Las Vegans ask city to nullify Fiore vote as Nye Co. resident seeks her removal from bench
Residents of northwest Las Vegas allege Fiore, their former councilwoman, fraudulently represented them at the council’s Nov. 16, 2022 meeting a day after she became a resident of Nye County. (City of Las Vegas photo)
Newly appointed Nye County Justice of the Peace Michele Fiore was selected unanimously by county commissioners “in error” according to a resident who is asking the District Attorney to take legal action and let “qualified candidates be reconsidered.”
The effort comes as residents of northwest Las Vegas allege Fiore, their former councilwoman, fraudulently represented them at the council’s Nov. 16, 2022 meeting a day after she became a resident of Nye County, a move that ended her tenure on the Las Vegas council, according to city code. The Ward 6 residents are asking the city attorney to nullify Fiore’s swing vote to approve a convenience store opposed by hundreds of neighbors.
Fiore, a Republican who lost her bid for state treasurer in the Nov. 8 election, won unanimous approval on Dec. 20 from the Nye County Commission to fill a Justice Court vacancy.
“Michele Fiore is an outstanding and wonderful woman who I have known for a long while and would make an absolute fantastic Justice of the Peace. Thank you for your attention in this matter. Signed Donald J. Trump,” said a letter as read by Commissioner Donna Cox following the vote to select Fiore.
Fiore told the commission she became a Nye County resident “as of mid-November. The exact date was November 15.”
But Nevada law says a candidate for any office must be a resident of the applicable jurisdiction for at least 30 days before the close of filing for declarations of candidacy. Filing closed Dec. 8 for the Justice Court appointment.
On Tuesday, Fiore’s attorney, Sigal Chattah, wrote to Las Vegas city attorney Bryan Scott that although Fiore put money down on a Pahrump rental Nov. 15, she didn’t sleep there for another two days.
“Ms. Fiore had business with the city on the 16th and a meeting with the President of LVPPA (Las Vegas Police Protective Association), Steve Grammas, on the 17th and did not spend her first night in Pahrump till after 10:00 pm on the 17th,” Chattah wrote.
“Now she’s got Sigal lying for her,” Fiore’s former council colleague Victoria Seaman said during a phone interview. “How many more lies can she finagle? Even if she did it on Nov. 30th, it doesn’t matter. She showed up at a city council recommending committee meeting on Dec. 5. So she was still a Las Vegas city council member.”
A video of the Dec. 5 meeting confirms Fiore’s attendance.
Candidates’ statutory qualifications are vetted only by Nye County commissioners, according to the County Clerk’s office and the public records administrator. Commissioners did not respond to requests for comment on Fiore’s residency shortfalls.
“Nye County agenda items and public testimony clearly supports the fact that Michele Fiore was not a qualified applicant and thus was appointed in error to the Justice of the Peace position,” resident William E. Hockstedler wrote on Dec. 29 to District Attorney Chris Arabia. Newly- elected DA Brian Kunzi has since replaced Arabia. He did not respond to requests for comment.
On Nov. 16, one day after becoming a resident of Nye County, Fiore attended the Las Vegas City Council meeting and motioned to approve a gas station with a convenience store, slot machines, and a car wash in Ward 6 over the objection of neighbors who appeared in person to oppose the proposal and submitted a petition with hundreds of signatures.
City code says a councilperson “…automatically forfeits the remainder of his or her term of office and that office becomes vacant if he or she ceases to be a resident of the City or of the ward which he or she represents, as the case may be.”
Fiore declined to explain how she could serve on the Las Vegas city council while a resident of Nye County.
“My last day council meeting was 11-16,” she said via text.
“We argue that Fiore automatically forfeited her office on November 15,” four Ward 6 residents – Andrea Leal, Linda Burks, Steve Acciarito, and Matt Passalacqua – wrote to city attorney Scott on Dec. 29. Without Fiore’s vote, the convenience store would have been denied on a three to three tie vote.
Scott has not responded to requests for comment on whether the city intends to nullify the vote.
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