Thursday, March 18, 2010 | 5 p.m.
Another day, another attack from Harry Reid's re-election campaign.
Over the last month, campaign researchers have made hay out of Republican Sue Lowden's business resume and her political career, highlighting a bonus her husband received as their casino company laid off workers and a ream of workplace safety violations at their various hotel properties over the years.
The attacks make clear that Reid and his advisers see Lowden as the presumptive Republican nominee and are working to soften her up as she navigates a crowded primary. Advisers have promised to "vaporize" Reid's eventual opponent.
This time, the mud-slinging centers on the Lowdens' Summerlin estate.
According to Clark County Recorder and court records, contractors filed five liens and two lawsuits against the Lowdens to recover more than $1.5 million in unpaid construction costs.
The cases date back to the mid-1990s, when the Lowdens contracted to build a $4 million home in the Tournament Hills area of Summerlin. Martin Harris Construction, the general contractor, filed a lien against the property for $1.5 million. Four subcontractors followed suit, filing liens seeking payment for electrical, tile and air conditioning work, in addition to pool and spa installation.
Two of those subcontractors, Arco Electric and Carrara Marble, filed lawsuits against the Lowdens, seeking to foreclose on the liens to recover unpaid construction bills totaling $144,274.
The suits were dismissed and the liens were released in 1998 after the Lowdens paid the general contractor.
Reid's campaign used the legal disputes to further the argument that Lowden has profited at the expense of Nevada workers.
“Once again, Sue Lowden proves that the livelihoods of Nevadans come a distant second to making an extra buck at their expense,” said spokesman Zac Petkanas. “If it takes a lawsuit to get her to pay for the installation of her estate’s water fountain and indoor spa, what would it take to get her to do what’s right for our struggling economy?"
Robert Uithoven, Lowden's campaign manager, said the attack was all smoke and no fire. He said the Lowdens paid all bills once the work was completed to their satisfaction.
"All issues were ultimately resolved, all bills were paid and there were never any judgments against the Lowdens," Uithoven said. "Once the construction and all of the work was completed to their satisfaction, any disputes were resolved and the liens were released."
As for the subject of the attack, Uithoven said the campaign was eager to respond in kind by researching Reid's real estate history, including his "Ritz-Carlton home in Washington, D.C."
"Nevadans are clearly starting to see what Harry Reid means when he says he'll vaporize his opponent," he said.