County Recorder Frances Deane Under Criminal Investigation

Clark County Recorder Frances Deane has stepped down after search warrants were served on her home and office Tuesday afternoon. Deane faces allegations of misconduct. The I-Team's George Knapp was the first to break these new developments.

Frances Deane's often troubled stint as Clark County recorder hit a new low Tuesday afternoon when Metro detectives served search warrants on her home and her county office as part of a criminal investigation. Dean spent two hours speaking with detectives and reportedly denied any wrongdoing. However, when asked by Clark County Manager Thom Reilly to step aside from her official duties during the police probe, she agreed.

At the county building and later at her home, Deane declined to answer questions from reporters. Detectives removed several boxes of documents and Deane's computer from her county office, as well as other material from her home. Metro isn't saying what evidence they are seeking and the warrants remain sealed, but Deputy Chief Mike McClary gave a general description of potential charges against the county recorder. He stated, "It's misappropriation of public property."

The I-Team has learned that Metro suspects Deane of removing piles of public documents from her office and of selling copies those documents to local businesses for thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. It is not immediately known which documents may have been sold, but informed sources say Metro has a solid case and would have arrested Deane at her office if they had been given the green light by the D.A.'s office.

In 2004, Deane was nearly removed from office by the Commission on Ethics after she formed a private company that intended to charge a fee for providing public documents from her office. She paid a $5,000 fine but kept her job.

The I-Team has also learned of a larger development -- the detectives who served the warrants are part of a new unit within Metro Police, a squad assigned to investigate alleged wrongdoing by public officials -- in essence, a political corruption unit. The team was quietly formed several weeks ago. The Deane case is its first, but won't be its last.

Law enforcement sources also told the I-Team that Deane appears to have developed a gambling problem and that this might be why she allegedly sold public property for personal profit.

Email investigative reporter George Knapp at gknapp@klastv.com


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