Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | 3:30 p.m.
CARSON CITY -- Gov. Jim Gibbons says hundreds of text messages with his reported girlfriend in Reno were not love notes but rather dealt with state issues and office problems.
The governor conceded, however, that it was wrong to use his state cell phone to communicate more than 800 times in a six-week period with the woman.
At a news conference, Gibbons also denied that he ever slept with Kathy Karrasch and said he does not talk with her any longer.
Gibbons has filed for divorce and his wife Dawn has accused him of "infatuation and involvement" with the unnamed wife of a Reno physician. Karrasch has been seen in the company of Gibbons, who calls her a longtime friend.
He said he made his "mistake" by using the state-issued cell phone to text 867 messages to her in March and April 2007 while the Nevada Legislature was in session. He reimbursed the state, writing two checks, one for $17.85 in April last year and another for $112 in May.
He said the extensive texting occurred during a "very stressful time for me" as he began his administration and dealt with the Nevada Legislature.
And he noted: "She texted me first."
Asked if the frequent messages interfered with his governing responsibilities, Gibbons said: "I'm a person who sleeps very little. I
probably get two or three hours of sleep a night. So I'm constantly sitting there with my mind turning, thinking about issues. Often times I will text people at 1, 2 or 4 or 6 o'clock in the morning."
He said such texts go to a "number of people in my circle."
Gibbons, noting that the texts to Karrasch were sent more than a year ago, said he could not recall their context.
As many as 156 text messages came on a single day. The times of the texts varied, with some coming in the very early morning hours.
He said he doesn't see the woman any longer "simply because of the stress and all of this in the media has put a tremendous burden on her."
The texts concerned what had happened during that day in the Legislature and what was happening in his office, Gibbons said.
Asked to name one policy that she advised him on, he cited "taxation" and "personnel management issues." He said he also talked to her about "how to structure an office and not individual or personnel issues."
Asked whether if it was wrong to text message the woman so often, Gibbons replied: "I don't know that anyone should tell you or me who your friends can and cannot be."
As to whether his wife knew about the communications, he replied, "You will have to ask her."
Gibbons has moved out of the Governor's Mansion and has filed for divorce. The couple has since reached an agreement for him to move back into the mansion in Carson City while she occupies an adjacent building on the grounds.