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Reid says it would be ‘embarrassing’ to elect Tarkanian to Congress

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AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, shown in this file photo addressing the Democratic National Convention, said it would be “embarrassing” if GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian were elected to Congress.

Updated Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 | 2:58 p.m.

Horsford and Tarkanian Debate at Temple Sinai

Candidates for the state's 4th Congressional District Steven Horsford, left, and Danny Tarkanian try to talk at the same time doing a debate at Temple Sinai of Las Vegas in Summerlin Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. The temple's Men's Club sponsored the debate. Launch slideshow »
Harry Reid

Harry Reid

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid today accused Republican congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian of trying to gloss over significant financial troubles that could force him to file bankruptcy either before or after the Nov. 6 election.

Tarkanian and his family are subject to a $17 million judgment to pay the Federal Deposit Insurance Company in the wake of a collapsed real estate deal.

Tarkanian continues to fight the judgment in court, but as of today, he and his family are on the hook for the $17 million.

“So simply, voters need to understand this,” Reid said on a conference call with reporters. “Wouldn’t it be kind of embarrassing to the state of Nevada to have somebody back there with a $17 million judgment against them? A judgment by the federal government?”

In a statement released by his campaign, Tarkanian accused his Democratic rival Steven Horsford of desperation and panic for putting Reid out front as a campaign attack dog on the issue.

“It is disappointing and disturbing that Sen. Reid believes he decides Congressional elections, not the voters of Nevada’s 4th Congressional District," Tarkanian said in the statement. "Apparently, Steven Horsford believes that having Sen. Reid mislead the voters about the circumstances regarding my family’s personal affairs will cause Nevadans to look past his failed record as state senate majority leader, numerous ethical failures, and lack of ideas to help get the people of Nevada back to work.”

Tarkanian is in a close race with Horsford, a two-term state senator. Recent polling by a Republican firm indicated Tarkanian has a 13-point lead in the race despite the fact the district has a heavy Democratic voter registration edge. Those polling numbers, and the fact Horsford has been unable to chalk up a significant lead have had some Democratic insiders nervous about his chances.

Reid tried to dispel that concern.

“All of our polling is going just fine,” Reid said. “Horsford is ahead. He’s not going to lose this race.”

But he acknowledged that Tarkanian has the benefit of a well-known family name.

“Horsford has had to make up a lot of ground on name identification,” Reid said.

Last week, the FDIC moved to begin seizing the Tarkanian family’s Nevada assets to put toward the $17 million judgment after his lawyer failed to file an opposition in time. Tarkanian’s lawyer has since filed that opposition and an Oct. 22 hearing is scheduled on the matter.

Tarkanian claims he and his family are the victims of fraud in the deal to develop an “equestrian destination resort” in Southern California. They borrowed money from La Jolla Bank to lend to the developer, using their own personal property as collateral for the bank loan.

But then the developer went broke and the bank collapsed, leaving the Tarkanian family responsible for paying the FDIC back.

Tarkanian denies he will be forced into bankruptcy prior to the election, noting he’s pursuing all legal means to appeal the judgment. But he acknowledged the possibility exists after the election, for both himself and his family members who were part of the deal.

But Reid said Tarkanian is relying on “legal gyrations” to cloud the facts.

“This is the big stall,” Reid said. “He’s doing everything he can to make sure he doesn’t have to belly up to the bar before Nov. 6.”

Reid then said the “FDIC rarely, rarely loses, especially on a slam dunk like this.”

Reid said he has nothing personal against Tarkanian, who ran in a Republican primary against Reid in 2010. Reid noted he’s supported Tarkanian’s father, former UNLV basketball coaching legend Jerry Tarkanian, in his past troubles with the NCAA and has supported Tarkanian’s mother, Las Vegas councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, in her political races.

On Twitter, Tarkanian’s spokesman Ron Futrell questioned whether Reid’s comments compromised the case.

“As a powerful member of the (federal government), has Reid just tainted any judgment the Feds might make in this case?” Futrell wrote.

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  1. What is embarrassing is Senator Reids almost total lack of ethical and honest behavior. Although his overt partisanship over the years has in some cases helped Nevada, it has also in some cases been harmful to the United States, his first obligation and the one he took an oath to support and defend.

    Of late, his behavior has become increasingly more dishonest and destructive leaving me to conclude that due to his age and seniority he has either given up all pretense at honesty or he is preparing to retire and no longer cares about defending his record or his legacy. I wonder if he has lost his integrity or never really had any, his political face being opposite of reality.

    I say his departure is overdue and unfortunately his conduct this last decade will overshadow all else for many. Harry Reid can't become a memory too soon for America and honest Nevadans.

  2. A $17 million judgement due over Real Estate to FDIC...? Isn't that the end of the line? So he runs for Congress instead, a solid GOP candidate to tell us how Government doesn't work. Or blame it on Satan attacking America, that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are lies from the pit of hell, ruining youth and putting innocent people in jail.

    Where do we get men like this?

  3. Poor, sad Harry. Trying to win a seat for one of his little minions.

  4. I think it would be more embarrassing to have a tax cheat as the Secretary of the Treasury

  5. Nevada should be completely embarrassed that it ever elected Harry. Hopefully the Rs will win the Senate and he'll be in the minority...

  6. It has been embarrassing for Reid to represent the state of Nevada for years.

  7. I have no sense of the substance of the financial judgment against Mr. Tarkanian. But Harry Reid calling it embarrassing for Nevada seems devoid of the obvious: Mr. Reid has been a laughing stock of the entire nation for about a decade.

    Harry, do you ever actually intend to present a budget resolution for consideration in the Senate? It had been 3 fiscal YEARS since we have seen one? Do we need to give you a little tutorial on how government is supposed to work?

    Quite frankly, no person in Washington has been more responsible for legislative dysfunction than our own Harry Reid. And anyone who can read -- on either side of the political aisle -- knows this.

    So Nevada will decide on Mr Tarkanian or Mr. Horsford, but for my nickel, Harry opening his mouth about anyone being an embarrassment makes one wonder if he's ever watched a video of himself speaking. It takes embarrassing to a high form of art.

  8. Ah, the Harry Haters...

    and Mr. Chachas, to boot!
    That's quite rich, indeed!

    Lil' Tark is in for a big fall.

  9. Searchlight Harry is the biggest embarrasment. Time to head out to pasture Harry. You have disgraced the office you hold big time!!!!!

  10. After Steven Horsford has so much for Nevada in the state legislature I can't imagine him not being elected.

  11. Amazing to me that all you Harry haters are so blind with your hatred that you cannot see clearly any more. You are have allowed yourself to be blinded to the truth and your despicable attitude is allowing you to shoot the messenger, even when (this time) the messenger is telling the truth.

    Even Tarkanian is admitting that he and his family are subject to a $17 million judgment to pay the Federal Deposit Insurance Company in the wake of a collapsed real estate deal.

    What am I missing here? The man invested in a project that had it succeeded he would have earned a ton of money, but it failed and now he is not responsible for his debt????? Obviously he does not think he is responsible, otherwise he would have manned up and paid what owes.

    So this is the character of the man you want to represent you in Congress? All fiscal conservatives that want less government in our lives, you want to vote for a man who wants the government to pay for his failure?

    Who are you people and what has happened to your ability to be reasonable.

    I will not be voting for him and if you have a conscience you won't either.

    You want to debate the facts, I will debate you, but if you want to blame Harry Reid for doing his job in getting a democrat elected by bringing a fact to the public that they should know, then I will not respond to your bigoted remarks.