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Storey County sheriff fined $2,500 by state ethics board

Storey County Sheriff vehicle parked. Courtesy of Sam Toll.

The Nevada Commission on Ethics fined embattled Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro $2,500 following an investigation into allegations that he used the sheriff’s office for child visitation on a day it wasn’t open.

Ethics officials have said previously that using a public office in such a way constitutes a violation of state ethics law, calling it an “unwarranted privilege.” Writing in a filing for the commission from June, Commission Executive Director Yvonne Navarez-Goodson said that Antinoro’s use of the office — government property explicitly linked to his job as sheriff — blurred “the line between Antinoro’s personal family interests and his public duties as Sheriff.”

Tuesday’s meeting was the third time Antinoro has found himself before the ethics commission during his time as sheriff. A 2016 investigation found he improperly used sheriff stationery to endorse former congressional candidate Michele Fiore, while a 2014 complaint argued he prevented a deputy running against him from attending a non-profit event — though the commission did not find that he violated state ethics rules in that case.

The ethics commission initially recommended a fine of $8,000 for Antinoro, $2,000 less than the maximum allowed under state law for a public official found to have “wilfully” violated ethics law at least once before.

Antinoro is also under scrutiny for lingering claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. He is being sued by former Storey County Deputy Assistant Sheriff Melanie Keener, who accused him of making inappropriate comments during their time as coworkers.

He also is the subject of an investigation by California police into whether he orchestrated the 2015 gang rape of a woman in Lodi, California. An investigation by the Nevada Attorney General’s office into several other claims of sexual violence against Antinoro yielded no criminal charges.

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