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11th hour security request called ‘shakedown’

Town officials say Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo’s crystal ball needs cleaning.

The sheriff expressed serious reservations ahead of last weekend’s biker rally, organized by Roadshows Inc. DeMeo was worried for months leading up to the event that the the rally could attract drugs and violence.

However, DeMeo’s prediction fell far short as organizers of the inaugural Spring Mountain Run say the event was light on participants and went off without a hitch.

Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said on Monday that DeMeo’s concerns weighed so heavily on him that he made an unusual eleventh hour request that the town provide additional security at Petrack Park for the three-day event, even though the town had already established its own security.

The additional cost totaled $10,000.

Holecheck said she was puzzled why DeMeo made the request after he told town officials during a December meeting that all security demands will be the town’s responsibility.

“We asked the sheriff’s department how we could get them involved? They said they will not have anything to do with the event but they came in last Thursday saying they wanted $10,000 for security. We could have done this months ago with a nice Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement in place. We could have determined how much security we would have needed but the sheriff shows up on Thursday morning to ask where’s your security?” she said.

The town manager said the request for $10,000 by DeMeo didn’t make her angry but it was a let-down.

“I’m just disappointed and I guess we’ll have to pay it. I’m one of those who likes things to be orderly. Because this was a first time event, we were really trying to make sure that we have all of our ducks in a row. We just wanted it to flow very, very well and had the sheriff indicated a week ago that they wanted to be involved, we could have had everything in place. But to wait until Thursday morning, the day before the event begins, is puzzling. The bottom line is the safety of the people and the town. We kept wanting to get the sheriff involved but during that last meeting, we were told that the sheriff said absolutely not,” she said.

Town Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan shared his thoughts about DeMeo’s unexpected request for money.

He likened DeMeo’s request for cash as a “shakedown” of the town.

“I would consider it to be like Chicken Little where the sky was falling by Sheriff DeMeo just so he could extort money from the town, which the town did not have an obligation to pay. That is something we are going to be discussing. This was all done while the town manager and I were up in Sparks tending to town business,” he said.

Holecheck, meanwhile, said in addition to the $10,000 request, county officials also dropped another bombshell in the days leading up to the event.

“It’s interesting because the county contacted me a week ago saying that we need to get a special events permit. From what I know the magic number for a special events permit is 1,000 people. I can tell you now that we were lucky if we got 500 people at the event. Honestly I think we barely got 200 people,” she said.

Town officials initially approved sponsoring the bike rally for $38,700.

Factoring in the additional money for security, total cost for the event is just shy of $50,000.

Town officials are still tallying up expenditures to determine whether the event will turn a profit.

Efforts to get comments from DeMeo about the issue were unsuccessful by press time.

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