5/21/03 4:22 PM Inches: 15.0 REGULAR BC-NV-CorruptionProbe Bjt 05-21 0640



Associated Press Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The chairwoman of the Clark County Commission acknowledged Wednesday that she is a focus of a federal corruption probe that led to raids last week at striptease clubs in Las Vegas, Clark County and in San Diego.

"She's a target," said Richard Wright, lawyer for Mary Kincaid-Chauncey. "That means they're looking at her for prosecution. We'll proceed accordingly."

Wright denied any wrongdoing by Kincaid-Chauncey, who said little during a news conference.

Wright angrily blamed the FBI and U.S. attorney's office in Las Vegas for what he called "deceitful and misleading dealings" and media leaks.

"It's been very difficult," said Kincaid-Chauncey, who said she has no plans to resign. "I've never even had a traffic ticket in my life. There's always two sides to a story. I hope sometime in the future I will be able to tell my side of it."

Kincaid-Chauncey said two FBI agents who interviewed her while she sat in her bathrobe at home late May 14 left documents instructing her not to discuss the interview or the case.

"She was set up," said Wright, a former federal prosecutor. "She was asked about Lance Malone, contributions, her flower shop business, boating. She wasn't under arrest and she wasn't given a Miranda warning."

Wright said that when the FBI agents began playing wiretap audiotapes, Kincaid-Chauncey and her husband, Robert Chauncey, a retired Las Vegas police detective, asked if she was a suspect.

The lawyer said they responded that she was not a suspect, but left her with the nondisclosure instructions and a letter informing her that she is a target of the investigation.

"Technically, they answered correctly," Wright said. "Was she a suspect? 'No, you're a target, sucker."'

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Las Vegas declined immediate comment Wednesday.

Special Agent Daron Borst, spokesman for the Las Vegas FBI office, declined to respond to allegations of deceit.

But, "we agree that leaks in this case are detrimental to both sides," he said.

Now in her second term, Kincaid-Chauncey, 64, of North Las Vegas, was elected to the commission in 1997. She was appointed chairwoman in January.

Kincaid-Chauncey is the only current member of the nine-member county commission whose name appeared in search warrants authorizing raids on strip clubs owned by Jack Galardi, 72, and his son, Michael Galardi, 41.

Also named were former commissioners Dario Herrera and Erin Kenny, and their spouses, and Las Vegas City Councilman Michael McDonald. Another former commissioner, Lance Malone, has been identified as a key figure in the case.

In San Diego, where Malone served as consultant on Galardi projects, the FBI searched the offices of City Councilmen Ralph Inzunza, Charles Lewis and Michael Zucchet.

A warrant served in Las Vegas said authorities were looking for financial and campaign contribution records made from 1997 by or on behalf of the clubs and their owners. Michael Galardi owns Cheetah's Gentlemen's Clubs in Las Vegas and San Diego. The Galardis own Jaguars Gentlemen's Club in Clark County, just outside Las Vegas.

The San Diego councilmen began appearing before a federal grand jury there last week. Grand Jury proceedings in Las Vegas are scheduled.

No charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.

Wright also represents McDonald, who has denied wrongdoing and said FBI agents told him he was not a target.

Herrera has denied wrongdoing and said his lawyers advised him not to comment. Kenny and Malone have been unavailable for comment.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment