(Jun. 9) -- The Clark County recorder admits she was wrong and violated ethics code. On Wednesday, the state ethics board decided what should be done.
She has only been on the job for a year and a half, but controversy has surrounded county recorder Frances Deane since she took office. Now, her troubles have come to a head.
"She looked at her conduct and was like, 'Oh, there was a line there and I crossed it' and she came forward and said, 'I realized I violated state law,' " says Stacy Jenning, Executive Director of the State Ethics Commission.
Deane is in charge of handling property titles, deeds and marriage certificates. She faced 7 ethics charges, including giving certain title companies preferential treatment. Deane's case was supposed to have been heard at an ethics hearing, but she and her attorneys negotiated.
"By a preponderance of evidence in this matter, Frances Deane willfully violated N.R.S. 281481 subsection 1," said Jennings during a meeting held Wednesday morning.
Deane admitted it was wrong of her to start a private company that would charge people for public records from her office that are already available for a minimal fee.
"She understand now the things that are not appropriate to do and that she agrees to move forward and hold herself to the higher standard that the voters expected," says Jenning.
But commissioner Bill Flangas thinks Deane got off easy. He wanted Deane to go to a full ethics hearing so all 7 charges could be heard. "A simple stipulation and a $5,000 fine is a cheap escape," says Flangas.
Deane will pay $5,000, the maximum fine. She says she has read and now understands the state code of ethics and promises to follow it. Her focus now will be improving the Clark County Recorders office.
Deane has worked out a payment plan. She will pay $500 a month to the state ethics board for the next 10 months.