Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2019

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McDonald under investigation

Michael McDonald, a Las Vegas City councilman and a Metro Police bicycle patrol officer, is under investigation by Metro's Internal Affairs Bureau based upon an anonymous letter accusing him of unprofessional behavior.

The unsigned letter addressed to Sheriff Jerry Keller was sent to the news media and the City Council about three weeks ago.

The investigation comes on the heels of McDonald's call for an audit of Metro's fiscal 1999 budget.

Undersheriff Richard Winget said today that the audit request by McDonald and the McDonald investigation "are a coincidence."

"I can't see it as anything but a coincidence, since the letter was written by we don't know who," Winget said. "We don't choose the timing of that information. Our policy manual says we will receive complaints in any form from any person, and it can be in person, telephone or an anonymous letter."

Last month, McDonald, 33, who took office in 1995, and other council members questioned Keller about an increase in the city's share of Metro's budget from the last fiscal year. As a result, the council is seeking an independent company to audit Metro's budget. Keller has said publicly that he welcomes an audit.

Metro asked the city for $70 million -- an 8 percent increase from last year's request. A week ago, the council approved it's portion. Clark County earlier approved its portion of $93 million, an 8 percent increase for the county.

McDonald, a nine-year veteran on the force, was interviewed by Internal Affairs Lt. Larry Spinoza on Thursday, four days after the City Council approved Metro's budget.

The anonymous letter, obtained by the Sun, accuses McDonald of having a friendship with Rick Rizzolo, owner of the Crazy Horse Too on Industrial Road. The southeast area McDonald patrols as a bicycle officer does not include the topless bar, Winget said.

The letter specifically mentions Little Darlings and Club Exotica, both nude nightclubs within the city limits. The clubs have been cited by the city for serving liquor without a license.

The anonymous letter says that McDonald is allowed "to use his position as a police officer" in connection with Rizzolo.

"For obvious favors received from Rizzolo, McDonald has his fellow officers target Little Darlings, Club Exotica," the letter says. "McDonald is always at the Crazy Horse on Industrial Road with Rizzolo. He is able to entertain his fellow officers who target the other strip joints."

But on Thursday, after Metro's intelligence and internal affairs bureaus investigated, "allegations of inappropriate associations" were not sustained, Winget said, adding, "There was no evidence to support that."

However, "the other accusation about not performing to the level that he's supposed to be performing while on duty" was referred by IAB to McDonald's captain, Winget said.

"That's left to the captain to do the investigation," Winget said. "The complaint was that he doesn't show up for work. When he does, he doesn't work, and he puts his responsibilities off on other officers.

"We are checking statistics and checking work performance to see if he is doing what he should be doing as a police officer with our department. The complaint was part of the anonymous letter."

McDonald, who has led the crusade as a city councilman to clean up adult-oriented businesses within the city, said he couldn't talk about the investigation.

"It's an ongoing investigation, and I can't comment about it, only that I'm shaking my head in disbelief," he said Monday.