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September 16, 2014

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Vermillion’s attorney, PR man clearly threatened Sisolak’s career during sitdown

During a meeting last weekend between representatives of Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak and ex-Henderson Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion, there were several clear threats to his career, a public relations man boasted of taking out Rory Reid as an example of what he could do and the $3.9 million payoff figure came from – wait for it – tripling what Sisolak has raised for his re-election campaign.

All of that comes from sources who have heard a recording of the meeting, during which Mark Fierro, a PR man hired by her lawyer, drops F-bomb after F-bomb as he talks disparagingly about Vermillion, claims he cost Reid the governorship and took the lead in what was billed as a settlement conference.

It’s no wonder Sisolak referred several times to it being a shakedown, especially after Fierro and the attorney, Robert Martin, showed the video of Vermillion's daughter, acknowledged no criminal activity had taken place and threatened to call a news conference (as they eventually did) simply to hurt his political career.

During the meeting, which did not take place at a lawyer's office (as a settlement conference normally would) but at Fierro's office, Fierro repeatedly boasted of his prowess in campaigns, saying he would likely be solicited to run a race against Sisolak this year but could be taken out of it if Sisolak agreed to pay off Vermillion. He told Sisolak what was on the tape could end his career, just as Fierro had told Reid (he said) that he would end his political life if he didn't settle with the firefighters.

Note of sanity here: Fierro, despite his bloviating, had nothing to do with Reid losing the governor's race, nor did the issue of the firefighters and their county contract play any significant role. But Fierro used it as an example of what he could do to Sisolak if a deal were not made, sources confirmed.

Intermittently during the meeting, Fierro referred to Vermillion (his client!) as crazy and out of control and liable to do anything, and he told Sisolak how bad he would look if they released the video, with Martin saying the commissioner would look like the proverbial dirty old man.

I’m told Sisolak was incredulous when Martin presented the $3.9 million figure, which he said they arrived at by tripling his campaign war chest. (If this makes any sense to anyone, please check yourself into a treatment facility.)

I’m told that Stan Hunterton, Sisolak’s lawyer, raised the analogy of Trevon Cole, whose family recently received a settlement of only $1.7 million after he was killed by Metro Police. But Martin dismissed the analogy, saying Cole (who is dead!) is a nobody but Sisolak is a well-known public figure. Nevertheless, it was clear Hunterton thought Sisolak should not pay.

If this were a settlement conference -- even Martin acknowledges during the conversation that he has never been at a meeting like this one -- it’s unlike any I have ever heard of. It’s no wonder Sisolak considered this a shakedown, and it’s no wonder Metro is investigating it as a potential extortion plot.

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