Clark County researching end run around Justice Court

county bldg
Clark County Government Center (Clark County photo)
county bldg
Clark County Government Center (Clark County photo)

Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom says it’s time to demand some accountability from Las Vegas Justice Court and Southern Nevada landlords.

Segerblom wants the county to figure out what legal authority it has, aside from Gov. Steve Sisolak’s moratorium, to stop evictions during the pandemic. 

“Even though Justice Court is something we fund, they apparently feel we have no say over evictions,” Segerblom lamented at Tuesday’s commission meeting, which Justice Suzan Baucum declined to appear at to discuss an agenda item regarding court crowding and evictions.    

Earlier this month, Baucum declined Sisolak’s request to “pause” evictions in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Segerblom suggested the county pass an ordinance and “make the Justice Court sue us.” 

Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick agreed to research the county’s options through the Attorney General and Legislative Counsel Bureau. 

She also wants the county to educate residents about fraudulent eviction postings that carry no force of law. 

“We’ve seen landlords put eviction notices up that have no standing and people panic and move out,” she said.  

“We probably have a better relationship with our landlords than we’ve had previously,” Assistant County Manager Kevin Schiller said, adding the county needed to determine “after the crisis, how do we incentivize affordable housing with them.” 

Anthony in it to win it

Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony isn’t giving up his quest to be seated on the Clark County Commission.

In the spirit of President Donald Trump, Anthony, also a Republican, is pursuing any and all avenues that could land him on the commission. 

On Tuesday, his attorney, Jacob Reynolds of Hutchison Steffen, called in during the commission’s public comment segment to suggest the commission really should order the new election it’s already rejected in the race for District C. 

A recount request by Anthony’s campaign resulted in Anthony’s opponent, Ross Miller, adding to his slim margin of victory.  The weeklong affair added six votes to Miller’s total and one vote to Anthony, widening Miller’s margin of victory from ten to 15. 

Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria told county commissioners in November that he could not verify the results of the race, given the slim margin and some 139 “discrepancies.”  

The commission eventually voted to certify the race, despite the concerns.  

Reynolds told the commission his client is “seeking a Writ of Mandamus from the Supreme Court” and having a “hearing Friday in chambers with Judge (Elizabeth) Gonzalez.”

Room tax resolution 

Resorts in Southern Nevada are on the same page as the county when it comes to calculating room tax. A dispute over language in a proposed ordinance raised concerns from resorts that the county’s interpretation required hotels to pay room tax on comped and discounted rooms, compromising a key means of attracting visitors. The county contended the interpretation favored by some resorts was costing the government some $9 million of some $730 million a year in room tax revenue. The rules focused on discounts for organizers who bring groups of visitors and receive credits based on the number of rooms booked.  .  

Nevada Resort Association President Virginia Valentine praised the county for its work in defining the terms and said the arrangement is in the best interest of the government, citizens and the industry.  It also allows resorts to honor contracts committed before the ordinance takes effect.   

“We appreciate the work that went into the amendments and the ongoing dialogue to reach today’s outcome,” Dawn Christensen of the NRA said in a statement to the Current. “The changes clarify and standardize terminology between the industry and county to avoid ambiguity and have provided a workable roadmap for the industry in terms of offering complimentary rooms and discounts to group organizers and ensuring accurate accounting of transient lodging tax under various situations.”

Happy Trails… 

Gov. Steve Sisolak called in during public comment to congratulate term-limited Commissioners Larry Brown and Lawrence Weekly, who were attending their final meeting.  

“While it’s bittersweet to see their terms come to an end, I wish them the best in their future endeavors,” Sisolak said.  

Commissioners-elect Miller and William McCurdy will be sworn in at the first meeting of 2021. 

Dana Gentry
Senior Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, a grandson, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.