Geoff Dornan

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March 14, 2013
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Hearing for troubled Assemblyman Steven Brooks should happen in week or two

If investigators and the special counsel move as quickly as hoped, North Las Vegas Assemblyman Steven Brooks should appear before the Select Committee investigating his fitness to serve by the end of next week.

The head of the Legislative Counsel Bureau said Wednesday two contracts have been signed to expedite the process. One names Mark Ferrario of Las Vegas special counsel. Ferrario will be paid a maximum of $45,000. The second was with The Advantage Group of Reno with Duane Isenberg as investigator at a rate of $75 an hour. The two contracts were signed Tuesday.

LCB Director Rick Combs said both actually started work before the contracts were signed and are well along in getting their work done. Combs said the reason for the investigator was to reduce overall costs by not having Ferrario do all the work at his hourly rate.

“I’m hopeful that by the end of next week, he’ll at least have been brought into the committee,” said Combs.

He said he, the legal division and Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas — head of the Select Committee — decided the fairest process was to hire independent professionals to do that.

“We want to make sure to he extent we can we’re giving him his due process,” said Combs. “That’s why we’re making sure we do this in an independent manner.”

The Select Committee was named to investigate Brooks’ fitness to serve after a series of incidents beginning with his alleged threats to physically harm Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. He is out of jail on $100,000 bond in that case. He was arrested a second time after allegedly threatening his estranged wife and fighting with police during the arrest. He also was temporarily held for psychiatric evaluation after an incident involving a sword at a family member’s Las Vegas home.

More recently, he tried unsuccessfully to buy a gun from Scheel’s in Sparks and this past week asked for an received a bullet-proof vest from Veterans In Politics director Steve Sanson in Las Vegas.

The Select Committee’s charge is to recommend to the Assembly whether Brooks should be allowed to take his seat or be expelled from the Legislature.

“Ultimately, that’s up to the full Assembly to decide,” said Combs.

The two temporary restraining orders against Brooks, requested by both Kirkpatrick and Horne, were not extended for a year in Carson City Justice Court Thursday afternoon. Neither Kirkpatrick nor Horne attended the hearing, which Brooks’ attorney did.

“I’m assuming they’re not interested in extending (the orders) because they’re not here,” Justice of the Peace John Tatro said during the hearing. “They would have been here.”

The two restraining orders, issued on Feb. 14 will expire at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Mar 14, 2013 09:36PM Published Mar 15, 2013 03:20AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.