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July 25, 2014

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Building chief returns to CSN post under a cloud

Bob Gilbert could face charges in alleged misuse of college resources

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Steve Marcus

Bob Gilbert, CSN’s construction chief, says investigators never gave him a chance to tell them his side of the story.

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CSN employees have questioned whether this salvage area on Bob Gilbert's property off Kyle Canyon Road contains college materials.

The College of Southern Nevada’s construction chief remains under scrutiny by the state attorney general’s office but is back on the job after a year of administrative leave.

Sixteen months ago, the Sun broke the story that CSN employees had alleged Bob Gilbert directed college projects to certain subcontractors and, in exchange, they worked at a discount on Gilbert’s home off Kyle Canyon Road. The employees also said Gilbert had used CSN materials, equipment and employees to help develop his 4-acre ranch-style estate.

State investigators searched Gilbert’s college offices and ranch in June 2007. Chief Deputy Attorney General Conrad Hafen, who is reviewing the case, said Monday he could decide within a couple of weeks whether to file criminal charges against Gilbert that could include possession of stolen property and embezzlement.

Gilbert, the college’s associate vice president of facilities management, said Monday that investigators have yet to give him a chance to tell them his side of the story.

“I have never spoken to anyone in authority on any of the allegations,” he said. “I’ve never been interviewed by the attorney general’s office, by the investigators. I think it’s very odd.”

Hafen, however, said investigators from the attorney general’s office interviewed Gilbert on two occasions when they visited his Kyle Canyon home.

Gilbert said they asked him for access to his property and told him, “You have an attorney. We can’t talk to you.”

Gilbert went on leave last year after allegations against him were made public. Former CSN President Richard Carpenter, who placed Gilbert on leave at Gilbert’s request, could not be reached Monday at his new job in Texas.

Last summer, CSN President Michael Richards, then the college’s interim president, told the Sun Gilbert had requested leave to recuperate from shoulder surgery.

But Gilbert said Monday he had requested leave because he wanted time to gather evidence to prove his innocence.

“There were a lot of accusations that were out there — some of them were bizarre — and it takes an enormous amount of time to sit there and document each and every accusation and to be able to prove your innocence,” he said.

Like other state workers, Gilbert received a cost-of-living raise July 1. That made his annual salary $147,204. During his year on leave, from July 1, 2007, to June 30, he was paid $141,542.

Gilbert said it was appropriate for CSN to pay him while he was on leave because the college “was culpable for the accusations,” in part because the school’s employees were the ones leveling accusations against him. He added that the college did not release documents to the press that he thought could have helped prove his innocence.

Gilbert also said that though he was technically on leave for a year, he was working much of that time.

He said he began performing duties again for CSN after about three months on leave, attending meetings and assisting with projects such as the completion of a new classroom and library building complex on the school’s West Charleston Campus.

He is still working on that project, and is helping to plan a new CSN campus. He also participates in master planning.

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