Trump’s hand-picked candidate Danny Tarkanian attacks opponent Susie Lee as “wealthy elite”

By: - August 20, 2018 1:02 pm
trump and tark

Official White House photo, tweeted by Tarkanian campaign

trump and tark
Official White House photo, tweeted by Tarkanian campaign

Republican Congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian, who abandoned his primary challenge of Senator Dean Heller at the direction of President Donald Trump, is chiding his opponent, Susie Lee, for jetting out of state in her “luxurious private plane.”

The news release quoting Tarkanian’s campaign spokesman Richard Hernandez says “This week, while middle-class families are busy working hard, Susie’s private plane can take to the skies (as it often does) filled with items enjoyed by fellow out-of-touch socialites.”

To substantiate its claims, Tarkanian’s campaign notes that in 2016 “the Culinary Workers Union slammed Susie Lee for ‘trying to purchase’ a congressional seat and sharply criticized her as ‘part of the wealthy elite.’”

Asked how Lee’s wealth differs from Trump, who used his private plane to traverse the country during his election bid, frequently jets to the properties he owns to hobnob with “wealthy elite,” refused to place his businesses in a blind trust and has profited from his presidency through a variety of business interests, Hernandez said “President Trump is wealthy. President Trump has a private plane. He’s not out of touch with his constituents. Susie Lee is.”

McClatchy News Service recently reported that Republican campaigns and politicians plunked down more than $3.5 million at Trump’s resorts, hotels and restaurants since Trump was sworn in, including Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Trump’s golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes, California and restaurants at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Those parties spent a paltry $35,000 at Trump-owned businesses before Trump’s election.

Tarkanian is no stranger to multi-million dollar deals himself.

In 2007, Tarkanian, along with his family, borrowed $17 million from La Jolla Bank and sublet most of that to a developer who defaulted, leaving Tarkanian on the hook to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which had taken over the failed bank. Tarkanian was forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

“Why are you bringing up that? Why are you trying to make this negative?” asked Tarkanian spokesman Richard Hernandez during an interview with the Current. “It wasn’t an attack on Susie Lee. We were just helping her celebrate National Aviation Day and pointing out her access to wealth and ability to jet off to her 18 properties.”   

Lee’s campaign confirms she owns a plane as well as 17 properties, most of which are rental investment properties.

“Susie Lee grew up in a working class family in Canton, Ohio,  got her first job at the age of eight, and has spent her career helping to ensure that every kid has the same opportunities she did to succeed – serving as the Founding Director of After-School All-Stars, and leading Communities in Schools of Nevada, which serves over 60,000 Nevada students,” said Brandon Cox, a spokesman for Lee’s campaign.

Asked if Tarkanian’s campaign has an issue with wealthy people, many of whom are Republicans, Hernandez said, “We have no problem with wealth.”

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

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, two grandsons, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.