Mapes supporters consider asking for grand jury probe of city officials
RENO, Nev. – A group of advocates seeking to save the historic Mapes Hotel from demolition are considering asking for a grand jury investigation into the city’s handling of the matter, the Daily Sparks Tribune reported.
”We should alert a grand jury to investigate the city council,” Craig Bergland, a Reno resident and former mayoral candidate, said during a meeting of Mapes supporters Monday night.
The Citizen’s Campaign to Save the Mapes – a grass-roots group of supporters working together with local preservationists – plans to hold noon rallies in front of the hotel every Sunday and continue ”MapesWatch” shifts, where supporters monitor the actions of demolition crews from dawn till dusk.
Nanna Rassu, a member of the Truckee Meadows Heritage Trust present at the meeting, said she would like to see a further investigation on the city’s actions with the Mapes but indicated the grand jury option had not been discussed by her preservationist organization.
Rassu asked the group to assist her in gathering petitions to allow Reno residents to vote on saving the city’s historic buildings.
”If we can stall this thing until November, the we can get this thing on the ballot,” she said.
Rassu and three other Heritage Trust members are plaintiffs in a lawsuit charging the City Council with violating the Nevada Open Meeting Law by holding private meetings with staff prior to voting Sept. 13 on the Mapes’ demolition.
The suit, which seeks to void the council’s decision, was appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court after Washoe District Judge James Hardesty ruled city officials could proceed with demolition work.
A Supreme Court decision was still pending.
City officials have indicated to the Supreme Court the Reno Redevelopment Agency will incur $491,000 in damages from further delays for security, labor costs and contractual obligations with its demolition crew, California-based Clauss Construction.
The city also contends that further delays could push back the Super Bowl Sunday Jan. 30 implosion date and has asked the Supreme Court to require the Heritage Trust to post a $250,000 bond for the restraining order.