Probe says Gibbons acted properly

Gov. Jim Gibbons has gotten good marks from state ethics investigator Michel Vavra in a matter involving Gibbons’ Elko County property.

Gibbons purchased land for a homesite in Elko County. He purchased it from former state district judge Jerry Carr Whitehead, who broke it off from a larger parcel. The Gibbons homesite had previously been ranch land, and the governor applied to continue the agricultural property tax exemption on the basis that, until he built his home, the property was being leased back to adjoining property owner Whitehead.

Vavra concluded that Gibbons’ land need not be used for agricultural purposes in order to qualify for the exemption as long as it was contiguous to land which is being used as ranch or farm land, and Whitehead’s land is ranch land.

“In fact, Gibbons’ property is not required to earn any income at all … as long as it is contiguous to Whitehead’s agricultural property and unquestionably the property is,” Vavra wrote.

The investigative report will go to a two-member panel of the Nevada Ethics Commission, which will decide whether to recommend that the full commission take further action.

Vavra was harshly critical of Elko County Assessor Joseph Aguirre for allegedly poor record keeping and failing to request from Gibbons copies of records he wanted.

The investigator’s report can be read at