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April 25, 2014

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Teen’s disparaging remarks about Sisolak were false, her father says

Image

Steve Marcus

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak leaves 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 Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 | 5:31 p.m.

Vermillion appears on Face to Face

Exclusive interview with Kathleen Vermillion on Face to Face with Jon Ralston, Jan. 25, 2012.

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 »

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 »

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 »

Less than a week after Kathleen Vermillion's 15-year-old daughter was videotaped calling Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak “creepy,” and a lawsuit alleged that Sisolak had "improper and secretive” intentions toward her, the teenager says the allegations are false, her father said Wednesday.

The statement by Burt Boutin, Vermillion's ex-husband, brought yet another wrinkle to the drama playing out between two high-profile figures in local government — Sisolak, the commissioner, and Vermillion, who resigned as a member of the Henderson City Council only to face accusations that she mishandled finances at the homeless teen charity that she founded 12 years ago.

Vermillion reacted to the latest news in the growing legal melodrama by saying she wished she hadn't allowed her daughter to be videotaped making insinuations that Sisolak had acted improperly toward her.

There were still other developments Wednesday: the revelation that Sisolak secretly recorded a meeting Sunday with Vermillion's lawyer, Rob Martin, and Martin's public relations adviser, Mark Fierro. Sources say that on that video, Martin or Fierro can be heard saying that they would "have a hard time convincing a jury to give (Vermillion) any money."

And when the two ask Sisolak for $3.9 million to make Vermillion's lawsuit go away, it is pointed out that the family of Trevon Cole, who was shot and killed by a Metro police officer in 2010, only received $1.7 million in a settlement.

The source said Fierro responded to that by saying Cole was a "faceless, nameless individual."

In his statement, ex-husband Boutin speculated that his daughter was coaxed to appear in the video as part of a "desperate move" by his ex-wife and her advisers to embarrass Sisolak. "My daughter thought she was helping her mother and did not realize the harm it would cause,” Boutin said.

Boutin said Sisolak, who had a five-year relationship with Vermillion until they broke up in October, "acted as a gentleman to both of my children and to me. I ask that you respect the privacy of my children and me.”

Sisolak applauded Boutin for coming forward and said, “I’m disappointed anyone would put a 15-year-old young lady in this position. My heart goes out to (the teen) and I hope people give them the privacy they ask. I hope Vermillion gets the help she needs.”

He added that Boutin’s statement has been turned over to Metro Police investigators.

After talking to her daughter late Wednesday afternoon, Vermillion said her daughter admitted feeling "pressured" to do the video by Martin and Fierro. Even so, Vermillion added, the teenager says everything she said is authentic and she was not coached to say certain things.

Vermillion said "it was such a huge mistake" to give verbal permission to Fierro or Martin to release her daughter's name and the video to the media. Vermillion said her daughter screamed and cried out of stress after being told Wednesday of her father's remarks, telling her mother "I don't want to be a part of this anymore!"

"If I knew it was going to be like this, I would have never subjected her or myself to any of this," Vermillion said.

Wednesday's developments could undermine much of the lawsuit filed by Kathleen Vermillion against Sisolak and Clark County alleging defamation and invasion of privacy. Vermillion dated Sisolak five years before they broke up in October. She is also the founder of the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth.

To see how it got to this point, you need to go back to Friday, when Vermillion filed a lawsuit alleging Sisolak and Clark County staff shared the results of her private drug test with others. It was in that lawsuit where Vermillion claimed Sisolak had an “improper and secretive” relationship with the teenager.

The suit came one day after media reports that Arash Ghafoori, executive director of the Partnership for Homeless Youth, had asked the Nevada attorney general to investigate the charity’s operations and handling of money. He alleged Vermillion committed fraud and improperly transferred money between two charities to pay her salary.

After Sisolak met with Fierro and Martin on Sunday, he filed a police report alleging criminal extortion by Vermillion, Martin and Fierro.

Sisolak told reporters Monday morning that at the meeting, which he audio-recorded, Martin and Fierro played an edited video of Vermillion’s daughter saying Sisolak took her to Victoria’s Secret, sent her text messages at night and gave her gifts.

Then Fierro and Martin asked for $3.9 million to, as Sisolak put it, “make it all go away.”

Instead, Sisolak filed the criminal extortion police report, and a few hours later Fierro and Martin held a news conference and showed some of the videotape to reporters.

Boutin’s statement Wednesday followed other revelations in the highly personal, highly public dispute. KSNV Channel 3 revealed Tuesday night that Sisolak was not the only person to know about Vermillion’s drug test results. The chairman of her charity’s board sent an email sent to 16 people talking about the results, saying Vermillion had to be given the chance to defend herself.

One point important in the matter is the difference in how Sisolak defines the Sunday meeting versus Fierro and Martin’s definition.

Fierro and Martin have publicly said the meeting was a “settlement conference,” while Sisolak said it was to discuss an upcoming news conference Fierro and Martin had planned. It’s not a crime to ask for money to avoid an expensive legal battle at a settlement conference; if not a settlement conference, extortion allegations, like the one made by Sisolak, might result. (The Sun received emails from Vermillion Friday and Saturday saying a news conference was being planned for following Monday or Tuesday.)

Vermillion was not at the meeting. That’s an important point, because although she was present during the videotaping of her daughter, her absence at the meeting might free her from liability if criminal extortion charges are sought.

In an interview Tuesday, Vermillion told the Sun that she was likely going to step aside from her position as head of the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. She said the organization received $27,000 in requests for refunds from donors one day after news broke that state prosecutors had been asked to look into how the Partnership handled its money.

“And now it’s just mounting and mounting and mounting,” she had said. “At the end of the day, nobody won. (My daughter) is hurt. Half the board members have left.”

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  1. At least the homeless youth Board of Directors did the right thing and exposed her on the financials.

    She sounds like a person with a drug problem.

  2. My real world observation is that most of the judges in Eighth District Family Court, especially the women judges, will look the other way, in deciding custody issues, when the mother is a middle class crazy, a middle class druggie or both. The mom will end up with primary custody if she wants it, and her certifiably-nuts-behavior will then be taught to her children as 'unthinking' and 'acceptable' behavior when they grow up.

    My own ex-daughter in law committed a B&E at our house, standing over us while we were still asleep in bed at 6AM. She was ranting and raving hysterically about something my son did to tick her off. Metro could not be bothered to show up in a timely way, so after about an hour of trying to remove this psycho from our house, she left of her own volition. If my ex-daughter in law had a gun or a knife, would we be dead?

    Is that woman going to be teaching my two granddaughters that it is acceptable behave in the same way? According to one "still sitting" woman judge at the Eight District Family Court she (the judge) cannot get involved in protecting the senior citizen parents or the children of parties involved in divorce cases, when the conduct is "ordinary overwhelming anger that she hears about every day".

    This retraction by Mr. Boutin is just the sort of liability avoidance tool which non-custodial dads apparently need to learn as their wacko ex-wives train the kids to be psycho commandos by age 15.

    My granddaughters are 5 and 2. Beginning 10 years from now, do I have to worry about them trying to kill me, because an Eight District Court Judge, used to dealing with wacko women, doesn't think about what the wacko moms teach their young daughters?

    Do I have to worry about my wacko ex-daughter in law teaching my granddaughters to make false accusations gratuitously, or to get a new video game, lap top or fancy cel phone?

    Do I have to worry about my wacko ex-daughter in law teaching my grandchildren that it's OK to break and enter, or brandish a weapon at a family member, "If you're angry in an ordinary way"?

    Thanks to the Boutin family for this important lesson in the reality of domestic relations law.

  3. Sisolak is correct 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 legal action against her. My lawsuit took 10 years to make it to the Nevada Supreme Court where a ruling was issued stating: (1) she "acted with actual malice," and (2) she acted with "reckless disregard for the truth." These two requirements are the legal basis under Sullivan vs. New York Times for a public official to sue someone for libel or defamation. Here is the MILLER vs. JONES decision: http://stevemiller4lasvegas.com/supreme1....
    It's the case law precedent for a defamation action Sisolak should most certainly file.

  4. "If I knew it was going to be like this, I would have never subjected her or myself to any of this," Vermillion said."

    "But perhaps the desire of the thing called fame will torment thee." -- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Roman Emperor, 2nd Century A.C.E.

  5. Time to resign Sisolak. Be done with it and save what remaining dignity you have.

  6. The next piece of information is the amount of homeless teen charity dollars 'mishandled', more properly understood as 'missing'.

    Creating a charity organization can net the Founder a lot of soft cash, easy money that treks out the back door and shows up in the form of a new car with occasional trips to Hawaii. One of the principal reasons why charities will never be able to take care of the poor is that they take such good care of their Founders and Executives.

    The next time you drive by a big church with a large white steeple and red brick walls all around, count the number of people each of those bricks fed and it will be clear why religion is no answer to taking care of the poor.

  7. The main basis for this woman's alleged "woman scorned" vendetta against Sisolak should have been his alleged relationship with her daughter, IF it was true, NOT the results of her drug test being made public. Seems HER own agenda was more important than her daughter.

  8. I'd venture to say that most any male subjected to the family courts could tell stories about the bias shown them.

    The reason "accusations", rather than facts, are used is because this tactic usually works.

    Of course Vermillion's agenda was more important to her than her screaming and crying out of stress daughter's well being.

    For Vermillion to pretend that she didn't know what would ensue, once she embarked on this course, is her moving beyond being disingenuous.

  9. "Time to resign Sisolak."

    gaskin -- why? He's handling this much better than his opponents.

    "One of the principal reasons why charities will never be able to take care of the poor is that they take such good care of their Founders and Executives."

    SunJon -- too true. But this is nothing new. Years ago Goodwill was in the news with its executives' perqs, including a private jet, executive dining room, all that. Mankind seems to have a fatal flaw -- a good idea gets institutionalized then messed up, starting with the inner circle feathering their own nests. Orwell's "Animal Farm" is instructive on that point.

    "The main basis for this woman's alleged "woman scorned" vendetta against Sisolak should have been his alleged relationship with her daughter, IF it was true..."

    Det_Munch -- I'm going to default to dad on this one. Few dads aren't fiercely protective of their daughters, especially a teenager when any male comes sniffing around. If anything, this drama is instructive why every American man everywhere needs to stay completely away from any situation leaving him alone with any young girl.

    "I'd venture to say that most any male subjected to the family courts could tell stories about the bias shown them."

    davestovall -- seems you posted from experience. Although the numbers show mothers are the primary abusers and sometimes killers of their children, and a California grand jury reported natural fathers are the least likely of ANYBODY to abuse their children, and despite the Constitutional promise of equality, the courts still hand them over to moms' complete control. You can thank refusal to hold courts accountable and our present VP Biden for that.

    "...but a little girl's nod, if it should so happen, will move him..." -- "Discourses of Epictetus," Arrian c. 108 A.C.E.

  10. Ok, so she embezzled money from her charity, got caught, failed a drug test, tried to extort millions from her ex, then added her 15 year old daughter into the mix.

    And people are blaming the guy? How?