Wednesday, February 27 2013 2:08 PM EST2013-02-27 19:08:03 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The Southern Nevada Water Authority has spent huge sums of public money to gobble up a string of rural ranches because of the water underneath them. SNWA claims the ranches are operating inMore>>
The Southern Nevada Water Authority has spent huge sums of public money to buy ranches because of the water underneath them. SNWA claims the ranches are operating in the black, but a whistleblower has a much different story.More>>
Sunday, May 19 2013 2:47 PM EDT2013-05-19 18:47:40 GMT
LAS VEGAS-- Metro officers have arrested two suspects accused of killing a teen while trying to steal his iPad. 15-year-old Marcos Arenas was run over by an SUV on Thursday near Charleston and Torrey Pines. PoliceMore>>
Metro officers have arrested two suspects accused of killing a teen while trying to steal his iPad.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:05:13 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- When Randy Kleiner stopped to help an injured driver, he didn't expect to become injured himself. But on Thursday morning, as he was assisting someone who had crashed their car, anotherMore>>
When Randy Kleiner stopped to help an injured driver, he didn't expect to become injured himself.More>>
Sunday, May 19 2013 6:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 22:10:00 GMT
LAS VEGAS-- Some of the trams at McCarran International Airport are down due to an electrical failure. Officials tells us they stopped working this morning. Right now at least 2 trams are working, butMore>>
Some of the trams at McCarran International Airport are down due to an electrical failure.More>>
Sunday, May 19 2013 2:26 PM EDT2013-05-19 18:26:25 GMT
LAS VEGAS-- Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating a deadly crash on the I15 near the Speedway. We're told 3 people are dead. The driver of a Acura was driving northbound when for some reason he enteredMore>>
Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating a deadly crash on the I15 near the Speedway. We're told 3 people are dead.More>>
Saturday, May 18 2013 9:25 PM EDT2013-05-19 01:25:46 GMT
As a family struggles with the death of a 15-year-old boy killed over and iPad, police are trying to track down the men responsible. Police say two men tried to rob the child of the device on Thursday.More>>
As a family struggles with the death of a 15-year-old boy killed over and iPad, police are trying to track down the men responsible.More>>
Saturday, May 18 2013 9:09 PM EDT2013-05-19 01:09:50 GMT
Lines of people were wrapped around The Lotto Store twice this weekend for the second largest lottery in the history of Powerball. The jackpot has grown to $600 million. People tell 8 News Now they waitedMore>>
Lines of people were wrapped around The Lotto Store twice this weekend for the second largest lottery in the history of Powerball.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 9:02 PM EDT2013-05-18 01:02:54 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A volunteer basketball coach at Shadow Ridge High School has been arrested, Clark County Schools Police Lt. Ken Young said. According to the Clark County Detention Center, the volunteer coach,More>>
A volunteer basketball coach at Shadow Ridge High School has been arrested, Clark County Schools Police Lt. Ken Young said.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:56:00 GMT
LAS VEGAS - Metro Police says a preteen who was assaulted Thursday during an attempted robbery has died. Investigators said the preteen was walking near Charleston Boulevard and Torrey Pines Drive withMore>>
Marcos Arenas, a Bonanza High School student who was assaulted Thursday during an attempted theft, has died, Metro Police said.More>>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:39 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:39:56 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police are investigating two people found dead in an apartment complex near Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway. According to police, the bodies were found around 3 p.m. Friday atMore>>
Metro Police are investigating the deaths of a man and a woman whose bodies were found in an apartment Friday afternoon near Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- A whistle-blower who once worked for the Southern Nevada Water Authority at a string of ranches in White Pine County claims SNWA is woefully inept when it comes to overseeing the properties.
SNWA spent $80 million to acquire the ranches, but for one longtime employee who worked there, it was a terrifying experience. The former employee has filed a scathing complaint with federal authorities.
The allegations involving the public agency are severe. Former SNWA employee Debra Rivero said, she and other employees at the SNWA ranches were abused and terrorized by their manager on a regular basis.
Rivero said she nearly died on the job, which happened after her boss threatened her with an electronic cattle prod. The sordid allegations have now been brought to federal authorities.
"I could get no one to listen to me, no one to help me. I was up there, completely alone with this person I considered a lunatic," Rivero said.
The final year of Rivero's long career with Nevada water agencies was a time of humiliation and fear, she said.
For 17 years, her evaluations show, she was an exemplary employee at the water district's main office in Las Vegas. All that changed when she left to work for the water authority as office manager for SNWA's string of ranches in White Pine County. The agency spends more than $800,000 a year to run the ranches.
Problems surfaced, Rivero said, when former ranch manager Brandon Humphries was replaced by Bernard Peterson.
"I heard a lot of talk from the manager who told me himself that there was a lot of inappropriate things that happened out at the ranch. A lot of materials and equipment that ended up missing," she said.
Rivero said she tried to let the bosses in Las Vegas know there were serious problems with the ranches.
"I kept bringing up, 'Hey, there is unethical stuff going on up here' and the Vegas office didn't seem to want to hear it. They didn't want to talk to me about it," Rivero said.
In particular, she said, SNWA didn't want derogatory information about the ranches to be leaked to the I-Team, especially to reporter George Knapp.
Rivero said the lack of oversight by SNWA meant the ranches operated as a world unto themselves. The result, for Rivero, was horrific. In a blistering complaint filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she described an extremely hostile work environment in which she was harassed, humiliated, and demeaned.
An earlier letter to SNWA general manager Pat Mulroy, Rivero complained that Peterson was oppressive, malicious, and abusive to employees, and that he often boasted he would kill anyone who messed with him or his family.
"He came and stood toe to toe with me and asked if I was afraid of him. I mean, his nose almost touching mine," Rivero said.
One incident was a turning point. She alleges that Peterson tried to intimidate her with an electronic cattle prod.
"It was a live cattle prod, a live cattle prod, and he held it within inches of my face. When I didn't jump out of the way, I just froze out of fear, he shocked the light bar above me and sparks went flying all over. He just chuckled and laughed and walked away."
She said she reported the incident to SNWA Human Resources director Pat Maxwell.
"And she did nothing. Her answer to me was, 'Well, you need to sit down and figure out what you did to make him so mean to you.'"
Disheartened and fearful every day at work, Rivero suffered a stroke last June. The ranch is a 30 minute drive from Ely. A doctor told her, by phone, to get help right away. She couldn't drive, so she called Peterson.
"I finally contacted Bernard, said I needed to go to the hospital. The doctor thought I was having a stroke. He said, 'Okay,' then finished cleaning out his truck, and then he took me. When we got to the hospital, he dropped me at the curb and left."
Doctors in Ely had her airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital. She survived, but didn't get much sympathy when she asked for time off to recuperate.
"It says on my paperwork, if I don't go back to work by this date, I will be terminated. And it was like, a week-and-a-half after the stroke."
Rivero decided there was no way she could go back to work for the same boss so she resigned, and it cost her plenty. Instead of retiring with full benefits after 20 years, her medical coverage and retirement pay are only a fraction of what they would have been. SNWA agreed to pay her $30,000 to settle her claims but she says she should not have to make such a big sacrifice because of someone else's bad behavior.