at local government meetings, who said he has been speaking up for three decades, argued that “every single item on this agenda is affected by the corruption of this person.”
Nevertheless, he waited his turn to speak.
Last month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elayna Youchah awarded developer James Rhodes’ Gypsum Resources LLC attorney fees for the time it took to bring the motion for sanctions against Jones, but denied a request to sanction Clark County or to report Jones to the Nevada State Bar for misconduct.
She recommended Rhodes’ attorneys file the complaint, but it was unclear if they had done so as of Tuesday. The State Bar did not reply to a message seeking comment.
Gypsum filed a motion last week in an attempt to have Youchah reconsider sanctions against the county, alleging that other county staff also destroyed evidence in the litigation.
“I respectfully request Justin Jones be censured and request his resignation,” Susan Proffitt told commissioners. “(He) betrayed the trust of Nevadans and the judiciary when you lied to a federal judge and destroyed public records in a blatant attempt to cover up his deception and crimes.”
Gibson later interjected, saying that the commission is not legally allowed to remove an elected official.
Jesse Law, chairman of the Clark County GOP, summarized the room’s atmosphere.
“It’s rather uncomfortable that we all have to be here,” Law said. “I feel the frustration coming off of you after all of the comments for one of your own to have to resign, but see, the responsibility rests with him, I am calling on you to resign.”
Ramona Snider compared Jones to a serious illness.
“There is a cancerous sore in this commission, and that is Justin Jones,” she said. “Justin Jones, commissioner, you should resign to your commission because the cancerous sore that you are reflects on this whole commission and on our whole county.”
When the appropriate time to speak arrived, Uehling alleged wrongdoing with a broad stroke.
“I’m concerned about the overall corruption of the entire committee,” he said. “You’re the corrupt ones —Commissioner Jones is just a manifestation of that.”