Published Friday, Feb. 20, 2009 | 2:26 p.m.
Updated Friday, Feb. 20, 2009 | 2:55 p.m.
CARSON CITY – A former Clark County Commissioner convicted of accepting more than $17,000 in bribes to help an owner of a strip club get a license has lost her appeal to a federal court.
Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, who once served as chairwoman of the county commission, was convicted of 13 counts of extortion and wire fraud in May 2006 and was sentenced to 30 months in prison to be followed by two years of parole. She also was fined $7,600 and ordered to forfeit $19,000 in goods.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected claims by Kincaid-Chauncey that federal District Judge Larry Hicks improperly excluded seven potential defense witnesses and gave improper instructions to the jury on fraud and extortion.
Michael Galardi and his step-father owned a strip club named Cheetahs in Las Vegas and they wanted to expand adult entertainment to the Las Vegas Strip, over which the county commission has jurisdiction.
Galardi wanted ordinances to permit his females to dance nude and to allow the dancers to serve alcohol. And he wanted to block any proposed ordinance that would have prohibited the women from performing lap dances on the customers.
Kincaid-Chauncey was a county commissioner from 1997 to 2004 and prior to that was on the North Las Vegas City Council, and she denied she received any payoffs from Galardi or through his employee Lance Malone, a former county commissioner.
In August 2001, Kincaid-Chauncey received $3,800 from Malone and she voted to approve a limited liquor license for the new Jaguars strip club. Malone delivered another $5,000 payment in October 2001 and Kincaid-Chauncey voted to approve liquor licenses for Galardi’s strip clubs without disclosing her conflict of interest.
Kincaid-Chauncey maintained at trial the $5,000 was a campaign contribution.
Malone reported handing her $5,000 in March and April 2002 and she again voted in favor of the strip clubs without disclosing a conflict of interest. And she got $5,000 in June 2002.
Kincaid-Chauncey, now 70, voted in favor of an ordinance that limited the touching between nude dancers and their customers, even though Galardi opposed it. Later she asked that the ordinance be considered, saying she thought the city was going to adopt a similar ordinance and she wanted a uniform enforcement in Southern Nevada. The city did not approve any ordinance that dealt with the topic.
The FBI, in the investigation named "Operation G-Sting" wiretapped the telephone calls between Kincaid-Chauncey and Galardi and Malone.
Fellow county commissioner Dario Herrera was tried with Kincaid-Chauncey in 2006 and was convicted of 17 counts of corruption. He was ordered to prison for 50 months, fined $50,000 and ordered to forfeit $60,000.
Kincaid-Chauncey was sentenced to a federal prison near Victorville, Calif., and Herrera went to one in Florida.
Galardi and former County Commissioner Erin Kenny cooperated with the investigation and pled guilty to various charges.
The court’s decision was written by Judge Jay S. Bybee and Judge Marsha Berzon wrote a concurring opinion.
Cy Ryan may be reached at (775) 687 5032 or [email protected].