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County Commission to appoint a new vice chair

The Clark County Commission could appoint a new vice chair as early as next week.

The move follows the May resignation of Commissioner Justin Jones from the leadership position, in which he cited ongoing litigation with the developer of a Blue Diamond Hill housing project.

Clark County will consider designating a vice chair replacement during Tuesday’s commission meeting, according to the agenda.

Jones will retain his seat on the seven-member board.

“By stepping down as Vice Chair, I am hopeful that the ongoing and contested legal disputes in the Gypsum Resources litigation will not distract further from the important work of Clark County and the Board,” Jones previously wrote in a statement. “I remain focused on my work as a Clark County Commissioner and the constituents I have been elected to serve.”

Jones’ decision came after a federal judge sanctioned him earlier this year for deleting texts relating to the development. That prompted the Nevada State Bar to launch a probe, which Jones is appealing.

Ultimately, another U.S. magistrate dropped all federal claims brought forth by Gypsum Resources against the county and declined to take up claims made under state law.

Developer Jim Rhodes subsequently filed a similar lawsuit in Clark County District Court, which this month ordered the preservation of private text messages related to the housing project from certain county employees.

Rhodes’ attorneys allege that Jones helped stymie the proposed project overlooking Red Rock. The Clark County Zoning Commission last year approved a tentative map for a 400 single-family-home project Rhodes intends to build on his gypsum mine.

As an attorney representing the Save Red Rock conservation group opposed to the development, Jones traded favors with then Commission Chair Steve Sisolak, according to the lawsuit.

The group would drop the lawsuit and endorse Sisolak’s campaign for governor if the commissioner delayed voting on land entitlements, Rhodes’ lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit was dropped and Save Red Rock endorsed Sisolak. Both lawmakers have denied any wrongdoing.

Jones was then elected to the commission, and county staffers who had previously recommended approval for the development changed course, according to the lawsuit.

The judge who dismissed the federal claims, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro, wrote in her ruling that the county maintained discretion whether to grant or deny the project’s applications and had no protected entitlement to a zoning change.

In court filings, Gypsum Resources estimated damages at more than $2 billion.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.

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