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Indictments in Strip Club Scandal

Charges against past and present officials include racketeering, wire fraud, extortion.

November 07, 2003|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — A federal grand jury indicted three current and former Clark County officials Thursday on charges they received kickbacks from a strip club owner.

County Commission Chairwoman Mary Kincaid-Chauncey and former commissioners Dario Herrera and Lance Malone were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The 28-count indictment also charged Kincaid-Chauncey and Herrera with extortion and Malone with federal racketeering.

"You have individuals who are attempting to trade votes for money, and that's something we can't tolerate in our community," U.S. Atty. Daniel Bogden said at a news conference Thursday.

At the center of the more than two-year public corruption investigation in Las Vegas and San Diego were strip club owner Michael Galardi and Malone, his lobbyist.

Federal prosecutors said the group tried to "conceal payments they received" and used their "public office to further Michael Galardi's interests."

Lawyers for Kincaid-Chauncey and Malone weren't immediately available for comment. Herrera's lawyer, David Brown, called the charges as "outrageous as they are untrue."

Thursday's indictment was the result of a sweeping federal investigation involving politicians in Las Vegas and San Diego. The probe became public in May after FBI agents raided Galardi's strip clubs and the City Hall offices of three San Diego city councilmen.

Galardi, 41, pleaded guilty to wire fraud after a San Diego grand jury indicted him in August. The same grand jury also indicted the three San Diego councilmen and Malone.

All four have pleaded not guilty in the case. They are accused of trying to repeal San Diego's "no-touch" provision in adult entertainment.

A federal magistrate on Thursday issued summons for Kincaid-Chauncey, 65, Herrera, 30, and Malone, 41. They were ordered to appear Nov. 21 for arraignment in federal court.

All have previously denied any wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors also revealed Thursday that former Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny has pleaded guilty to charges related to the corruption probe. Kenny, 42, entered her plea July 24 to three charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Prosecutors said she admitted conspiring with Galardi and Malone to influence the commission in matters concerning Galardi's strip clubs. She has agreed to forfeit $70,258 and could face a maximum of 45 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

Prosecutors also said Galardi pleaded guilty in Las Vegas on Oct. 24 to violating federal racketeering laws.

As part of his plea agreement, Galardi has agreed to forfeit $3.8 million and pay $400,000 in restitution to Clark County and Las Vegas. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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