Governor apologizes for using state phone to text-message | NevadaAppeal.com
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Governor apologizes for using state phone to text-message

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal
NEVADA APPEAL | NEVADA APPEAL

Gov. Jim Gibbons apologized Wednesday for using his state-owned cell phone to exchange hundreds of text messages with the woman he has been accused of having an affair.

Gibbons is in the midst of an increasingly messy divorce from Dawn Gibbons, his wife of 22 years.

He and the estranged wife of a Reno doctor, whom he has been seen with in public numerous times, exchanged some 870 text messages over a six-week period last year.

“It wasn’t something I should have done,” he said.

He said when he realized the messages were costing 15 cents apiece on the state phone plan, he paid for those text messages in April and May of 2007.

Gibbons denied the messages were “love notes” and denied sleeping with her. He said the content of the messages ranged from political, tax and other issues to “issues with her kids, what the latest issue is with her dog.” He described her as a long time friend and said since because it was more than a year ago, he can’t remember details of the messages.

Asked why he didn’t use his personal cell phone to send the messages, he said the exchange was initiated when she sent a message to his official cell phone and he believed at the time it wasn’t costing the state any money.

He also denied the extensive messaging ” up to 170 such messages on Good Friday 2007 ” interfered with his duties as governor. He said most were sent after hours or while riding somewhere in his car. He pointed out his security detail drives him “so all I do is sit there.”

As for the exchanges, which occurred during the wee hours, Gibbons said he sleeps only three hours a night or so and often texts aides, department heads, advisers and others when he thinks of something during the night.

Asked about that, his top Carson City assistant, Diane Cornwall, said she receives those text messages from the governor at all hours.

Gibbons refused to answer questions about his relationship with the woman, who is 15 years his junior, citing the agreement he and his lawyer made with his wife Dawn and her lawyer not to air their differences in the press but instead negotiate the dissolution of their marriage behind closed doors.

“I’m not going to talk about that because it does relate to the divorce,” he said.

The first-term Republican governor did say he doesn’t see the woman any more “simply because of the stress and all of this. The media has put a tremendous burden on her.”

“I do not see her. I do not text,” he said during the brief news conference.

Press secretary Ben Kieckhefer said the purpose of the press conference on the messages was to put it behind Gibbons so he can focus better on the state’s issues.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750. The Associated Press contributed to this story.