Shed no tears for Erin Kenny.
Everyone knows what justice awaits a bank robber who walks off with $400,000.
But all Kenny did for that amount is sell out the public trust to willing buyers. So who’s hurt? The public who thought the zoning codes would protect them from retail development on residential streets? Public confidence that obeying the law doesn’t merely make us “suckers” who haven’t yet figured out who to pay off?
Shall we measure the cost the next time someone tries to hand a hundred dollar bill to a fire code inspector? The next time an out-of-state developer hits town and starts throwing around cash on the assumption you do business here the same way as in Nigeria or Zaire?
Yesterday morning, U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson sentenced former Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny to 30 months in prison. Four years ago, Kenny pleaded guilty to wire fraud, bribery and conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in exchange for a reduced sentence.
She’ll have to pay $200,000 in fines and forfeitures — about half of her known bribery take. She also could have received twice that sentence: five years. Prosecutors, rewarding her cooperation and ignoring her frequent memory lapses, recommended only 24 months.
Thirty months in a small room isn’t much for someone who would gleefully sell out the quality of life in any southwest valley neighborhood if it meant she could buy a bigger house.
About the only good news for aggrieved taxpayers this week was that Kenny says the IRS has finally come after her — she’s expected to pay back taxes and penalties on all her known bribes, which the government tallies at just under $400,000.
Wonder what bracket that puts her in?
For four years, the greediest commissioner has been allowed to enjoy the lifestyle that kind of bribe money can buy — at the same time she’s drawn a total of nearly $1 million from homebuilder Jim Rhodes to serve as his local government “consultant.” In between her bouts of remorse, she and her husband bought a million-dollar home in an exclusive Summerlin neighborhood.
In her appearances on the stand over the past year, Kenny has come across as surly, remorseless and disingenuous.
Thirty months isn’t too much. When it comes to discouraging the next Erin Kenny, does anyone think it’ll be enough?