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Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo has run-in with Nevada ethics panel

A review panel for the Nevada Commission on Ethics has issued a panel determination regarding complaints filed against Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo.

The document details that while “credible evidence” was found to pursue a formal ethics commission opinion in the matter, the panel has decided that the issue can be addressed through a deferral agreement dictating corrective action, rather than by referring the matter to the ethics commission for further proceedings.

Blundo said the situation arose from a combination of his attempt to help boost small businesses in Nye County and an unfortunate choice of words.

“I promised to fight for my constituents, and that’s what I was doing here. Small business is the driving force for better jobs in our community. All I was doing was fighting for them,” Blundo, who is among the Republican contenders for Nevada’s Congressional District 4 race in 2020, explained when reached for comment. “I asked those whose job it is to promote small businesses, to do their job and promote them. I’m a small business owner, so in doing so, I mentioned my business in the context of all restaurants. That was the wrong choice of words that got us here, and I know that now.”

Blundo went on to state, “However, that will not change the fact that when I see a problem, I am going to speak up, and put in the hard work for those I represent. I was not elected because I am perfect, none of us are. I was elected to fight for what is right, that’s what I was doing here and that’s what I am going to continue to do every single day that I have the privilege of serving you. Some are going to try to stop me from standing up and being your voice. I will not relent to their pressure, I will not sit in silence when taxpayer money is at stake, and you can be sure, will not cower when the hard-working families of our community need someone to champion their cause.”

The panel determination was issued on Aug. 21 by Nevada Commission on Ethics commissioners Brian Duffrin, Teresa Lowry and Amanda Yen, in relation to ethics complaints No. 19-026C and 19-027C. Those complaints alleged violations of Nevada Revised Statute for, “… Blundo’s conduct associated with the use of his public position to pursue services, favors and/or engagements and unwarranted preference or advantages for himself, his private business and/or his fiancé,” as detailed in the determination document.

“… The Panel unanimously finds and concludes that the facts establish credible evidence to support a determination that just and sufficient cause exists for the commission to render an opinion in the matter regarding the alleged violations of NRS 281A.400(1), (2), (7) and (9),” the determination reads. “However, pursuant to NRS 281A.730, the panel reasonably believes that Blundo’s conduct may be appropriately addressed through corrective action under the terms and conditions of a deferral agreement …”

The panel determination goes on to state that the deferral agreement must confirm Blundo’s acknowledgment of several conditions.

First, he must comply with ethics laws for a period of two years following the approval of the deferral agreement and must not, in that time frame, become the subject of another ethics complaint that results in a review panel determining that there is just cause to refer that complaint to the ethics commission for a formal opinion. Additionally, Blundo must acknowledge the review panel’s public admonishment and be willing to present the approved deferral agreement to the ethics board and/or issue a public apology, among other stipulations.

The deferral agreement is to be provided to the review panel on or before Sept. 9, unless an extension of time is granted by the ethics commission.

In the event that the panel does not approve the agreement or Blundo declines to enter into the deferral agreement, the panel will then issue an order referring the matter to the ethics commission for further proceedings, according to the document.

To view the complete document, go to bit.ly/2k2ui9y on the web.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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