Reid attacks Danny Tarkanian but the candidate’s mom strikes back

A new political attack by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on a Republican congressional candidate pits Nevada’s senior senator against the state’s first family of basketball.

Reid on Monday opened fire on Congressional District 4 candidate Danny Tarkanian over a $17 million legal judgment described in court filings as having several members of the Tarkanian family "on the brink of financial ruination."

The Senate majority leader, who is backing in the race a fellow Democrat, state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, said it would be "kind of embarrassing" for Nevadans to elect a congressman facing bankruptcy. Tarkanian’s financial problems stem from a legal dispute with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that itself grew from a soured real estate deal.

But Lois Tarkanian, the candidate’s mother and the wife of former University of Nevada, Las Vegas, basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, said she was shocked by Reid’s attack because the family had sought the majority leader’s advice on the matter.

"I am shocked. I am really surprised at this," said Lois Tarkanian, a Democrat and longtime Las Vegas city councilwoman.

She said that early in the case, Jerry Tarkanian wanted to seek Reid’s advice on the dispute with the FDIC and Danny Tarkanian urged them not to go to the majority leader for input.

"He felt that Harry would try and hurt us," she said. "And I was the one who said ‘Harry wouldn’t do that. ’ "

Tarkanian stopped short of saying the family regretted reaching out to Reid, but she said she was disappointed the subject matter ended up as the basis for a political attack.

"Do I think it is right that way? I don’t even know Harry thinks it is right that way. But Harry is supposed to do his job, and he did it for that Democratic candidate."

Reid’s statements about the case came during a conference call with Nevada reporters scheduled to criticize Danny Tarkanian’s role in the case.

Although public polls have shown Tarkanian to be leading Horsford despite a Democratic registration advantage in the district, Reid said, "All our polling is going just fine."

As for the lawsuit, Reid said the combination of the dispute with the FDIC, a potential bankruptcy and the failure of the initial investment is something voters should consider before casting a ballot for Tarkanian.

"It raises a question about whether he has the common sense necessary to serve in the House," Reid said.

Reid also called the FDIC’s case for the judgment "a slam dunk" and accused Tarkanian of using the legal system to delay the outcome until after the election.

"Instead of taking responsibility for this, he is using the court system to prolong the inevitable," Reid said.

Tarkanian’s campaign later responded with a statement, saying the Reid news conference, "showed a new sense of desperation and panic" on behalf of the Horsford campaign.

At issue is the judgment against several members of the Tarkanian family, including Danny, his wife, Amy Tarkanian, and Jerry and Lois Tarkanian.

Lois Tarkanian said she disagrees with efforts to blame her son for the disastrous investment outcome. She said family members made their own decisions about the deal, with some deciding to stay out of it.

"I don’t think it is right to dump it on Danny," she said. "Danny made absolutely excellent investments for the family until this one."

The judgment stems from a deal among the Tarkanians, investor Robert A. Dyson Jr. and the defunct La Jolla Bank to create a housing development near the remote mountain town of Anza, Calif.

According to court papers, Dyson had struggled for years to develop the property with loans from La Jolla Bank when in 2007 he solicited the Tarkanian investment through a business acquaintance.

The documents say that unbeknownst to the Tarkanians, Dyson had not only struggled to develop the Anza property, he also had a shaky portfolio of existing loans with La Jolla.

Dyson ran out of money, and the deal went south, leaving investors holding the bag and La Jolla Bank seeking to collect.

But the Tarkanians argue La Jolla knew Dyson was in trouble when it loaned more money on the Anza project to be secured with the Tarkanian assets.

"Because of the close connection between Dyson and (the bank), (the bank) was well aware of the perilous web created by Dyson, which it aided Dyson in accomplishing," Tarkanian attorney Gus Flangas argued in a recent motion.

The family’s efforts to sue Dyson fell through when he entered bankruptcy protection. And they were thwarted in taking action against La Jolla Bank because it, too, went bust and was taken over by the FDIC.

The FDIC is seeking to recover money from the Tarkanians though, the family argues, the entire deal was "grounded in fraud, concealment and in complete disregard of sound banking practices."

Flangas said the Tarkanians were tripped up by a federal law requiring that the FDIC only has to abide by agreements already in writing when it takes over a failing bank.

But the Tarkanians say La Jolla didn’t disclose the shaky nature of Dyson’s financial position with the project which, by its very nature, means that nothing was in writing.

"It is a Catch-22," Flangas said. "If it is in writing, it is no longer a nondisclosure, it is no longer an omission."

When the Tarkanians realized their predicament, they were divided over what to do.

Lois Tarkanian said Jerry Tarkanian sought advice from Reid in dealing with the issue, something Danny Tarkanian opposed. The younger Tarkanian ran in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Had he won, he would have faced Reid in the general election.

The elder Tarkanians considered Reid a friend and someone to whom they could turn for input.

"I had trusted him, and I think today was a political move on his part," Lois Tarkanian said. "I’m disappointed, I think Jerry is probably disappointed, in fact he is disappointed."

A hearing scheduled Monday in the federal District Court in San Diego chambers of Judge William Q. Hayes will cover whether the judgment should be certified, a step that would allow the FDIC to "domesticate" the ruling in Nevada and enable it to pursue the family’s Nevada assets.

Flangas said he has motions pending to set aside or reconsider the judgment.

Flangas also said Tarkanian continues to oppose the FDIC’s moves, arguing the agency should hold off on pursuing assets while the case is in progress despite Reid’s statements that resistance is futile.

"Obviously that is a partisan comment designed for purposes of helping his guy," Flangas said. "In our world, in the legal world, we are fighting this tooth and nail."

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0285 .

ad-high_impact_4
News
Multi-agency DUI Strike Team focused solely on arresting impaired drivers
The newly formed DUI Strike Team made up of Las Vegas police officers and Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers have hit the streets looking for impaired drivers. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christmas Tree Inspection
Nevada Division of Forestry employees search for illegally harvested Christmas trees in local lots during the holidays. (Michael Scott Davidson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead in a suspected DUI crash in east Las Vegas
The crash was reported just before 4:10 a.m. at Washington and Eastern avenues.
Vegas Homeless Remembered
Las Vegas vigil remembers 179 homeless people who died over the past year in Clark County. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A look inside Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory east of Reno produces the batteries that fuel the company's electric cars. Production has created more than 7,000 jobs, and the campus that includes one of the largest buildings in the world is expected to triple in size by the time it is completed. Tesla Vice President Chris Lister leads a tour of the facility. (Bill Dentzer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garnet Interchange Ribbon Cutting
The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the $63 million I-15-US 93 Garnet Interchange project. The project includes a modified diverging diamond interchange and a 5-mile widening of US 93.
State Foresters Hunt for Record Trees
Urban foresters from the Nevada Division of Forestry hunt for record setting trees.
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like