Douglas official starts jail time |

Douglas official starts jail time

by William Ferchland
and Regina Purcell

Douglas County Commissioner Steve Weissinger started a 10-day jail sentence Thursday after pleading no contest to two counts of misdemeanor embezzlement.

Weissinger, 45, was booked into El Dorado County Jail after a court appearance on charges he stole money while he worked as a store manager for Raley’s Supermarket at Stateline.

A third misdemeanor count was dropped.

Weissinger declined to be interviewed at El Dorado County Jail.

“He wanted to get the case behind him,” said William Cole, Weissinger’s attorney. “He stepped up and took responsibility.”

Weissinger’s future in area politics is his call, according to Douglas Commission Chairman Kelly Kite.

Kite said Thursday that Weissinger’s plea leaves little question as to his guilt in the embezzlement at the Raley’s Supermarket in Stateline. A store manager, Weissinger was arrested June 13 for allegedly taking $100 from the store safe. Store security placed him under citizen’s arrest after the incident was caught on video.

Weissinger is no longer employed by Raley’s.

Kite took over the chairmanship of the commission in August after Weissinger voluntarily gave up the gavel.

“Obviously, it’s not good for Douglas County,” Kite said. “You can’t serve and do as many things as we’ve done without being friends.

“But there is a real conflict between that and public duty.”

Kite said there are three causes for removal from the Douglas County commission, including malfeasance, conviction of a felony or dereliction of duty.

“To the best of my knowledge he has not violated any of those,” Kite said. Whether he stays on the board, “I believe, at this point, it’s his call.”

Part of Weissinger’s sentence was payment of $1,315 in restitution. Initially, prosecutors said they had evidence of two other incidents at the Stateline supermarket. In total, Weissinger was accused of taking more than $1,000 during a three-month period, according to the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office.

The contest plea was based on “what we had the proof on,” said Deputy District Attorney Peter O’Hara.

Weissinger has served as a Douglas County commissioner since 1996. He was named chairman of the board after this last year’s elections.

Weissinger also faces a Dec. 10 court date on a drunken driving charge following an August traffic stop by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper in Carson City allegedly for speeding 51 mph in a 35 mph zone. The commissioner was taken into custody after allegedly failing a field sobriety test.

Cole, who is representing Weissinger in the drunken-driving allegation, won a decision by a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing officer who determined the trooper did not have probable cause to stop Weissinger.

Cole is also confident Weissinger was not impaired while driving, the attorney said. Cole said Weissinger registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.088 percent.

The legal limit at the time was .10. Nevada has since lowered its drunken-driving level to 0.08 percent.