A divisive recall of two elected Trustees of the Incline Village General Improvement District (IVGID) failed to meet the threshold for a special election. 1,801 signatures were needed for each petition, yet the Washoe County Registrar found the recall committee fell short by a narrow 75 signatures for Trustee Matthew Dent and 114 signatures for Trustee Sara Schmitz.
According to the Committees to Recall the IVGID Trustees, 980 signatures were “thrown out” by the Washoe County Registrar and the committee has now filed an appeal (see below) with the Secretary of State to order the Washoe County Registrar to reverify the signatures.
The recall committee has “several questions surrounding the signature verification process performed by Washoe County, the inconsistencies of various codes that were used to reject signatures, and the opportunity for voters to cure their signatures to ensure they would be counted.”
The complaint contends:
The Washoe County Registrar uses various codes to reject signatures, and the Registrar did not publish the methods or criteria it uses to apply the codes. Secondly, the rejection codes were applied inconsistently. In some instances, a petitioner was approved for one recall petition but rejected for the second one due to an invalid address, for example.
Lastly, it is unclear whether signatories had a sufficient opportunity to cure their signatures. Based on correspondence from Washoe County, 88 signatures from the Petitioners were rejected due to concerns of improper address. Pursuant to NAC 293.185, the Washoe County Registrar has an affirmative duty to ensure that any signatory with an address discrepancy has an opportunity to cure. It is unclear if Washoe County provided signatories a sufficient opportunity to cure their signatures.
The recall committee has hired a familiar attorney, Jason Guinasso, the former general counsel for IVGID, who lost a high-profile case in relation to the concealment and destruction of public records.
As reported by The Globe,
Under Guinasso’s direction, IVGID illegally refused to make public thousands of government records.
Resident Mark Smith sued IVGID in 2018 after IVGID’s hired attorney, Jason Guinasso of the Hutchison & Steffen Law firm, denied most of Smith’s public records requests.
In 2017, Smith placed an order for emails between Guinasso and IVGID’s then-General Manager Steve Pinkerton, Guinasso said that 13,000 pages of emails were confidential due to attorney-client privilege and 304 pages would cost Smith $1 per page to produce.
Both the denial and attempted fees were deemed illegal under the Nevada Public Records Act. Five years later, Smith said he got the records and a settlement for attorney fees.
“The district paid all of my attorney fees ($77,000), produced all of the documents I had requested, and terminated their attorney [Guinasso] who handled the original document request,” Smith said. “I was also advised by the district’s general manager that they are seeking reimbursement for some of their legal fees from said attorney, one-time District 26 Assembly candidate Jason Guinasso.”
The recall effort is lead by former Trustee Tim Callicrate, supported by many IVGID employees, and endorsed by the Incline Village Realtors Association. The supporters, in part, accused Dent and Schmitz of “micromanaging” IVGID staff, “creating a toxic work environment” for IVGID staff, a “loss” of a $25 million “grant”, and various subjective and emotionally-charged claims of perceived wrongdoing.
Last month, The Globe reported that numerous resignations have occurred since the Board of Trustees began providing financial oversight.
A newly formed audit committee uncovered millions of dollars unaccounted for in revenues, expenses, a surplus of millions of dollars charged to the community through recreation fees after payment of a bond (a violation of Nevada Statute), zero bank reconciliations for over a year, and an out-of-balance general ledger.
This is a developing story.IV Appeal
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