Nevada lawmakers last session declined to support an effort to audit the budget of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which will plow through about $250 million in tax money this year.
Despite a series of Review-Journal stories documenting lavish expenditures on travel, booze, gifts and concert tickets, the governor and Legislature opted for the “see no evil” approach. Yet the unflattering revelations keep on coming.
The Review-Journal’s Arthur Kane, Jeff German and Brian Joseph reported over the weekend that convention authority security guards are routinely pulled off their posts to chauffeur around LVCVA chief Rossi Ralenkotter and former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.
“The officers, paid by taxpayers and charged with protecting visitors,” the story revealed, “drive Ralenkotter and Goodman to casinos, shops and other locations so often that staff members dubbed the dispatches ‘Rossi runs’ and ‘Oscar runs’ in security logs obtained” by the newspaper.
It’s not unusual for private-sector CEOs to have a driver available. But Mr. Ralenkotter is paid with public money and already receives a $9,000 annual car allowance courtesy of the taxpayers. While it may be appropriate for security officers to transport him on occasion when he’s on official business, it’s clearly improper when it concerns Mr. Ralenkotter’s personal errands. Try Uber or a cab.
As for Mr. Goodman, who has a contract with the authority to serve as a sort of “goodwill ambassador,” there’s simply no excuse for him to have limo service on the taxpayer dime.
No, this isn’t Watergate or G-Sting. But it’s another example of the cavalier entitlement that too often pervades the public sector when it comes to other people’s money. An outside state audit would aim a high-powered beam into remote corners that many interests prefer remain shrouded in darkness. It’s long overdue.