Las Vegas Sun

July 18, 2019

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Redemption and a governor in need of help

Catching up on some happenings during a busy week:

• How much is damaging a reputation worth? One local doctor might say the answer is at least $542,494.68. That’s how much Dr. R.D. Prabhu was awarded this week in attorneys’ fees and expenses from the federal government, which spent years investigating him and once charged him with nearly $150,000 in overbilling.

Yes, you read that number correctly. This is one of the larger embarrassments for the U.S. attorney’s office in Nevada in its history.

Prabhu pursued the money from the government after Judge Clive Jones wouldn’t even let the government’s fraud case go to a jury two years ago and granted Prabhu’s application for a summary judgment, filed by his well-respected attorney, Stan Hunterton. Jones derided the government’s case, at one point saying the feds were “not even close.”

Using what is known as the Equal Access to Justice Act, Prabhu petitioned to have his attorneys’ fees reimbursed if there was no “reasonable justification” for the prosecution. And this week, he won.

After a decade and a half of being investigated by the government and suffering through threats of criminal and civil prosecution, the good doctor got a half-million-dollar payout. It may not take the sting out of the damage done to his reputation, but it must salve it a little.

• Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition: In this case, the ammunition is money and those praising the Lord are members of the West Las Vegas Ministers Alliance. The group is throwing a legal defense fundraiser next month for ... no, not Gov. Jim Gibbons, folks. For ex-Clark County Commissioner Lynette Boggs, at the Holy Trinity A.M.E. Church.

Boggs had been charged with four felonies relating to her campaign reports and residency the campaign-reporting violations already have been erased by Judge Don Mosley and her attorney, Gabe Grasso, plans to try to get the other two dismissed, too.

The pastors apparently are going all out for Boggs, who spends very little time in Las Vegas, from what I understand, and has been appearing on a religious broadcast called “Restore TV” for months.

The pastors are urging their congregations to support Boggs and have purchased spots on KCEP 88.1-FM to back the former commissioner and Las Vegas councilwoman. And if the case does go to trial, I’d expect to see the pastors pack the courtroom.

• Acting dumb instead of playing dumb: Can anyone out there remember anything more lunkheaded than a top staffer to an elected official going on the record with a newspaper about an elected official’s marital problems?

With the mainstream media doing the right thing and not publishing anything about rumors, Gov. Jim Gibbons’ chief operating officer, Dianne Cornwall, decided to go on the record with the Reno Gazette-Journal on Thursday.

Cornwall openly told the newspaper about the governor and first lady having a family meeting with their son to discuss the marriage’s future. What possible reasons could she have had for doing this?

Possibility No. 1: The governor authorized her to speak after all, he made her COO as a sign of confidence in her managerial skills. I think we can safely cross off this possibility.

Possibility No. 2: Cornwall thought it would be a good idea to blunt the story by giving out some information that is intensely private or was intensely private. I don’t think this is the answer, either, folks.

Possibility No. 3: She is completely unfit for any position of authority, especially one requiring some perspicacity and grace. Considering that some think she puts the Lack in the Gibbons Lack of Administration, this just might be the answer.

Perhaps Cornwall and Clark County Democratic Party Chairman John Hunt need to read the same manual about what to do when you oversee a disaster. That manual is called: The Honorable Thing.

Anyone want to take bets on who goes first?

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