By Matt Ward
A former town board candidate and suspected arsonist has refiled an appeal to the state Supreme Court over the April dismissal of a $500 million civil lawsuit he filed against several town employees and elected officials.
Anthony Greco filed a motion for reconsideration on July 25 after the court refused to hear his appeal. That decision was made after he failed to pay appropriate court costs.
The case in question was originally filed in Fifth Judicial District Court in January against the town board, town manager, Pahrump fire chief, the Las Vegas law firm that represents the town in legal matters as well as others.
Judge Kimberly Wanker dismissed the case on April 13. By May 22, Greco had appealed her decision to the Supreme Court.
By July 10, the court had dismissed the appeal because Greco hadn’t yet paid a $250 filing fee, $500 bond and $25 to the District Court.
Now Greco is claiming poverty and wants the court to waive the fees and hear his appeal. In papers filed with the court, he says a heart attack left him unable to find steady work and that he lives on just $820 a month, though he lists his monthly expenses at $900.
He says proof of his indigence can also be found in court records — a public defender was appointed to represent him in upcoming court hearings related to his arson charges, for example. Ironically, Greco fought the appointment of a public defender in his criminal case; he wanted to represent himself, but a judge refused.
Greco has been on a crusade against an array of public officials lately, even buying local newspaper ads seeking evidence to support his belief that some local judges, lawyers, town officials and others are somehow involved in an ongoing criminal conspiracy.
In one recent advertisement, Greco named as “persons of interest” Wanker and Judge Robert Lane, as well as District Attorney Brian Kunzi, public defenders Harry Kuehn and Jason Earnest, on top of Town Manager Bill Kohbarger, town board chair Vicky Parker, a state fire marshal’s investigator and numerous others.
A second advertisement focused on local law firm Gibson & Kuehn, which holds the country contract for indigent legal services. In this ad, Greco asks that anyone “represented” by the public defenders who feel the lawyers misrepresented, or verbally or physically abused them, to please bring their complaints to him — via a website that purports to celebrate Italian-American heritage.
Greco’s conspiratorial claims are rehashed in his latest Supreme Court motion.
For example, he says he has been appointed a public defender three times. He says the first attorney, Harry Kuehn, threatened him with physical abuse. The second attorney, Carl Joerger, “did not even contact the appellant and simply tendered his withdrawal to the Court.” A third attorney, Robert Glennen, who recently became the acting district attorney in Esmeralda County, was apparently appointed to Greco’s case, but according to the motion, “has just been found driving under the influence and dumped as District Attorney of Esmeralda County.”
The allegation against Glennen appears to be based on a Pahrump Valley Times story about Glennen receiving a citation for driving on a suspended license recently. Glennen claimed then that the suspension was in error. He later received an official apology from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. A letter obtained by the PVT says Glennen’s driving privileges were indeed erroneously suspended.
Asked about Greco’s DUI claim, Glennen said he’s not sure where that came from. He acknowledged that he was appointed to Greco’s case but had to withdraw after leaving the defense bar to become a prosecutor.
Kuehn, meanwhile, said his office was taken off the case after reacting to Greco’s use of a profanity in court.
“He said something profane and I said if he does it again I’ll smack him,” Kuehn told the PVT.
Greco’s combative attitude extends beyond his own attorneys. In his motion, he writes as if he is being persecuted by the entire Nye County legal community.
“This continuing travesty of ‘just-us’ has to stop someplace and appellant get his ‘day in court,’ even if it’s the U.S. Supreme Court, where all this is headed anyway.”
Greco seems to show his true motivation for all this talk of official oppression later in the motion when he writes, “Appellant has a constitutional right to ‘muck-up’ his own case, if he so chooses, and he would rather do that by himself, than have this group of clowns doing it for him!”
Could it be that Greco’s attacks against the entire legal community are a strategy to somehow distract from the case against him? More than a few people believe that’s exactly what’s happening.
County prosecutors are determined to hold Greco and a co-conspirator responsible for setting fire to a home in August 2010. The incident, which took place at 5920 Pahrump Valley Blvd., had all the markings of a suspicious fire.
A state fire marshal’s office investigator performed a lengthy investigation, concluding that Greco and his girlfriend, Kathie Rinaldi, orchestrated the fire to collect insurance money. They could have gotten away with it had fate not played a role.
“The fire was investigated and determined that mineral spirits were poured in the bathroom of the house, then ignited. A nearby water line burst and subsequently extinguished the fire prematurely. A can of mineral spirits was left in the hallway, and a pry bar was located in the bathroom,” wrote Mike Kolpak, the fire marshal’s investigator assigned to the case.
Rinaldi and Greco have each been charged with felony arson and fraud charges. Kolpak, meanwhile, is among those named in the vast conspiracy to persecute Greco.
Greco has one riding experience in his background that suggests he’s more than able to play the role of persecuted man.
In 1999, he was indicted by the federal government for the Oct. 10, 1998 mob slaying of Joseph “Joey O” Masella, a member of New Jersey’s DeCavalcante crime family. Greco was arrested outside a Pahrump convenience store and later moved to New York to face the murder beef. He stayed in jail until the spring of 2000 and was latest placed under house arrest until early 2001. A federal judge later cleared him of the charge, though the feds were allowed to pursue prosecution later if evidence warranted. Another mobster took the rap for Masella’s murder when he struck a plea deal as the feds dismantled the entire hierarchy of the DeCavalcante family in the early 2000s.
Greco came back to Pahrump and quickly attempted to capitalize on his “persecution.” He wrote a book, and possibly three, tried to develop a website dedicated to his story, sold coffee mugs and t-shirts, even got a Nevada vanity plate with the phrase “NY HITS” on it.
Greco even started a political career, cozying up to such local officials as county Commissioner Dan Schinhofen, a leading town board candidate Frank Maurizio, county Tax Assessor Shirley Matson and others active on the more colorful fringe of local politics. He won 830 votes in the May primary election for two town board seats. He just missed going to the November general election by less than 100 votes.
Greco will be back in court to answer to the felony arson and fraud charges in about two weeks.