Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2014

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Herrera will serve out sentence in Las Vegas

Former commissioner who took bribes likely to spend six months in halfway house

Former Clark County Commissioner Dario Herrera is getting out of prison and coming back to the Las Vegas Valley.

Herrera is expected to return Thursday to serve out the remaining six months of his sentence at the valley’s only federal halfway house, the Las Vegas Community Corrections Center.

John Casale, the facility’s director, says he will personally supervise the high-profile resident upon his arrival.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons is expected to bus Herrera to Las Vegas from a prison camp near Colorado Springs, Colo., where he has been serving a 50-month sentence. His final release date is Dec. 14.

Herrera, once a rising star in the Democratic Party, was convicted in May 2006 of taking bribes from former strip club owner Michael Galardi.

One of the government’s chief witnesses against Herrera, former County Commissioner Erin Kenny, should be the next high-profile resident at the halfway house, which sits in the shadow of the Strip.

Casale says he’s expecting Kenny’s arrival within a month. She has been serving a 30-month sentence at a federal prison camp in Phoenix. Her final release date is Dec. 18. She began serving her sentence later than Herrera.

The Bureau of Prisons doesn’t have a problem allowing both Herrera and Kenny at the federal facility, Casale says.

Eventually, if they have jobs outside the facility and abide by the center’s rules, both will be eligible for home detainment, Casale says.

Herrera’s co-defendant, former County Commissioner Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, this year spent time at the halfway house as her 30-month sentence wound down.

•••

Private security officers had to be called outside to help control the unusually long and winding line of people waiting to get into the south entrance of the Regional Justice Center on Monday morning.

The wait to get inside the building to the metal detectors was about half an hour. The main north entrance on Lewis Avenue has been closed the past couple of weeks because courthouse officials are installing a third metal detector there.

Construction is expected to be completed by Monday, and once the main entrance is back up and running, the plan is to close the south entrance to everyone but courthouse employees.

Officials could find no other reason for Monday’s long line, other than it was simply a busy morning at the courthouse.

One private guard wasn’t very sympathetic to those waiting in line. When a man standing in the latter half of the line complained that he was going to be late for a court proceeding, the guard replied, “Well, you should have gotten here earlier.”

•••

The Nevada Contractors Board finds itself on the wrong end of a lawsuit in District Court.

A Las Vegas couple are suing the board, investigator Ken Peppley and his supervisor, Dan Hammack, over the husband’s false arrest in January 2008.

On Jan. 2, 2008, Steven Andersen, 64, was driving his wife, Mary, to the Regional Justice Center, where she works in the district attorney’s bad-check unit. Their car was pulled over by Metro Police in a routine traffic stop, according to the suit.

Officers noticed that there was a warrant for Steven Andersen’s arrest on charges of embezzlement and operating as a contractor without a license. Andersen was promptly taken into custody by the officers despite his insistence that he had not committed any such crimes.

As it turns out, Andersen was right, according to his lawyer, Cal Potter.

The Contractors Board wasn’t after Steven Andersen, but rather Steven Anderson, who records show is 60 years old. Potter alleges Peppley did a sloppy job of investigating and supplied the wrong information for the arrest warrant, resulting in his client’s unlawful detainment by police and all the stress that came with it.

A spokesman for the board declined to comment on the suit.

Jeff German is the Sun’s senior investigative reporter.

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