Las Vegas Sun

November 28, 2015

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Danny Tarkanian’s brother filed bankruptcy in wake of failed real estate deal

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Danny Tarkanian, candidate for the state's 4th Congressional District, listens to Steven Horsford during a debate at Temple Sinai of Las Vegas in Summerlin Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. The temple's Men's Club sponsored the debate.

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Lois Tarkanian

Republican congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian’s brother, George Tarkanian, filed bankruptcy this summer after investing with his brother in a failed real estate deal that has resulted in a $17 million judgment against the family.

George Tarkanian, who is suffering serious health problems, listed the $17 million judgment as his largest financial liability in the bankruptcy he filed July 31. But in addition to modest credit card and car loan bills, George Tarkanian also listed significant medical debt in the bankruptcy.

Reached by phone today, Danny Tarkanian declined to comment on his brother’s personal financial situation.

His mother, Las Vegas councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, said George Tarkanian’s bankruptcy is unrelated to the FDIC judgment.

“George has a rare genetic disease,” she said. “It has caused him to not be able to work as much as he could. It has caused him some very heavy medical bills. He is now living with my husband and myself.

“He would have had to (file bankruptcy) anyway.”

In his bankruptcy, George Tarkanian listed about $22,000 in debt outside of the $17 million judgement.

Danny Tarkanian, his brother and parents have been court ordered to pay the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. $17 million as a result of a failed venture to develop an “equestrian destination resort” in Southern California five years ago.

Throughout his congressional campaign, Tarkanian has steadfastly denied the judgment will force him into bankruptcy before the Nov. 6 election, saying he is pursuing settlement options and legal appeals.

But the FDIC has moved to begin seizing the Tarkanian family’s Nevada assets, a move that Danny Tarkanian is fighting.

The FDIC, however, only learned of George Tarkanian’s bankruptcy on Friday and halted its effort to seize George Tarkanian’s assets. In a court document filed Friday, the FDIC made clear that George Tarkanian’s bankruptcy does not prevent the federal agency from pursuing assets from the rest of the family.

“The bankruptcy case results in an immediate, automatic stay of all proceedings affecting the debtor, but not to any other defendant,” lawyer for the FDIC wrote.

Danny Tarkanian has not mentioned his brother’s bankruptcy on the campaign trail. But in an interview with the Sun last week, he acknowledged the $17 million judgment could result in significant financial hardship for his family. He drew a distinction between himself and his family members.

“If a bond is required it could force some members (of my family) to file bankruptcy,” Tarkanian told Sun reporter Karoun Demirjian. “But some members are not all members and they are different than me personally.”

Lois Tarkanian said she and her husband, UNLV coaching legend Jerry Tarkanian, are working to avoid bankruptcy as well.

“Well, I hope not,” Lois Tarkanian said when asked if she would have to file bankruptcy. “I don’t think so. We’re trying not to.

“Anything that we truly owe, I certainly feel we should pay. But they want us to pay millions. That’s stratospheric. Who has that kind of money? We don’t owe what they are saying.”

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