Las Vegas Sun

August 19, 2019

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Editorial: Why withhold documents?

Bob Gilbert sold his construction business in 1997 and went to work for the Community College of Southern Nevada, where his company had completed more than 250 jobs. In 2000 the college promoted him to director of construction, a position he still holds .

Normally the position of college construction boss does not garner much of a public profile. But today Gilbert finds himself the subject of allegations regarding college equipment and his personal dealings with college subcontractors.

The allegations, by many former and current campus employees, were disclosed this week by Las Vegas Sun reporter Christina Littlefield. She began requesting documents and interviews from the college three months ago to determine whether the allegations had merit.

Since that time, the story has become as much about the college's unwillingness to cooperate as about the allegations against Gilbert.

Six years ago Gilbert began developing 4 acres he owns off Kyle Canyon Road in northwest Las Vegas. Littlefield's multiple sources allege that Gilbert used college materials, equipment and employees in building a home and guest home on the property.

There are also allegations that Gilbert directed college contracts to certain subcontractors in exchange for their free or reduced-cost work on his estate.

CCSN President Richard Carpenter has acknowledged that he is looking into whether Gilbert has engaged in wrongdoing. And college employees interviewed by Littlefield say they have been questioned about Gilbert's activities by investigators from the attorney general's office.

Gilbert denied the allegations, saying they were being made by disgruntled employees. Through his attorney, he refused a Sun request to examine the serial numbers of equipment on his property. And he refused to say how much he has paid the subcontractors for their work on his property.

College administrators have likewise been unresponsive to many of the Sun's formally submitted questions, as well as a request to interview Gilbert's immediate supervisor. And many documents requested by the Sun from the college three months ago, under the state's public information law, have not been supplied.

Carpenter should stop tolerating such obfuscation on what clearly are serious allegations. He should get to the bottom of the allegations against Gilbert and he should order his staff to stop stonewalling on legitimate requests made under the state's public records law.


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