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Economy & Business | Government

Did the Stadium Authority Board break open meeting rules?

Photo rendering courtesy of MANICA Architecture.

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board will meet today with two new members whom the Clark County Commission chairman said may have been selected in a questionable manner.

At a meeting earlier this month, the board added two members: Lawrence Epstein, a senior executive and chief operating officer with UFC, and Tito Tiberti, who owns a local construction company.

The selection of the final two members involved a poll of the seven existing board members before the public meeting Jan. 12, which caused a stir because the Stadium Authority is supposed to adhere to the state’s Open Meeting Law. In fact, the December board meeting even included an overview of the Open Meeting Law.

Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said he would never poll his colleagues prior to a public meeting vote.

“It was a big concern of the SNTIC (Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee) members that this Authority be run with total transparency and openness, and I’m hopeful they will go above and beyond to follow the guidelines presented in the Open Meeting Law manual,” said Sisolak, who sat on the SNTIC.

Steve Hill, director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and who chairs the Stadium Authority, disputed the notion that any business was done outside the parameters of the law. During the first Stadium Authority meeting in December, board members were told they could send their top choices for the final two members to staff, which would make the preliminary results public, he said.

“The board members did not confer among themselves during this process, and the top choices were shared by staff with the public at the same time they were shared with the members of the Board,” Hill wrote in an email. “It was emphasized at the January 12th meeting that this preliminary process was for informational purposes only, and that any member of the Board could nominate any applicant.”

It’s unclear whether the situation is being investigated as a violation of the Open Meeting Law. A spokeswoman from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office said, “As a matter of policy, our office can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation.”

The Attorney General’s Office contains the Open Meeting Law Enforcement Unit, which reviews any complaints filed. The office ultimately issues an opinion on the matter.

The Stadium Authority is a governing body that will own and oversee the facility; approve the stadium location, development plan and operating agreement; and manage the waterfall revenue distribution and capital improvement fund.

Today, the board will receive a status report about the project, elect a vice chair and consider approving a $450,000 contract for legal services with two firms that proposed working together — Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a local firm, and Andrews Kurth Kenyon, which is based in Houston.

The board previously issued a request for proposals regarding legal representation and has since been narrowing down a list of contenders. Board members directed Hill and the Stadium Authority staff to come back to this meeting with a final recommendation, Hill said.

Last week, the Oakland Raiders filed paperwork with the NFL to move the professional football team to Las Vegas. But the Raiders and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who initially proposed building and investing in a stadium in Las Vegas, have not agreed to any terms.  Gov. Brian Sandoval already signed into law a measure that raises the county hotel room tax to pay for the public’s $750 million portion of the bill.

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