Jim Murren speaks at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada’s private sector task force assigned to help with COVID-19 priorities has encountered shady characters and strong-arm tactics. That’s according to Jim Murren, chairman of the task force and former MGM International CEO, Nevada’s largest employer.

Murren spoke exclusively with the I-Team’s George Knapp Monday and described the effort to obtain vital personal protective equipment (PPE) as a free-for-all fight against powerful adversaries.

Many well intentioned people in the United States, including state governments got completely, utterly laid away by counterfeit masks. By gouging from unscrupulous characters. And we had a couple orders ourselves that we had secured. We knew they’re qualified masks. We knew they’re from the right manufacturer, and right in the middle of the purchase order that the masks vanished. And so we know and we’ve heard horror stories of masks going to a port of demarcation in China, never getting on the ships or on the planes. We’ve heard about masks (being) commandeered or have been stolen once they arrived in the United States.

Jim Murren, Chairman NV COVID-19 private sector task force & Fmr. CEO MGM International

Murren says task force members have succeeded in purchasing millions of pieces of needed medical gear, in part because of personal and business relationships developed between Nevada business leaders and counterparts in China, where most of the equipment is made.

Below, you can watch the complete interview with Jim Murren.