Doyle to stand trial in January

Three months after the primary election, one month after the general election and four years after a Reno City Council election, some campaign finance violation investigations are moving toward closure.

First on the docket is former Reno City Councilwoman Sherrie Doyle. The ex-Ward 4 representative will go to trial on Jan. 27—probably. Doyle has been awaiting a decision by Washoe County Judge James Hardesty since June as to whether the Washoe County Grand Jury had legal grounds to indict her on 16 felony counts of theft against contributors and her own “Committee to Elect’ bank account. The judge found that there were grounds to try Doyle on 13 of the 16 counts. Her lawyer, Tom Viloria, has filed a new motion for dismissal, however, which the judge will rule on in coming weeks.

Current Ward 4 representative Dwight Dortch is under investigation by the secretary of state for allegedly taking more than $5,000 before the primary election from Clear Channel Outdoor, purveyors of billboard advertising. Mike Tracy, a vocal train-trench opponent, filed the complaint, charging Dortch had accepted more than the legal limit of in-kind contributions from Clear Channel.

Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Susan Bilyeu said that the Dortch investigation is moving along and will probably be completed within days.

“A staff member called several billboard companies in Reno and Carson City to see if the prices [claimed by Dortch and Clear Channel] are in the ballpark,’ she said. “The memo hasn’t been completed yet, but it appears so far that they are.’

Finally, in the attorney general’s race, Republican Brian Sandoval’s campaign manager, Pete Ernaut, filed a complaint that alleged that Democratic contender John Hunt accepted more than $160,000 in contributions raised by Mike Shustek of Vestin Mortgage in Las Vegas. Ernaut suggested that some of Shustek’s employees were reimbursed for their gifts. The secretary of state sent out letters asking about details of the donations.

“We had 14 people out of 40 who did not respond to questionnaires we sent out regarding the investigation,’ said Bilyeu. “Two came back in returned mail. We are drafting letters to those who didn’t respond.’