The Globe was contacted by a registered Democrat voter who expressed concerns related to the stability and safety of the city’s finances under the stewardship of Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve. The voter obtained and shared publicly available documents that illustrate an unfortunate pattern of Schieve’s personal financial troubles.
In spite of Mayor Schieve campaigning as a successful business owner and entrepreneur, during her 10 years on the city council liens against her issued by the City of Reno and others, notice of defaults, and a recent loan modification on her personal home challenge the image of financial stability concocted during the mayor’s campaign. The missteps also raise concerns related to the city’s prudent financial management, or lack thereof, of taxpayer dollars.
According to records available through the Washoe County Recorder’s office, Mayor Schieve secured a loan modification on her personal home just weeks before her reelection in November 2022. Two “Notices of Default” on one of her rental properties were recorded in March 2015 and April 2021. The property was listed for sale on June 2022 for $894,900 and recently reduced to $789,000.
A loan modification is difficult to obtain and the goal of the modification is to avoid foreclosure. A borrower who applies for a loan modification must meet certain strict criteria to qualify. The borrower must show evidence of significant financial hardship and will miss a future loan payment or have already missed one payment or more.
Prior to the time of her loan modification approval, interest rates had risen dramatically. A borrower with a good credit score could have refinanced and obtained an interest rate as low as 3% in January 2022. By October of 2022, interest rates had risen to over 6%.
Mayor Schieve did not, could not, or chose not to refinance her home and instead secured a loan modification at 4.375% (see below).Shieve Loan Mod
In June 2021, Mayor Schieve told WIRED magazine that she had done “well for herself” by investing in cryptocurrencies and has/had big dreams of getting the City of Reno into cryptocurrency transactions, NFT’s and blockchain technology:
“I like to invest in things that I believe in,” she says. Schieve has done well for herself with this approach, though she declines to share how well… Schieve’s first question when we sit down in her office is whether I bought into Coinbase’s public debut. I hadn’t. She had, at perhaps too high a price, she admits.
Coinbase’s public debut averaged around $300 per share. The stock is currently trading at $62.
The risky investments in her personal life may also be found in the many risky investments and, some may say, lavish purchases made by the city during her tenure in office.
According to her bio, “Schieve is a major supporter of arts and culture, in September 2019 she was named Elected Arts Advocate of the Year by the Americans For The Arts due to her innovative approach to economic development through the arts.”
This major support of the arts is funded by taxpayer dollars as Mayor Schieve has authorized numerous art projects to revitalize downtown Reno, including a $137,000 purchase of a rusty “Space Whale” sculpture and an $80,000 mural for the national bowling center.
The Globe has extensively reported Mayor Schieve’s authorization of the $7.5 million purchase of the old (and leaking) Reno Gazette Journal building, which sits adjacent to the Truckee River. The building will be home to the Public Safety Center for the Reno Police Department.
The original estimates of the rehabilitation project were estimated to be $32.5 million (not including the purchase price). However, after the Globe broke the story of the city being $14 million over budget in the first phase of construction, the city doubled the budget to $70 million. The Globe has filed an extensive open records request related to the ongoing project. The city has confirmed that the request will be fulfilled on March 17, 2022.
Although public records indicate Mayor Schieve is in financial distress, she recently hired a local, premiere law firm to represent her in a civil case against a local private investigator. On average, law firms of this stature would charge $400-$500 per hour. According to a video obtained by The Globe, related to this case, Schieve admits to the Sparks Police department that her sister and brother-in-law, also a crypto aficionado, recently moved into her home.
The Globe has reached out to Mayor Schieve for comment and will provide her response when and if received.
This is a developing story.
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