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December 21, 2014

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Sisolak, Vermillion trade accusations at dueling news conferences

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Steve Marcus

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak responds to questions from reporters at a news conference outside Metro Police Headquarters Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Sisolak said he has filed a criminal complaint against his former girlfriend and former Henderson Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion alleging that she tried to extort $3.9 million from him.

Updated Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 | 6:53 p.m.

Sisolak Alleges Extortion Attempt

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak speaks at a news conference outside Metro Police Headquarters Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Sisolak said he has filed a criminal complaint against his former girlfriend and former Henderson Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion alleging that she tried to extort  $3.9 million from him. Launch slideshow »

Attorney Denies Sisolak Allegations

Robert Martin, center, attorney for former Henderson City Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion, speaks during a news conference at the Martin & Allison law offices Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Martin disputed allegations by Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak that Vermillion, Sisolak's former girlfriend, Mark Fierro, a public relations expert, and Martin were involved in an an extortion attempt. Launch slideshow »

Sisolak and Vermillion in 2008

Clark County Commission District A candidate Steve Sisolak talks with supporters with his then-girlfriend Kathleen Vermillion during a political mixer at the Pizza Caffe in Henderson Tuesday, October 14, 2008. Launch slideshow »
Kathleen Vermillion

Kathleen Vermillion

Sisolak releases texts he says sent by Vermillion

During a press conference Monday, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak released what he said are text messages he received from his ex-girlfriend, former Henderson City Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion.

Dec. 10, 8:22 p.m.

“Oh, you’re out. Again? And not home to console your children? I’m sorry. Forgive me. I didn’t know. Leave me and my children alone. Forever. Got it Superdad?”

Dec. 10, 8:25 p.m.

“I don’t love you. You make me sick. I don’t trust you. I don’t respect you. Take the pictures down. And tell everyone we are done. It’s war.”

Dec. 10, 8:27 p.m.

“When you stop manipulating and using my children, like you have me, then I’ll stop. You are in over your head. I can, and will destroy you. I am the female version of you. But smarter. And my anger only motivates me. Back off. Or else. The Sisolak name will be a shame to them all. All I have to do after Jan 3rd is make the ACCUSATION that you made advancements toward (her daughter), and you’re done.”

The legal and PR team of former Henderson City Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion held a news conference Monday afternoon, outlining what they called “improper” behavior by Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak toward Vermillion’s teenage daughter.

The news conference, which featured video of the teenager calling the county commissioner a “scumbag,” capped a day of dueling accusations between Vermillion and Sisolak, who ended their five-year romantic relationship in October.

The feud became public last week, when Vermillion filed a lawsuit accusing Sisolak and Clark County of defamation and invasion of privacy for allegedly spreading the story that she had tested positive for a synthetic opiate. Vermillion also alleged that Sisolak had an “improper” relationship with at least two underage children, her daughter and her daughter’s friend.

All sides agree that the legal teams for Sisolak and Vermillion met Sunday to discuss the allegations, but differ on the nature of that meeting.

Sisolak filed a police report Monday morning and held a news conference where he accused Vermillion, her attorney Robert Martin and public relations expert Mark Fierro of criminal extortion. Sisolak said Martin and Fierro had during the Sunday meeting asked Sisolak for $3.9 million to make the lawsuit “go away.”

Sisolak said he and his attorney Stan Hunterton met with Vermillion’s legal team because he had heard they were planning a news conference and he wanted to discuss it. He claims that during the meeting Fierro, who represented the Clark County firefighters union during their contract fight with the county, said as a “side benefit,” he could guarantee no interference from firefighters in Sisolak’s re-election campaign this year.

In the police report, Sisolak names Vermillion, Martin and Fierro.

Vermillion’s team said it was, in fact, a settlement conference to discuss a payment because Vermillion will likely be forced to leave the area because her reputation has been damaged, Martin said. In a statement, Martin said: “For Sisolak to use a word like extortion is the act of a desperate man … To be clear, we are not alleging any criminal conduct on Sisolak’s part. We are alleging that he has injured Ms. Vermillion and her family by his wrongful conduct.”

But it was Sisolak’s reputation that Fierro and Martin questioned during their Monday afternoon news conference. The media were shown a highly edited video interview of Vermillion’s 15-year-old daughter, Aurora Boutin.

In the video, Aurora Boutin said on two or three occasions Sisolak took her to the lingerie store Victoria’s Secret. She also said Sisolak would give her money and send her text messages after 11 p.m.

Fierro said the messages and money came even after Sisolak and Vermillion broke up in October.

“After 11 o’clock at night,” Fierro said. “Does that sound like the actions of a reasonable person?”

Fierro and Martin said nothing of a criminal nature had occurred between Sisolak and Vermillion’s daughter. But Fierro said as a public figure Sisolak is held to a higher standard. “It’s bad judgment on behalf of a public official,” he said.

(Fierro and Martin said the other child referenced in the lawsuit was Aurora’s friend, who had not yet agreed to make her interview public.)

During his five-year relationship with Vermillion, Sisolak said he developed a paternal relationship with Vermillion’s two children. “They took normal, innocent gestures” and tried to turn them into something tawdry, Sisolak said.

Fierro and Martin were asked to provide the entire taped interview. The two said it might be released later. Asked if the girl was coached to provide answers, Fierro replied: “This is the extent of the coaching: ‘Tell us what happened.’ ”

Asked for copies of the texts, Fierro replied “that’s what the girl says. And maybe you don’t believe her. And if they’re there, we’ll bring them.”

Fierro said after the breakup Vermillion “doesn’t have any money,” and she tells Sisolak she is going to sell $100,000 worth of jewelry he bought her over the years. Fierro said Sisolak called Vermillion’s son and said he would buy it and give half of the money to the children.

“There’s a card that he sends. ‘I’m just a phone call away’ to a 15-year-old girl. ‘I love you,’ ” Fierro said.

But Sisolak explained the jewelry incident differently.

He said Vermillion’s son called him and said his mother was going to pawn the jewelry for $5,000 to $10,000. Instead, Sisolak told Vermillion’s son he would rather buy the jewelry, lock it up and when the two kids got old enough, they could split it between them.

“I’d hate to see $100,000 worth of jewelry sold for nothing,” he said.

As for the Victoria’s Secret trips, Sisolak said they never made specific trips to the store but stopped in on shopping trips to the mall because Aurora wanted to buy some age-appropriate clothing known as Pink.

It’s apparent that the feud had been going on out of the public eye for weeks.

At his news conference, Sisolak produced copies of text messages from Vermillion dated Dec. 10, about two months after they had broken up. Vermillion’s anger is evident: “When you stop manipulating and using my children, like you have me, then I’ll stop. You are in over your head. I can, and will destroy you. I am the female version of you. But smarter. And my anger only motivates me. Back off. Or else. The Sisolak name will be a shame to them all. All I have to do after Jan. 3rd is make the ACCUSATION that you made advancements toward (her daughter), and you’re done.”

Vermillion filed her suit against Sisolak on Thursday, claiming he disseminated her personal health information, including that she had tested positive for a synthetic opiate and that he had “improper and secretive” relations with her daughter.

Sislolak had said there was “no merit” to Vermillion’s claims.

The day Vermillion filed suit news also broke that she had been accused of financial improprieties at the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, where she is CEO.

Vermillion, who has denied any wrongdoing involving the community organization, announced in November that she would resign from the Henderson City Council.

Her lawsuit shed light on turmoil at the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, which she founded. The suit says Vermillion's schedule as a member of the Henderson City Council was very demanding so she turned over many of her duties at the nonprofit group to Executive Director Arash Ghafoori.

But Ghafoori "had serious performance issues in the fall of 2011," and NPHY’s treasurer resigned "amid allegations there were some irregularities relating to NPHY finances," Vermillion's attorneys claim.

During a board meeting in late December, Vermillion and Ghafoori both agreed to take drug tests and Vermillion tested positive for a synthetic opiate, her lawsuit says.

Ghafoori has asked the Nevada Attorney General to investigate the charity’s operations and finances.

The suit says Vermillion had recently taken some pain relievers for a migraine headache and that she had obtained a pain reliever from Sisolak’s sister, Susan Sisolak. Her attorney said it’s believed the pain reliever from Sisolak’s sister caused Vermillion's drug test to be positive.

They further said an NPHY board member improperly disclosed Vermillion’s drug test results to Sisolak and that "Sisolak disseminated Mrs. Vermillion’s results to multiple individuals at the Clark County government offices."

Among other claims in Vermillion's suit:

• By disclosing her drug test results, Sisolak negligently disseminated private health records and invaded her privacy.

• "Sisolak in his role as Clark County Commissioner made defamatory statements about Mrs. Vermillion to other Clark County commissioners and department heads."

• Sisolak and Clark County, "acting under color of state law," violated Vermillion’s rights under the U.S. Constitution.

"I don't know anything about drugs, vacations, trips or anything else that's been mentioned," Sisolak said Friday.

Sisolak, who claims to have donated more than $200,000 to NPHY, later issued a statement: "It is a sad day for Las Vegas when an organization that does good work for kids has its effectiveness undermined and reputation blemished by a complaint such as this one. It is truly regrettable. It is sad that Ms. Vermillion and the organization have placed themselves in this situation."

Clark County also released a statement on the suit, which demands damages that are unspecified but that top $20,000. "The complaint is frivolous on its face, completely without merit, and is of questionable motivation since it acknowledges that people other than the defendants actually disseminated the information in question before it reached the county," the statement said.

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  1. "Within that complaint, she also alleged the commissioners had "improper and secretive" relations with her minor daughter."

    Is the "S" on the end of commissioners a typo or is she stating that "They" had "Improper and secretive" relations with her minor daughter?

  2. Question #2:

    When do settlement talks step over the line to become Extortion?

    The part from Mr. Fierro I tend to believe is nothing but pure extortion since the fire department has nothing to do with this matter but could the $3.9 million request be considered a settlement offer?

  3. Politicians never cease to amaze me!

  4. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  5. "does $3.900 million dollars seems like an oddly specific amount of money?"

    Absolutely. Oh, "improper and secretive"?

    How secretive can it be with Mom in the know? What part of the $3.900 million is compensation for 'improper', what part for 'secretive'? This must all come out of a book with the title very similar to "Out of Court Settlements for Dummies". If it doesn't exist, the new author could really cash in, Las Vegas style.

  6. Seriously Bchap has it right. Vermillion has also committed a crime, and she needs her kids removed from her care ! Where is CPS, are they not REQUIRED to investigate right away when these allegations are left ? Looks like the poor kids are victims here.

  7. What a crock! Go get'em Steve!

  8. Nothing like pointing the finger of blame and hanging out their dirty laundry for the public to see what kind of people they really are.. They both need to take the high road, and shut up, to hang on to whatever dignity they may have left. This is turning into a public soap opera.

  9. This reminds me of the Tiger Woods case. The other woman hired Gloria Allred to represent her and eventually the settlement paid her millions of dollars. It was nothing more than legalized extortion or blackmail.

    Tiger had to pay her to keep her mouth shut and Gloria Allred got her percentage. I'm not sure how that's legal.

  10. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  11. Is Sisolak employed by the Sun Newspaper?

  12. <<Always about the money. Money makes it go away.
    Better be careful who you lie in bed with>>

    My guess is SHE had some sort of plan the first time she whipped off her underwear. Look at this woman!!! Do you REALLY think someone that looks like her would go after someone that looks like him???? (No offense to Sisolak but please....he is no George Clooney). Hate to bring it down to such a base and common level - good looking female politician goes after not so good looking politician. And for what reason? She obviously was upset this alleged relationship they had did not go the way she planned and now they're talking $3.9 million.

  13. I agree with Det_Munch's assessment. Men are always at risk when the women they date/live with/marry have under aged girl children. In the "real word" of California and other large states, if a mother has ANY inkling that her daughter is being inappropriately treated by the man in her life, either she cuts off the relationship with the man or the woman ends up in jail for consenting/acquiescing in the mistreatment of her daughter. So either Kathy Boutin Vermillion is lying about the relationship between Sisolak and her daughter, or if she is telling the truth then under normal criminal law she is at the least, a criminal aider or abetter.

    It is not at all unusual, in the real world, for persons including lawyers, public relations flaks, as well as principals to be criminally prosecuted (or civilly sued) for extortion when demanding money in return for not releasing some 'horrible' misinformation. I'm sure the criminal defense attorneys and assistant DA's here in town remember what happened to Bill Cosby's actual blood daughter (illegitimate) for trying to extort money from him in return for not revealing that Cosby had an affair with the girl's mother while he was married. Bill Cosby's own blood daughter ended up in jail for attempted extortion.

    The same thing happened to the boyfriend of one of David Letterman's women assistants. An extortion attempt and then a jail sentence for the man, who coincidentally just got out of jail.

    I have a lot of respect for Stan Hunterton, the ex-Federal prosecutor, who is representing Steve Sisolak in this matter. My view is that Hunterton is an honorable lawyer, who doesn't pursue unmeritorious claims.

    In contrast, Ms. Boutin Vermillion's lawyers "just happen to represent" the general contractor for the Harmon Hotel, which Clark County's Building Department has ordered be torn down as "unsafe". Mr. Sisolak is, of course, a Clark County Commissioner who theoretically has the ability to bring a motion to "call off the dogs".

    Just now, I'm watching Ms. Boutin Vermillion's lawyer on Jon Ralston's show defending his and his client's "unfiled lawsuit" and $3.9 Million settlement demand. Make me barf!

  14. On Jon Ralston's show he just mentioned Boutin Vermillion's claims that Sisolak paid for "merchandise from Victoria's Secret" picked out by Boutin Vermillion's daughter.

    For those who don't have teenaged/college aged daughters, Victoria's Secret has a knit sportswear line called "Pink" which is about as sexy as knit sportswear purchased at Wal-Mart. Let's see what little Ms. Boutin picked out. Let's see the merchandise receipts with the bar codes so we all know what little Ms. Boutin picked out. Let's see the receipts proving Mr. Sisolak paid for anything. In my mind there's a 90% chance it's "Pink".

  15. I think that this could be a more successful reality show than "Constables of Las Vegas". ROTFLMAO

  16. Well again Cynical has it right. He is just being a little bit cynical for implying that perhaps laws protecting minor children from their parents inaction, do not exist in Nevada. They in fact do exist, and frankly I would be very surprised if I didn't read in the next few days that CPS was conducting or even removed the minor children from this woman's custody. By her own admissions she clearly is unfit to be caring for minor children. As far as Mr Sisolak, there really is no legitimate reason to take a young girl to Victorias secret. This is beyond poor judgement,and anyone else would or should be in serious trouble.

  17. "I can, and will destroy you. I am the female version of you. But smarter. And my anger only motivates me. Back off. Or else. The Sisolak name will be a shame to them all. All I have to do after Jan. 3rd is make the ACCUSATION that you made advancements toward (her daughter), and you're done."

    Clearly Vermillion played her high card, the ultimate weapon that works for women everywhere in domestic situations, a bare accusation. This type of accusation carries the guilt with it. I hope Sisolak survives it. Clark County needs him.

    "Hell hath no fury like the wrath of a woman scorned" -- misquote from a William Congreve play

  18. First, there are no allegations of sex abuse, so calm down people.

    Second, the damning information provided by this gold digger is that he sent a text message to her daughter, who he parented for the past 5 years, after 11.. OH NO!!! For a teenage girl that compares to 9pm for you old timers. If there was something inappropriate said, they would have already produced the message, just like Sisolak did with her rant about taking him down.

    Third, Victoria Secret is not the sex shop. They sell normal clothes as well as under garments.. Were not talking about buying her S&M gear here people.. Most likely some sweat pants and possibly under garments that, hopefully, all of you wear.

    This just sounds like the case of a woman who is out to get paid. I'm proud of Sisolak for standing up to it.

  19. As Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak represents my district, and it is fact that I am an active voter, Mr. Sisolak certainly has interest in what any person in my voting position has to say about this issue. First, I do believe the charges of the lady are without merit. If her charges are true she is guilty of not properly reporting Mr. Sisolak's activities to the authorities in a timely way. I would tend to believe she now has a greater liability than Mr. Sisolak to the authorities in this case. I have never agreed with black mail laws, as I don't believe in legislating for the privacy of those who have done wrong in society. The fact remains that these accusations will not change my general support for Mr. Sisolak. The only black mark that I have seen on his record has to do with the Las Vegas Paving / and Fisher incident . . . and this incident, I do find very disturbing.

  20. I think Vermillion's behavior and actions are vile and disgusting.

  21. "All I have to do...is make the accusation...and you're done."

    Sounds like blackmail to me.

    This whole smarmy episode appears to be a cheap trick to divert focus from her own legal troubles.

    What kind of life lesson does this convey to the daughter?

  22. Sisolak is doing exactly the right thing by going on the offensive immediately following a false accusation. In 1991, my female mayoral opponent also made a false and defamatory accusation against me. I foolishly waited until after I lost the election to take action against her. My lawsuit took 10 years to make it to the Nevada Supreme Court where a 19 page Decision was rendered stating she "acted with actual malice," and with "a reckless disregard for the truth." Though my name was cleared, it meant nothing because of the permanent damage from a decade earlier. Here is the Decision: http://stevemiller4lasvegas.com/supreme1... .
    My case set the legal precedent for any defamation action Sisolak may seek.