Wheeler settles ethics challenge with Secretary of State’s Office
January 16, 2014
Assemblyman Jim Wheeler of Minden and the Secretary of State's Office have settled the ethics complaint filed by his former opponent.
Kelly Kite accused him of filing false financial disclosure forms and questioned whether Wheeler actually lived District 39, which includes Douglas and Storey counties and part of Lyon County.
Elections Deputy Scott Gilles of the Secretary of State's Office said Wheeler had agreed to several changes and clarifications in his financial reports. His letter to Wheeler confirming the deal states that "it is our conclusion that your failure to properly disclose was not willful."
"We had to make some technical changes in some of the reporting," Wheeler said Wednesday.
That included listing some money he received in unemployment benefits after leaving Carson City Toyota and clearing up how long he has lived in Douglas County. He said he properly reported his full-time residency in the 2010 Financial Disclosure Statement, but he changed it to include the time he was a part-time county resident for the 2011 and 2012 statements — which is incorrect.
"I did that after talking to a lady at the Secretary of State's office," he said.
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One of the bigger issues Kite raised was the charge that Wheeler failed to report a lien against him in Michigan for failing to report some $6,000 owed for an employee.
"Like I told you originally, I've never had a business in Michigan and never had an employee in Michigan," he said. "But it's got my name and my Social Security number on it. Obviously it's a mistake, but it may be cheaper to pay it off if I have to hire a lawyer."
He said he was putting the lien on his financial reports with "the word 'disputed' after it."
Kite also charged Wheeler can't show he is a Douglas County resident — a charge he filed with Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas. But the Assembly Committee on Ethics declined to hear that charge.
Wheeler ran against Kite in the 2010 race and lost. He ran again in 2012 and beat Kite by 192 votes. Both are Republicans.
Wheeler set off a storm of criticism in October, when a YouTube video surfaced of him saying he'd vote to reinstate slavery if that's what his constituents wanted. He apologized and said the comment was "clearly facetious."