I-Team: FBI Investigates Major Political Corruption Case - 8 News NOW

George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter

I-Team: FBI Investigates Major Political Corruption Case

Posted: Updated:
Gary Gray is a highly successful political consultant who has managed some 200 political campaigns over the last 20 years. Gary Gray is a highly successful political consultant who has managed some 200 political campaigns over the last 20 years.
Gray was chosen to run the campaign of Supreme Court candidate Kris Pickering. Gray was chosen to run the campaign of Supreme Court candidate Kris Pickering.

Eyewitness News has learned that an investigation has been underway since late July into political machinations involving a prominent law firm and the Nevada Supreme Court.

A political corruption task force made up of FBI agents and Metro Detectives has been working the case since late summer.

Key players include one of the best known political consultants in the state, a highly successful law firm and a former justice on the state Supreme Court. It's a story that is likely to get even bigger in the days to come, even if it never results in formal charges.

Gary Gray is a high successful political consultant who has managed some 200 political campaigns over the last 20 years, including the campaigns of his wife, current Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, her fellow commissioner Tom Collins and many other elected officials.

Earlier this year, Gray was chosen to run the campaign of Supreme Court candidate Kris Pickering, her first run for office.

Law enforcement sources say that in late July, Gray presented Pickering with an unusual proposal. He allegedly told her that a sum of $200,000 was going to be plowed into her race. The money could either be used for Pickering or against her.

If Pickering didn't want the money to go to someone else, she would have to sign an agreement that, if elected to the Nevada Supreme Court, she would recuse herself from any eminent domain cases which might come before the court involving the law firm of prominent attorney Laura Fitzsimmons.

Pickering was aghast at the proposal, sources close to the story say. She could not believe her campaign manager would ask such a thing.

Gray reportedly informed Pickering that other Supreme Court justices had already signed similar letters. When asked for an example, Gray invoked the name of veteran justice and former Lieutenant Governor Bob Rose.

According to investigators, Gray retrieved a copy of the letter signed by Rose from Gray's longtime friend, businessman Joe Lamarca, who reportedly had been holding it. Gray presented it to Pickering three days later.

By that time, Pickering had already contacted the FBI.

In late July, lawmen served a search warrant on Gray's home office. The only item seized from the office was a copy of the letter signed by Rose. Around the same time, Pickering dropped Gray's company from her campaign.

Since that time, investigators have been piecing together possible connections between these and other players.

Campaign records show Laura Fitzsimmons, who has won an estimated $65 million in eminent domain judgments, is one of the largest donors to Supreme Court candidates in the state. So is Joe Lamarca.

Fitzsimmons and Lamarca are also business partners according to county records.

Just last week, Fitzsimons was listed as a host for a campaign event benefiting Deborah Schumacher, Kris Pickering's opponent in the general election.

Fitzsimmons is also the lawyer who helped County Commission candidate Steve Sisolak win a $6.5 million eminent domain judgment from Clark County regarding land he owned near the airport and is one of his largest campaign contributors.

Sisolak's campaign manager is Gary Gray.

Gary Gray declined to be interviewed but told the I-Team he "can't comment until this is resolved, and I believe it will be resolved in my favor."

The I-Team has learned prosecutors at the local and federal levels have looked at the case but so far, they don't see any crime. It looks sleazy but might not be illegal. However, the investigation is very much alive and ongoing.

A spokesperson for Kris Pickering's campaign said she could not comment.

Law enforcement sources say had it not been for Pickering, they would never have learned about this matter.

The I-Team called attorney Laura Fitzsimons but she was unavailable.

Email your comments to Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp

  • Las Vegas NewsLas Vegas NewsMore>>

  • Moapa Valley braces for possibility of more rain

    Moapa Valley braces for possibility of more rain

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:40 AM EDT2014-09-16 13:40:08 GMT
    Financial relief may soon be on the way to the flood-stricken Moapa Valley. Clark County officials say they expect the County Commission on Tuesday will vote to declare a state of emergency for Moapa, Logandale, Overton and Sandy Valley.More>>
    Financial relief may soon be on the way to the flood-stricken Moapa Valley. Clark County officials say they expect the County Commission on Tuesday will vote to declare a state of emergency for Moapa, Logandale, Overton and Sandy Valley.More>>
  • Metro Police warn about motorcycle crashes

    Metro Police warn about motorcycle crashes

    Metro Police say it was this time last year that they started seeing a spike in deadly motorcycle crashes. A woman is facing life-threatening injuries after she was involved in a motorcycle crash Sunday evening at Arville and Russell. Vanessa Murphy reports.

    More>>

    Metro Police say it was this time last year that they started seeing a spike in deadly motorcycle crashes. A woman is facing life-threatening injuries after she was involved in a motorcycle crash Sunday evening at Arville and Russell. Vanessa Murphy reports.

    More>>
  • Henderson city official pleads 'no contest'

    Henderson city official pleads 'no contest'

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:23 AM EDT2014-09-16 15:23:15 GMT
    A top Henderson city leader who was arrested for DUI pleaded no contest to a lesser charge.
    More>>
    A top Henderson city leader who was arrested for DUI pleaded no contest to a lesser charge after blood tests revealed he was not over the legal limit.

    More>>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.