74°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Las Vegas councilman denies truck damage as recall effort heats up

Updated February 8, 2019 - 7:46 pm

The contentious recall effort against Las Vegas Councilman Steve Seroka ratcheted up this week with the policymaker rejecting claims he caused property damage to an anti-Seroka billboard truck, then leveling his prime opponent as “a shady, rogue union boss.”

Tommy White, the business manager for Laborers Local 872 and a spokesman for the recall initiative, had a terse retort on Friday: “Hey, bring it on.”

Seroka is accused on Feb. 1 of approaching a parked “Stop Seroka” truck outside Costco in Summerlin, part of Ward 2, which he represents, hollering profanities to demand it be moved and then pounding the driver’s window, leaving it inoperable.

The councilman said this week that he couldn’t have been there because he was at a USO dinner that evening 20 miles away. Two people who were there confirmed his presence, although they were not sure if he stayed the whole time.

“I think this story that they’re fabricating about Costco characterizes their whole recall effort in that it is 100 percent based on lies,” Seroka said.

But the alleged Seroka blowup is being readily employed by recall supporters as the latest push to brand him as unfit to be in City Hall. It comes against the backdrop of a concurrent campaign by former Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman — who plans to run in two years regardless — to challenge Seroka in a special election if a time-restricted signature-gathering effort is successful.

“Whether he’s having outbursts or not, he’s not representing the constituents of Ward 2,” Seaman said, separating herself from Seroka as the lone defender of developer and private property rights.

Meanwhile, the labor union behind the charge to oust the councilman is planning two lawsuits related to his alleged role in causing vehicle damage and to also bankroll a “Recall Seroka” plane flyover during at least three days that began Friday afternoon.

Amid the barrage of ongoing attack advertising, the latest accusation to fly against the councilman — who has been under incessant fire for standing against Badlands golf course development — appears to have only escalated the tensions underlying the political front.

The incident

On Feb. 2, Metropolitan Police Department received a report that an individual the prior evening had approached a truck owned by Local 872 and started banging on a window, Metro spokesman Larry Hadfield said.

The 2006 Isuzu billboard truck — pictures show it illustrated anti-Seroka messaging including his face under a red circle-backslash — had a window knocked off track as result, according to the police report.

The victim believed the suspect to be Seroka, Hadfield said, although he is not identified as a suspect per the report. No citations or arrests have been made in connection with the incident.

“I wouldn’t play games like this because I’ve got my own reputation on the line,” White said, adding the union was in the process of securing surveillance video.

If the eyewitnesses were wrong, he urged any Seroka “lookalike” to come forward.

In a press release sent Wednesday to the Review-Journal, the laborers union said the incident occurred at 7:10 p.m. Feb. 1 and explicitly identified Seroka as the suspect, relying on the eyewitness accounts of two union laborers inside the truck cab and a Costco gas attendant, who in a written statement, said the suspect was “a man appearing to be Councilman Seroka.”

But Seroka on Thursday refuted the claim, saying he hadn’t been in that parking lot for months. Plus, as a USO board member, he was attending a volunteer appreciation and awards dinner at Nellis Air Force Base, which ran from 6 to after 9 p.m. and where at least 100 people saw him.

“What they’re doing with all of this effort, they’re like alchemists,” Seroka said. “They’re trying to turn coal into gold, they’re trying to turn black into white, night into day.

“It’s all led by a shady, rogue union boss.”

Fierce campaign

Only two years ago, the laborers union backed Seroka’s neophyte council bid, giving the then-candidate $5,000, campaign finance records show.

But since then, spurred by Seroka’s opposition to a mega-developer’s plan to build homes on a defunct golf course, and feeling spurned by other Seroka moves they perceive as anti-development, the union has pivoted to perhaps become his biggest adversary.

Seroka said he remains confident that informed voters won’t be swayed. But he has too, at times, struggled to determine whether to fight back. He is leery that responses may only dignify tactics with which he disagrees and embolden “all this nonsense,” that includes flyers, neighborhood canvassing and, most recently, airplane banners. But he also said he cannot stand idle while lies are published.

“You never leave a negative out there, it’s kind of PR 101,” said Liz Trosper, the principal of public relations firm Trosper Communications, which has worked for years on campaigns of local candidates including Henderson Mayor Debra March.

The door-to-door campaign since December to collect 1,850 signatures from Ward 2 voters by March 11 — specifically only those who cast ballots in the 2017 general election — has ruffled some.

“It all started pretty quickly and pretty aggressively,” said Richard Hunter, a freelance social media director, who lives in Summerlin and voted for Seroka but doesn’t consider himself a “die-hard ally.”

Hunter said he has had a robocall, five visits — most from out-of-state cause-marketers being used by the union — and five different flyers left at his place when he was not home. The pitch is two-fold: Recall Seroka and — “hey, good news, we’ve got a solution” — choose Seaman in his place.

While his interactions with signature-gatherers have not been contentious, he said, “I don’t like this deceptive marketing of politics.”

White acknowledged using a third party, but said more of the effort was being carried by union volunteers who “have ran into some really nasty voters, themselves.”

No signatures have been turned into the City Clerk’s Office as of this week, but White said he was “very confident” that signature collection would exceed the required amount.

He also doubted that Seroka, despite his relatively moderate counteroffensive, was not rattled by the union-backed campaign.

“I don’t think he’s telling you the truth because he had (neighborhood) walkers out there over three weeks ago,” White said. “So I think he’s playing like he’s taking it lightly, but I don’t think he’s taking it lightly.”

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Mike Shoro contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Jurors hear opening statements in Reid personal injury trial
Opening statements were made on Tuesday in the product liability lawsuit brought by Harry Reid against against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Mayor Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels
Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels to seniors on March 26, 2019.
Las Vegas City Council Ward 1 race
Candidates for Las Vegas City Council Ward 1. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O’Rourke campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke addresses attendees during a campaign stop at Arandas Taqueria in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O'Rourke House Party in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke delivered a message of unity inside a Las Vegas living room Saturday night, outlining a mission to bridge the divide in a polarized America and rally behind “big defining ambitions that we have in common.” (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks at Atomic Liquors
Democrat presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks to her supporters at Atomic Liquors.
Presidential candidate Gillibrand meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys at her first stop in Nevada as a candidate Thursday, March 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto promotes the Rebuild America’s Schools Act
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., co-sponsor of the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, speaks at Hoggard Elementary School in Las Vegas to promote the bill that would provide $100 billion for infrastructure improvements at schools across the country. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Scholar Max Eden on how restorative justice decreases student achievement - VIDEO
Across the country, restorative justice is lowering test scores and increasing the number of students who feel unsafe at schools. That’s according to Max Eden, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, who recently released a study discipline reform.
NV Dems Want To Gut Read By Three - Video
Nevada’s students have a major problem. They aren’t very good at reading. In 2017, just 31 percent of fourth graders were proficient at reading according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. The number proficient falls to 28 percent in eighth grade. Read by Three could change that. If a student can’t read at grade level by the end of third grade, he repeats the grade.
Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard stumps in Las Vegas
Presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, holds a meet and greet at the Asian Culture Center in downtown Las Vegas Monday, March 18, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nye County pushes back against state gun bill
Gun store owner Robby Brentlinger and John Koenig, Chairman of the Nye County Board of Commissioners, discuss their thoughts on gun rights and Nevada Senate Bill 143. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Atkinson pleads guilty
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Monday.
Atkinson pleads guilty to wire fraud charges
U.S. Attorney’s Office announces plea deal for charges against former Nevada Senate majority leader Kelvin Atkinson during a press conference on Monday, March 11, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleads guilty
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Monday, less than a week after resigning from his post. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Melania Trump Speaks Out About Opioid Epidemic - VIDEO
Melania Trump speaks at the Westgate hotel about the Opioid epidemic in the United State and how this generation can be the group that ends it.
Nevada Legislative Session Preview: Education, Yucca Mountain and Microchips
The Nevada Legislature will be meeting to look at new bills that involve education and marriage age restrictions. Governor Sisolak has also requested to meet with the White House about the plutonium shipments sent to Nevada.
Cortez Masto, Rosen For Infanticide - VIDEO
If an abortionist — armed with scissors, clamps and a vacuum cleaner — can’t kill a baby while she’s still in the womb, he shouldn’t get another chance after she’s born. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen disagree.
Abortion Bill Would Decriminalize Causing A Pregnant Woman To Miscarry - VIDEO
If abortion advocates believed their own rhetoric, they’d oppose the Trust Nevada Women Act.
Las Vegas city council candidate Diaz talks about Badlands, public safety and homelessness
The residents of Las Vegas’ Ward 3 aren’t thinking about the development issues surrounding Badlands golf course. They do, however, want more neighborhood police patrols to increase public safety. Other jurisdictions should help the City of Las Vegas with its growing homelessness population. That’s according to former Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz who’s running for the Ward 3 city council seat.
Nevada State Senate Looks At Red Light Cameras - VIDEO
The Nevada State Senate looks at a bill that will add red light cameras to all of the traffic lights in Las Vegas.
THE LATEST