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Commissioners can’t recollect text request in Red Rock housing case

Commissioners Jim Gibson and Marilyn Kirkpatrick told a District Court judge Monday that they “don’t recall” if they were told to preserve communications related to a Red Rock housing development lawsuit.

The hearing before Judge Joanna Kishner — during which commissioners answered questions about the county’s efforts to retain evidence in light of litigation by Gypsum Resources in 2019 — could see sanctions imposed on Commissioner Justin Jones and Clark County for “destruction of evidence” in the yearslong dispute over a proposed development on Blue Diamond Hill.

When a lawyer asked Kirkpatrick if she knew that Gypsum Resources’ counsel had sent the county a demand to preserve evidence in 2019 as part of a lawsuit, she said she had been aware but didn’t recall if she had been told to preserve any communications.

Gibson said he was aware that there was litigation pending in 2018, but he declined to answer whether he was ever made aware of a request to preserve communications.

He instead said that he had decided to use his personal phone, rather than a county-issued phone, for county business and was told by a county attorney that he was able to do so as long as he didn’t destroy evidence.

Gibson later said he didn’t recall being asked to preserve his phone.

Gypsum lawyers also questioned commissioners about what the county had done to comply with a 2018 Nevada Supreme Court decision that determined public employees cellphone communications are public records even when stored on private devices.

Kirkpatrick said there had been some recent updates to preserve communications but conceded that those changes had only occurred “fairly recently.”

Gibson said he didn’t recall the county doing anything following the court decision and agreed that he wasn’t aware of the county doing anything in 2019 or 2020 either.

Monday’s hearing marks the third day of the evidentiary hearing. The hearing is expected to continue on Wednesday. County Director of Comprehensive Planning Sami Real fielded questions from the witness stand earlier in the day.

Last week, Jones testified that he had no recollection of deleting text messages related to the development.

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on X.

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