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County commissioner claims ‘no recollection’ deleting texts in Red Rock housing case

Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones told a District Court judge Monday that he has no recollection of deleting text messages related to a Red Rock housing development and has no explanation for their disappearance.

The hearing before Judge Joanna Kishner — during which Jones fielded questions from the witness stand for more than three hours — is just the latest in a yearslong legal dispute over a proposed development on Blue Diamond Hill.

Gypsum Resources — and its owner Jim Rhodes — have claimed in federal and state court that Jones entered into a secret deal with then-Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak to block the development and later deleted text messages hours after county commissioners failed to pass a key measure to advance the project in 2019.

Lawyers for Gypsum hammered Jones about those texts during Monday’s evidentiary hearing, which could impose sanctions on Jones and Clark County for “destruction of evidence.”

When Todd Bice, a lawyer representing Gypsum, asked if Jones hadn’t noticed that all of his text messages — including those with his family, other commissioners and former colleagues — had been deleted, Jones replied, “Apparently.”

Bice then asked if Jones hadn’t tried to recover the texts because he “knew they were gone on purpose,” Jones said he didn’t recall.

“I don’t recall and I have no other explanation,” Jones said when asked about the texts.

Bice also grilled Jones on whether he had “orchestrated” a vote to block a key waiver for the project, but Jones pushed back, pointing to a unanimous vote by county commissioners on the measure, recommendations by staff and public support.

“If all of what you just said is what really happened here, there’s no need to destroy evidence, is there?” Bice asked.

“I don’t recall,” Jones said.

It’s not the first time Jones’ disappearing texts have been the subject of legal proceedings. In April 2023, a federal magistrate judge ruled that the evidence “leaves little doubt” that the deletion of the texts was the result “of a purposeful act.”

A U.S. District Court judge dismissed all federal claims against Clark County in the legal dispute last year, but Gypsum Resources sued the county in state court just weeks later.

The nearly nine-hour hearing, which will continue Tuesday and likely into next week, also saw Nancy Amundsen, former county Director of Comprehensive Planning, take the stand. Amundsen fielded questions on text messages about county business that she allegedly deleted.

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

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