An earlier version of this story suggested that Councilwoman Seaman’s suit against Councilwoman Fiore would also target Mayor Goodman. The Globe no longer believes this to be the case. This story has been updated to reflect that evolution in understanding and now includes comment from Councilwoman Seaman. As of Monday, Jan 10 at 6 pm, the lawsuit had still not been filed in Clark County.
The Globe has been reporting on the bitter feud that has erupted between former allies Victoria Seaman and Michelle Fiore. Last January, the two councilwomen got into an altercation that allegedly turned physical.
The Globe has exclusively learned that today Victoria Seaman is filing a lawsuit in Clark County against Councilwoman Fiore. According to a source with inside knowledge of the suit, a “press release is supposed to go out.” The Globe has been unable to obtain the suit as of press time; the searchable docket on the court’s site does not return any results; we will provide further details as the suit’s contents are shared publicly. According to the source, who has requested anonymity in order to speak frankly about legal details that have not yet been made public, the basis of the suit is Seaman’s suspicion that the mysterious disappearance of video that may have revealed Fiore’s behavior during the altercation was intentional.
The idea is that allies of Fiore and Mayor Carolyn Goodman sought to bury the tape lest it embarrass them both. According to the source, “Victoria is pissed, and extremely upset that Michelle Fiore is being protected. Especially, when Michelle is running for Governor.” That last bit refers to Ms. Fiore’s combative and colorful recent announcement that she would be joining the race for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak.
“I can tell you, I am not suing the mayor,” Councilwoman Seaman told the Nevada Globe. “And you put in an article that I am suing the mayor. Well, I’m not suing the mayor. It’s only hearsay unless you confirm a story.” Asked if it was true that she was indeed planning to sue Councilwoman Fiore, Seaman replied, “I’m not going to confirm or deny anything else. I’m not suing the mayor.”
The alleged altercation reads like a scene from the Wild West.
According to Seaman, Fiore broke Seaman’s finger, grabbed her hair and threw her to the ground in the private hallway between the City Council chambers on the building’s second floor. This altercation allegedly occurred after an Audit Oversight Committee in which a source close to Seaman said that Fiore disrespected Seaman in the chambers and then slammed Mayor Goodman’s door in Seaman’s face.
The feud continued, with Seaman’s lawyer sending Fiore a cease-and-desist letter referring to conduct that is “pervasive and rises to the level of infliction of emotional distress, not to mention escalation to physical violence, assault, and battery.” Seaman alleged that he had received death threats following the fight and a then a website, set up anonymously on Sept. 5, targeted Seaman as a “con artist” who files frivolous lawsuits.
Video that may have captured all or part of this melee was apparently deleted by Las Vegas City Hall. After initially being supplied with video last February that did not confirm the altercation, the Review Journal broadened its request. On March 4th, a city attorney told the newspaper that it would take thousands of hours for staff to review the footage—a dubious claim since the exact time and date of the alleged fight was known by all. The City requested $63,680 and 150 days to “to review all 150 surveillance cameras at City Hall,” according to the R-J. Before the newspaper had responded to that hefty demand, the city deleted the requested footage in accordance with what it claims is a policy of automatically deleting footage after two months.
In a response to its request for video, on September 8 City Attorney Bryan Scott told the Review Journal: “It is my understanding that the city’s video surveillance system recordings are deleted automatically by the surveillance system after 60 calendar days.”
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