Las Vegas Sun

January 17, 2018

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Las Vegas HOA alleges fraud in fighting law firm’s fees

A Las Vegas homeowners association says it was defrauded by the late construction defect attorney Nancy Quon’s law firm and should not have to pay fees to what’s left of the firm.

Quon was found dead in March.

She was believed to be a target of a federal probe into corruption among certain HOA boards, community management companies and a construction company and its owner. So far, 25 people have been charged in the criminal probe dating to 2008 or earlier, which is expected to yield more guilty pleas and indictments this summer.

Quon’s Las Vegas firm — Quon Bruce Christensen Law Firm (QBC) — was taken over by a court-appointed receiver after it was sued over unpaid loans that financed its lawsuits.

After the criminal probe became public in 2008, QBC lost much of its business and couldn’t pay lenders.

The receiver, Las Vegas attorney James Adams, on March 14 sued one of the HOAs Quon had worked for, demanding it pay an unspecified amount of a construction defect lawsuit settlement to the receiver.

The settlement was reached by other law firms after Quon’s firm was fired by the HOA, which represents owners of the 564-unit Chateau Nouveau condominium development at 9975 and 10001 Peace Way, near Tropicana Avenue and the Las Vegas Beltway.

Attorneys for the HOA who took over the HOA’s construction defect case after Quon’s dismissal, including longtime construction defect attorney Scott Canepa, are now fighting Adams’ demand that the HOA pay funds to Adams as the receiver for lenders.

In responding to the lawsuit, Canepa’s firm noted plea agreements in the federal criminal probe detail how the Chateau Nouveau HOA was victimized by participants in the HOA corruption scam that operated in the Las Vegas Valley in the 2000s.

They noted the late attorney David Amesbury and property managers Mary Ann Watts, Deborah Genato and Denise Keser had admitted in their plea agreements to schemes involving Chateau Nouveau and other communities involving rigged HOA board elections and takeovers of their HOA boards.

Prosecutors say the scheme was hatched so lucrative construction defect lawsuit and repair work could be awarded to co-conspirators of those who have pleaded guilty — believed in the government’s view to be Quon, businessman Leon Benzer and his company Silver Lining Construction.

“The criminal conspiracy in which QBC was involved, and that is the subject of multiple federal criminal prosecutions and convictions, is so outrageous that it clearly rises to, and indeed far surpasses, the level of fraud or unfairness requiring forfeiture of any and all fees paid or payable to the defrauding attorney,” Canepa and other attorneys for the HOA wrote in an April 25 response to the receiver’s lawsuit.

The HOA attorneys added in their filing that if the receiver for Quon’s firm gets paid from the construction defect suit, that money should come from the funds due the law firms that took over the suit and not from the HOA.

Prior to her death, Quon denied wrongdoing and an attorney for Benzer has also denied he was involved in wrongdoing.

It’s unknown when or how the fee dispute between Chateau Nouveau and Adams as the receiver for Quon’s law firm will be resolved.

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