I-Team: Charges dropped in fireworks case; defendant has to reimburse agencies more than $25K


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The court date for a billionaire to enter a controversial plea deal has once again been rescheduled. Henry Nicholas and his co-defendant Ashley Fargo have to pay $1 million to a charity, and their felony drug charges will be dropped. However, their court date to enter their pleas was pushed back to next month.

The I-Team tracked down information on another case involving the same attorneys where an expensive deal was worked out to free their client of some serious charges. It was a case that had garnered a lot of media attention because it involved 100 tons of fireworks, and it happened right before the 4th of July.

One of Michael Paglia’s attorneys is David Chesnoff: He is the same attorney representing billionaire Henry Nicholas.

The I-Team learned Paglia reached a deal with prosecutors that would drop the charges in exchange for a large payment.

“I always thought it was just normal, regular fireworks, and a regular place to put them,” said a California resident.

But, authorities called the area where the fireworks were placed the Amazon warehouse of fireworks because it housed cherry bombs, M-80s and M-60s, Roman candles and so much more.

Clark County spokeswoman Stacy Welling provided the following information Monday:

“We can confirm that his company, Pyrotechnics Suppliers, did not have a permit from our Building and Fire Prevention Department to store fireworks in June, nor did it have a business license. There is no change in status to report at this time. I understand from the District Attorney’s office that the case against Mr. Paglia was resolved Aug. 1. As part  of the resolution, he agreed to pay restitution to reimburse responding agencies for their enforcement efforts.”

However, lawyers for the man accused of owning massive quantities of dangerous and illegal fireworks without a permit to store or transport them worked out a deal. The charges against Michael Paglia have been dropped, and Paglia now has to pay more than $25,000 to the agencies who investigated the case. Here’s how it all breaks down:

  • Clark County Fire Prevention — $ 9,254.79
  • Clark County Fire Suppression — $4,651.44
  • Nevada Attorney General — $972.47
  • State Fire Marshal– $587.12
  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. — $10,145.84

The decision was made despite photo evidence, an investigation with multiple agencies, and testimony from a Clark County Fire inspector.

“There’s no fire hydrant close by,” said Brian Kern, fire inspector, Clark County Department of Building and Fire Prevention. “We do have a volunteer fire station there, so if there was; if something was to happen like a fire, in any sense, you’ve got wildland around you.”

According to the Las Vegas bomb squad, out of the 200,000 pounds of explosives found on the land where California, Nevada, and Arizona meet, just 11,000 pounds of it would have a fragmented zone around 7,000-feet.

(Note: There’s an r-v park, a highway, and homes nearby.)

In August, the area appears to be quiet, and when the I-Team was in the area, they didn’t see any activity.

In a statement sent to the I-Team on Aug. 16th, Paglia’s attorneys contended Paglia didn’t break the law and the fireworks shouldn’t have been seized.

They wrote in a statement in part: “Our client then arranged for the safe transportation of the fireworks to the Paiute Nation. Our client, believing that the police and fire department acted as they felt they should under political pressure, agreed to offset the expense to the county in exchange for dismissal of the criminal case.”

“We were concerned that the seizure of the property and them maintaining and staying on the property, essentially freezing out my client from the property was an interference with commerce,” said Richard Schonfeld, attorney.

The I-Team reached out to the district attorney’s office for a comment several times, a spokeswoman said she’d look into it, but the I-Team did not hear back.

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