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Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008 | 2 a.m.
Former Clark County Commissioner Lynette Boggs claimed in her recently filed campaign reports that she paid attorney Bill Terry $10,000, but Terry’s statements during a court hearing appear to contradict the filing.
Boggs did not hold office in 2007, but that didn’t stop her from raising and spending campaign money.
Her campaign finance report filed earlier this month reveals that she raised $10,000 in January last year, more than 2 1/2 months after she lost her reelection bid in November 2006.
That money came from five companies controlled by developer John Ritter, CEO of Focus Property Group.
Boggs’ report says that in May she paid $10,000 to Terry, whom she retained to fight four felony counts stemming from accusations that she lived outside her commission district and used campaign cash to pay her children’s nanny.
It wasn’t the first time she dipped into her campaign account to pay Terry, a legal step but one that sometimes exposes public officials to contentions that they are using political dollars for personal reasons. She also listed a payment to Terry on Dec. 29, 2006.
Terry’s statements in court, however, seem to contradict Boggs’ campaign finance reports.
He appeared before Hearing Master Kevin Williams in September and told the court he would no longer be representing Boggs.
“I’ve received no compensation for any work that I’ve done on this,” he said.
That statement raises questions about the $15,940 that Boggs’ campaign finance reports indicate she paid Terry.
Boggs did not return messages from the Sun on Tuesday. Terry’s secretary said he would not comment for this story.
Gabriel Grasso, who is now representing Boggs in the criminal case, said he thought the payments to Terry that she listed on her campaign finance reports stemmed from other work Terry had done for her.
Grasso said he got that impression not from Boggs, but from casual conversations with Terry in unrelated cases and from “knowing the general facts” of Boggs’ criminal case.
Terry did represent Boggs in an ethics case that was dismissed in January 2006, but that was nearly a year before the $5,940 payment to Terry that Boggs listed in her report. The more recent $10,000 payment that she listed came the week after state investigators recommended in May 2007 that District Attorney David Roger file the criminal charges against Boggs.
As for the campaign contributions, Mark Fiorentino, senior vice president of government affairs for Focus Property Group, said he thought Boggs’ campaign called the company and asked for them.
But Ryan Erwin, Boggs’ former campaign manager, said his office didn’t make the request. It did, however, receive the checks from Focus subsidiaries and deposit them in Boggs’ campaign account on her behalf because she was out of town, Erwin said.
He said he doesn’t know what happened to the money after that. His firm hasn’t worked for Boggs since November 2006, he said.
Fiorentino said it’s not unusual for candidates to ask for campaign contributions after an election because they often need help retiring campaign debts. He said he didn’t know, until informed by the Sun on Tuesday, that Boggs had stated that she used the money for legal expenses.
“I didn’t know what she was using the money for and I didn’t ask,” he said.
Focus-related companies have contributed to Boggs’ campaign in the past. The company’s 14,500-home master-planned community, Mountain’s Edge, was in Boggs’ commission district.
Questions surrounding Boggs’ campaign accounts have arisen before. In addition to the ongoing felony case, the Sun reported in June that state and federal investigators had questions about a check that Boggs received from Dr. Raj Chanderraj, a prominent local cardiologist.
In that case, Boggs deposited a $5,000 check from Chanderraj in her personal bank account two days after she voted to award a $5 million-a-year University Medical Center contract to Chanderraj’s physician group. The check initially didn’t show up in Boggs’ campaign finance report. She later amended the report to include the $5,000 contribution from Chanderraj.
At that time, sources told the Sun the FBI also was investigating a 2005 Arizona land deal involving Boggs. The Sun reported in September 2006 that Boggs had failed to disclose that a developer she helped with a county zoning issue gave her a favorable deal on the sale of nearly five acres in White Hills, Ariz. In that deal, Boggs received a $25,000 credit and a $100,000 interest-only loan from the developer.
Boggs’ most immediate problem, however, is the felony case pending against her in District Court. She faces two counts of perjury and two counts of filing false documents. A hearing is scheduled before District Judge Donald Mosley on Feb. 7, Grasso said. When Terry stopped representing her, she asked the court to appoint a public defender, but Hearing Master Kevin Williams rejected that request after looking over Boggs’ finances.