83°F
weather icon Clear

Former Nye commissioner fined $4,500 following COVID-funding ethics probe

The Nevada Commission on Ethics has fined former Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo $4,500 after finding that he failed to disclose a conflict of interest before voting on a countywide measure to award COVID-relief funding to local small business owners amid the pandemic.

Ethics commissioners publicly reprimanded Blundo this month, noting this was the first case in which they had found a public officer or employee had violated Nevada ethic laws in a COVID-related funding scam.

In March, the Nevada Commission on Ethics found that Blundo personally benefited from about $35,000 more in aid after he joined other county commissioners in a Nov. 10, 2022 vote to increase the amount of federal CARES Act funding made available to struggling entrepreneurs during the pandemic.

“Mr. Blundo voted in favor of the amendments to Nye County’s CARES Act policy, which had the direct effect of increasing the amount of funds that his business received,” an ethics commission spokesman said.

Blundo owns Carmelo’s Bistro in Pahrump.

Although the former commissioner publicly disclosed that he held a liquor license at the time of his questionable vote, and acknowledged that he had applied for COVID-relief programs for which the board of commissioners was setting policies, the ethics investigation found that Blundo misrepresented his direct financial interests in those aid programs and failed to mention how he might personally benefit from them.

Some county workers quit because Blundo used his public position to pressure and intimidate them to expedite his applications for pandemic-relief funding, according to the ethics investigation.

Contact Editor Brent Schanding at bschanding@pvtimes.com.

THE LATEST
Historic Saline Valley salt tram tower pulled down

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – The National Park Service is seeking information about recent damage to a historic salt tram tower in Saline Valley. It appears the 113-year-old tower was pulled over while a person used a winch to extract their vehicle out of deep mud. The damage happened sometime between April 1 and April 24.

 
Need a Real ID? Time is running out to get one in Nevada

To meet federal requirements, Real IDs will be needed for anyone looking to use their driver’s license to get through security at airports for domestic flights nationwide.

Circus coming to Pahrump

The Kiwanis Club of Pahrump Valley is sponsoring the Hugo, Oklahoma-based Culpepper and Merriweather Great Combined Circus which is coming to Pahrump at Petrack Park on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5. There will be two 90-minute shows each day at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., with a free tent-raising and behind-the-scenes tour starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Devils Hole pupfish population at 25-year high

The spring count of the Devils Hole pupfish, one of the world’s rarest fishes, showed that the population is at its highest since the spring count taken in 1999.

Sportsman’s Quest: You always remember the firsts

While looking through my old picture albums I noticed many of the pictures, and the ones I enjoy most, are of firsts – pictures of my first deer, first bear, first sheep, and first salmon. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising, as our memories of first events are often most vivid, and we have a special feeling for other firsts as well.

Meet the new manager for the Nye County Animal Shelter

A little more than a year and a half ago, the new 79-dog capacity no-kill Nye County Animal Shelter opened and promptly received a baptism by fire a few days later when more than 300 abused and neglected Caucasian shepherds were seized, overwhelming the facility’s capacities and resources, and capturing national headlines. These days, the shelter has returned to its normal intended function but with new leadership in place.

Beatty plans recreational facilities on 76 acres

BEATTY — The Beatty General Improvement District has big plans for 76 acres of land south of the high school and east of the town cemetery.

 
Do Nevadans support smoke-free casinos? New poll gives insight

A new poll looks at whether voters would support a potential law that made all workplaces in Nevada, including casinos, completely smoke free while indoors. Unions also weigh in.