NV Republicans Demand Commissioner Justin Jones Resign After Ruling in Quid Pro Quo Lawsuit with Former Gov. Sisolak

AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes, File

As previously reported, a $1 billion lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging that a backroom deal occurred between the now ex-Governor of Nevada Steve Sisolak and Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones, who is married to an advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris. 


Read More: $1B Lawsuit Alleges Quid Pro Quo Between Gov. Sisolak and Commissioner Married to VP Harris’ Top Advisor

In 2018, Sisolak was Chairman of the Clark County Commission and was campaigning for governor. Jones is accused of trading his sought-after endorsement of Sisolak along with a promise to dismiss an “uncomfortable lawsuit,” ie: the Save Red Rock suit against the county that Jones was the lead attorney on. In exchange, Sisolak would vote “no” on James Rhodes’ plans and use his role on the board to delay a key vote until Jones was in office. In Jones’ campaign, he had promised to end the Red Rock development plans within 100 days of taking office. The lawsuit stated that the pressure campaign was a success and that Sisolak would release a statement opposing the residential development.

The suit sought damages for the Clark County Commission’s corrupt rejection of residential property development in the Red Rock National Conservation area. A motion to impose sanctions for the destruction of evidence was heard in Federal court on October 20.

On Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elayna Youchah issued a 42-page ruling, stating that Jones was not truthful about deleting text messages from his phone ahead of a key vote in 2019, and in doing so violated state law, and county policy regarding preservation obligations, while awarding attorney fees to developer James Rhodes of Gypsum Resources LLC. 

Per the court order, when Jones couldn’t immediately reach Sisolak’s campaign days ahead of the October 2018 election, he wrote in an email:


Well, I’m doing my part. If Sisolak doesn’t want to play, then it’s going to blow up in his face tomorrow,

Within days, Sisolak announced he would not be in support of the project and assisted in delaying a commission vote until after two new commissioners took office, including Jones. Then, Save Red Rock dismissed its lawsuit against the county and endorsed the future governor’s campaign.

The court order confirms that the deal struck between Sisolak and Jones had value, stating:

At his deposition, Mr. Jones admitted the deal he struck with Commissioner Sisolak had “value,” that Commissioner Sisolak used language similar to language Jones drafted when releasing his public statement, and that Commissioner Sisolak did what (Save Red Rock) and Jones wanted him to do.

Youchah wrote in the order:

The Court can find no logical — even if unlikely — explanation for what happened to Mr. Jones’ texts other than the disappointing explanation that Mr. Jones deleted his texts worried the disclosure would yield a negative or unfavorable outcome for him.

The court found that Jones’ did not want his communications with Sisolak or Sisolak’s campaign to come to light about the deal they struck. 

On Tuesday, Clark County Nevada GOP Chairman Jesse Law called on Jones to resign: 

The people of Clark County have always deserved better than Justin Jones—and now they have an official court finding to prove it. Justin Jones should, for once in his public career, do the honorable thing and resign. This premeditated and deliberate act of dishonesty, meant to shield him from public criticism, is a serious breach of the public’s trust.


Law also called for disciplinary action from the Nevada State Bar. 

The state GOP, chaired by Michael McDonald, also called for Jones’ resignation as well as investigations from the Clark County District Attorney, the Nevada Attorney General, and the Nevada State Bar.

Jones, in a statement made to Las Vegas Review-Journal, wrote, “I have reviewed the order and I have no further comments while the litigation is pending. I continue to remain focused on serving the needs of my constituents and working to make Clark County a better place to live, work and raise a family.”


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