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Ward 6 challenger charges Steve Ross put out ‘deceptive statement,’ Ross fires back

Byron Goynes also says he has never met Joe Scala, who led the ‘Toss Ross’ recall effort

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 | 2:52 p.m.

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Byron Goynes

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Steve Ross

The temperature continued to heat up this afternoon in the Las Vegas City Council Ward 6 recall election featuring incumbent Steve Ross and city planning commissioner Byron Goynes.

Goynes, who is challenging Ross in next Tuesday's race, said earlier today that Ross sent "false and misleading" information to the media Tuesday about Goynes' financial disclosure statement. Meanwhile, Ross' campaign spokesman said this afternoon that the information put out by Ross was factually correct.

And the Ross campaign is also going after a public relations adviser involved in the recall effort, saying he is being investigated by Metro Police for his involved in the legal dispute between Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak and former Henderson City Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion.

The intensity of the campaign began to rise Tuesday, when Ross sent an email to local news agencies, saying that Goynes, who had been a city planning commissioner for 16 years, hadn't filed a financial disclosure statement with the state since 2005.

Goynes responded today, saying he's in complete compliance — he no longer needs to file it with the state and has filed those documents with the Las Vegas city clerk's office.

"My disclosure was filed. It was late and a $25.00 personal fee was charged," Goynes said in an email.

Steve Forsythe, Goynes' campaign manager, said the Ward 6 candidate is "all up to speed" on his campaign filings with the state, including his contributions and expenses report.

Beverly Bridges, Las Vegas' city clerk, said the Legislature changed the financial filings requirement in 2003. She said Goynes is in compliance as a planning commissioner.

In a statement released this morning, Goynes called Ross' allegations Tuesday a "deceptive campaign attack."

"This is further proof that Steve Ross will stop at nothing to try and save his job that is in jeopardy," Goynes said in the statement. "He has told half-truths in all of his mailers, everything from opening up dozens of new businesses to falsely accepting the credit for a new park in the Providence community that was paid for by the Providence community, not the City of Las Vegas. Ross is misleading the voters in Ward 6 on almost every front."

This afternoon, Steve Redlinger, Ross' campaign spokesman, said Ross made the statement that Goynes missed the deadline to file his candidate personal financial disclosure and "that was proven true and he was fined."

Redlinger also said that Ross had claimed Goynes hadn't filed a personal financial disclosure since 2005 and "that was proven to be true."

Goynes also said in his statement today that Ross "blatantly lies about me ... He’s lied about relationships that don’t exist, he’s lied about my campaign and now he’s lying about my record on the Planning Commission."

Redlinger also said Ross claims "Byron has served as a lobbyist for big developers that appear before the City ... he doesn't dispute that fact."

Goynes and Ross will square off in the special recall race beginning with early voting on Thursday and Friday, followed by the recall election on Tuesday.

Ross was last elected in 2009, and Goynes, 51, a longtime member of the Las Vegas Planning Commission, ran for the Ward 6 seat in 2005.

Ross won his second four-year term to represent Ward 6 in 2009 with 54.8 percent of the vote against his challenger, attorney Jennifer Taylor.

To force the recall, the Committee to Recall Steve Ross submitted 1,189 signatures on Dec. 19 to the Nevada secretary of state's office. The recall needed 1,084 signatures to qualify.

The "Toss Ross" recall has been pushed by Joe Scala, a car dealer who was denied a waiver to continue operating a dealership in Centennial Hills, which is in Ross’ ward.

Although Ross is calling Goynes "car dealer Joe Scala's candidate," Goynes said a number of homeowners associations in Ward 6 contacted him and he met with their leadership to get into the race.

Forsythe said Goynes has never met Scala.

"He's never met the man and never contributed to the campaign. There are no fingers in the pie from Joe Scala in this campaign. Absolutely no influence at all," Forsythe said.

Goynes submitted 1,661 signatures of registered Ward 6 voters to get on the ballot.

In his statement today, Goyens said Ross "simply is incapable of telling the truth about his own record so he has to try to divert the attention to me by lying."

To add further heat to the recall election, Ross' campaign put out a statement this afternoon that the recall effort's chief strategist is Mark Fierro, a public relations adviser who is embroiled in the middle of the he-said, she-said dispute between Sisolak and Vermillion.

Sisolak alleged that Vermillion was trying to shake him down for $3.9 million to avoid a lengthy court battle. Vermillion had filed suit against him and Clark County last week alleging defamation and invasion of privacy. The suit says Sisolak and county staff shared the results of drug tests done on Vermillion.

On Sunday, Sisolak and his attorney met with Vermillion’s attorney Rob Martin and Fierro who asked for $3.9 million to settle the lawsuit. Sisolak responded by filing charges of criminal extortion against Vermillion, Martin and Fierro. Metro Police are investigating the matter.

Ross' campaign statement from this afternoon also says "in a separate investigation, the Nevada Attorney General and Secretary of State are prosecuting used car dealer Joe Scala for violating Nevada Law, in an attempt to smear Councilman Ross. Fierro created the ads at the center of this investigation."

The Ross campaign also said that the latest Contribution and Expense Reports filed with the Secretary of State indicate Scala and Fierro are the biggest contributors to the Ross recall effort, showing Fierro has contributed nearly $4,000 while Scala's contribution was $120,000.

In today's statement, Ross called the recall effort "one of the dirtiest, non-transparent, and dishonest efforts I have ever seen. This recall is Joe Scala's personal vendetta, and he's using Mark Fierro, who stands accused in multiple instances of extortion, as his chief strategist. This is just sick."

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