LAS VEGAS — Shortly before being appointed as a Nye County judge last month over a deep pool of applicants, then-Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore insisted to county officials that she was eligible for the judgeship because she had met the qualifications to be considered a local resident.
But Fiore had continued her role on the Las Vegas City Council after her move to Nye County, attending four meetings as councilwoman while living in the small desert town of Pahrump, near the California border.
Her dual role as a Pahrump resident and Las Vegas councilwoman could have violated a Las Vegas city code that requires all members of the City Council to live in the district they represent. Fiore’s move has also raised questions of whether she lived in Nye County long enough before taking the justice of the peace role.
Now, the former state treasurer candidate is at the center of inquiries that could threaten to vacate both her judgeship and her final city council vote.
Four residents of the Las Vegas ward she represented requested that the city council nullify her Nov. 16 vote to approve a controversial land-use project for a convenience store that passed 4-3. The vote took place a day after she put money down on a rental house in Pahrump.
Pahrump resident and former longshot U.S. Senate candidate William Hockstedler, who had applied for the same justice of the peace position, has also asked the Nye County District Attorney’s office to recall Fiore’s appointment.
In a letter to the Nye County district attorney’s office, Hockstedler cited an opinion from the state of Nevada that candidates for offices, including justice of the peace, must live within the jurisdiction for at least 30 days before the deadline for the “declarations of candidacy or acceptances for the office.” He referenced the Dec. 8 judicial application deadline and Fiore’s “own admission” that she moved to Pahrump on Nov. 15.
The Las Vegas city attorney’s office declined to comment aside from sharing the complaints. The new Nye County district attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
The Nevada Current first reported the potential city code and state opinion violation.
Fiore signed a check for a Pahrump rental house on Nov. 15 but did not stay overnight there until Nov. 17, her attorney Sigal Chattah wrote in a Tuesday letter to the Las Vegas city attorney. She noted that Fiore’s final city council vote came one day before Fiore would “spend her first night in Pahrump.”
Fiore had previously told the council that the “exact date” of her Pahrump residence began Nov. 15. She did not respond to requests for comment.
The former Nevada state assemblywoman was selected unanimously to fill the seat on the Pahrump Justice Court through 2024 despite not having a law degree, which is not a requirement.
Fiore touted the endorsement of former president Donald Trump, who said she would “make an absolute fantastic Justice of the Peace,” according to a letter read by a Nye County commissioner at the December meeting.
Her appointment over nearly 20 applicants marks the latest chapter in a decade-long political career marked by scandal – including reports of an FBI probe into her campaign finances and accusations of physical assault.
FBI agents subpoenaed records and searched Fiore’s home last year in northwest Las Vegas in connection with her campaign spending, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Earlier this year, she was sued by fellow Las Vegas Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, who accused Fiore of breaking her finger in a physical fight at City Hall in January. The two were once good friends and close political allies. Fiore’s campaign told the Reno Gazette Journal the lawsuit was an attempt by “liberal Republicans” to hurt her chances of winning the state treasurer race.
In her pitch to Nye County commissioners last month, Fiore said she would approach the judgeship with integrity and honesty to the role because she has “been at the end of the political barrel.” She also referenced the house she started renting in mid-November and said she was “very excited to be a Pahrump girl.”
Chattah, Fiore’s counsel, frequently appeared alongside Fiore on the campaign trail while running unsuccessfully for Nevada Attorney General. Chattah is also running to become Nevada Republican Party’s next national committeewoman — a position that Fiore left due to her judicial appointment.
Stern, who reported from Reno, is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms.