Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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State pays $25 million for about 7 acres in Las Vegas as part of Project Neon highway project

CARSON CITY — The state Board of Examiners has agreed to pay a $25 million settlement to a group of Las Vegas developers for 7.04 acres along Interstate 15 in the vicinity of Charleston Boulevard.

The state Transportation Department negotiated the settlement with a group called Wall Street Nevada LLC that had filed two inverse condemnation suits.

“There was a risk of $100 million exposure” if the case went to trial, said Mike Chapman, a private attorney representing the transportation department. And Wall Street Nevada wanted $30 million.

“This was the best settlement we could negotiate,” Chapman told the examiners board

State Transportation Director Susan Martinovich said this property is part of the $1 billion Project Neon. She said the department will improve the design of the Charleston Interchange at I-15 which is a “huge choke point.” The department said the plans call for it to be a full interchange so north and southbound traffic can get on and off.

And improvements are scheduled for I-15. But not all the work will be done at once.

The developers paid $21.4 million for the property in 2006 and started to make improvements, such as demolishing a building and vacating a street, Chapman said.

The owners claimed they were deprived of the use of their property and there was “some exposure” to the state, Chapman said. The state is asking the federal government to use part of its traditional highway construction funds from the federal government to pay for the settlement. And the city of Las Vegas will be asked to participate, Chapman said.

In other action, the board agreed to an $8.1 million refund to mining companies that made payment and interest in advance. There were 334 claims. And the mining companies have a year in which to ask for the refund.

The board approved a $347,429 contract to hire Compsych Corp. of California to counsel and help state workers to improve their professional and personal lives. The aim is to reduce significant losses in state employee work time, productivity and effectiveness.

So far, 976 employees have taken advantage of the counseling. The employee gets telephone assistance, but if further work is needed there are counselors in Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City.

The Board Chairman, Gov. Brian Sandoval, questioned why a Nevada firm was not chosen. State officials said Nevada firms did not perform well in the interviews and testing.

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  1. "The board approved a $347,429 contract to hire Compsych Corp. of California to counsel and help state workers to improve their professional and personal lives. The aim is to reduce significant losses in state employee work time, productivity and effectiveness."

    Wow, it's so easy to spend other people's money. Here's an idea, forget the $347,429 contract and save the money. Then fire unproductive workers.

  2. Excuse me, but (1)$4Million an acre for non-strip land already next to a freeway? How is that valuation supported? (2) we are refunding money to mining companies when we haven't audited their claims? (No auditors, remember.); and (3) "not testing well in interviews" is the lamest excuse for not hiring locally yet.

  3. "Nevada firms did not perform wells"

    Were they digging for water?

  4. Dear Las Vegas Sun... Please assign reporters to the no less than 1 dozen fascinating stories contained within the article that will likely not be covered by ANYONE else. As the State's only Pulitzer winner (and recent winner at that), you have an obligation to find out and report on the money trails and connections of the unnamed people in "Wall Street Nevada" (talk about an ironic name given today's climate!). How are they the only ones who get a 5 million increase in value from 2006 to 2011 when every other single property in Las Vegas has dropped about 40 per cent in value. Now on to the LVSUN's favorite question - WHY there are no Nevada firms "testing" well. How about the criteria for "testing well." By the way, who are the State officials making this determination (names please) and how well do they test? How did they get their jobs? How long have they been in Nevada? Sandoval made a thoughtful comment (the only one who did? really? wow!), and yet what will the follow up be? Also, "counseling" - please explain what type of counseling is provided and the evolution of this as a priority given the cutbacks on the budget. (not to say its frivolous, just a little enterprise journalism on how we get from perceived problem to consulting company would be nice). Now on to mining... sigh... mining. As someone already posted - no auditors, why the refund? So many stories in here... so little hope that we will ever be enlightened. Help us LVSUN (Obi Wan Kenobi?), you're our only hope...