Las Vegas Sun

October 25, 2014

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Law Enforcement:

Constable’s deputy fired days after filing discrimination complaint

John Bonaventura, shown in 2004 as a candidate for the Clark County Commission.

John Bonaventura, shown in 2004 as a candidate for the Clark County Commission.

A constable’s deputy who filed a retaliation and religious discrimination complaint Monday against the Las Vegas Township Constable was fired Thursday morning.

Deputy Ray Jacoby’s termination only bolsters his contention that Constable John Bonaventura was retaliating when Jacoby was informed last week he was under investigation for violating policy, said Ben Scroggins, a former federal public defender who is representing Jacoby.

“I thought their initial investigation was retaliatory,” Scroggins said. “And I think this result was predetermined.”

Dean Lauer, deputy chief constable, confirmed Jacoby’s termination but said he could not comment on internal personnel matters.

Jacoby’s troubles with the constable date to June, when he was suspended for five days. Jacoby, 57, who has been with the office about six years, is fighting that suspension, having filed a letter to the constable for attorney’s fees and back pay.

Jacoby’s name also came up in a sexual harassment and retaliation complaint filed in July with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Clark County Office of Diversity. The complaint was filed by Jacoby’s girlfriend, Kristy Henderson, who was also a deputy constable.

In her complaint, Henderson listed numerous instances of alleged sexual harassment. She also wrote that in June, after Jacoby was suspended, she confronted Bonaventura, telling him that Jacoby was suspended without due process codified in state law. Henderson was fired in late July.

A day after a story about Henderson’s complaint appeared last week in the Sun, Jacoby was informed he was being investigated for alleged misconduct. The misconduct was stated this way in an Aug. 9 memo from Lt. Sadi Hadjadi: “It is alleged that you requested confidential records of a person, which are accessible through a secured computer link that requires authorized access.”

That incident took place May 11.

Scroggins explained the incident, saying Jacoby was walking to his office when a man, noting Jacoby’s uniform, said he was looking for a job but said he might have a warrant for his arrest. Jacoby asked someone in the Constable's Office to run a criminal background check on the man, Scroggins added; it came back with no warrants.

During an interview Monday among Scroggins, Jacoby and Constable's Office staff, Scroggins said, “No one was able to pinpoint any misconduct that (Jacoby) allegedly committed.

“When I questioned the procedures he was supposed to have violated, they ended the interview; they said, ‘That’s enough questions.’”

Scroggins added that Jacoby was obligated to investigate the man’s story.

“If, as a law enforcement officer, you are given any reason to believe someone might be a threat to the community, you have a duty to check it out,” he said.

In his EEOC complaint, Jacoby alleges religious discrimination, too. He referred to the Sun story about Henderson’s sexual discrimination complaint. Henderson has alleged that sometime between June and July 2012, she was in Bonaventura’s office with two other employees when one of them said, “The office needs to have its female (Henderson), its Jew (Ray) and its black, (another employee named).”

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  1. It seems that since Constable John Bonaventura took office not a month goes by where there is allegations of misconduct in his office. Where is the Mayor in this? Why hasn't the Mayor and the City Council started looking into the Constable's office. It might be time to do away with this elected position and put the office directly under the control of Metro.

  2. Why would employees tell the boss how to do his job? Now a tip on the side or asking if he is aware of a specific requirement might be OK but for an employee to tell the boss how to do things..... No wonder they were fired.

  3. "Why would employees tell the boss how to do his job?"

    Really?!?! This is what you want to hang your hat on, Roberta? It seems to most of us that an officer of the law should call into question whether the Constable's office is following the law.

    With your history of rant and whining about how your tax dollars are spent (or stolen, as you like to claim), you would be very interested in public officials doing their appointed job properly, lest you go on the hook for a large cash settlement.