Sands dispute scrutinized

The Nevada Assembly’s budget committee on May 10 voted to request a bill providing for independent counsel for the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Such a measure would remove the Nevada attorney general’s office as legal counsel for the Control Board. Assembly Ways and Means Committee chair Maggie Carlton told reporters it means the Control Board has lost confidence in Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a likely candidate for governor in 2018. The ability of legislators to subject the matter to much analysis is limited by the approaching end of the legislature.

An affidavit executed by Control Board chair Andrew G. Burnett makes reference to a request by Laxalt that the Gaming Control Board intervene in a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Las Vegas Sands Corp. A recording made by Burnett of an April 2016 meeting he had with Laxalt reportedly deals with the same matter. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has examined both the affidavit and the recording and decided not to pursue the matter. Sands chair Sheldon Adelson contributed heavily to Laxalt and financial entities supporting Laxalt in the 2014 campaign for attorney general. Recent news reports suggest up to $1,605,000—a remarkable amount in a state attorney general’s race—found its way from Adelson to various pro-Laxalt entities.

In a prepared statement, Laxalt said of the Ways and Means Committee’s scrutiny, “We look forward to exposing this for what it is: a political attack designed to distract from the Democrats’ radical agenda that harms Nevada’s working families.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval, in an interview with KRNV News last week, said Laxalt “hasn’t denied that [the meeting] happened. He’s issued a press release that the meeting took place. And I think everyone just needs to listen to the dialogue and decide for themselves what it means.” Sandoval said when he was attorney general, he worked with Burnett and has respect for him.