I-Team: Ex-Police chief calls Boulder City officials 'corrupt'

LAS VEGAS -- A former top cop says clean, green Boulder City is actually a steamy political swamp in need of fumigation. Former police chief Thomas Finn was fired last year because of conflicts with what he says is a political cabal running Boulder City. Finn moved away from Boulder City, but he isn't gone, by any means.

Ethics charges and legal motions are flying in Boulder City, thanks to an employee the city wanted gone. You may not think of Boulder City as a bubbling cauldron of political intrigue and conspiracies, but that's what police chief Tom Finn alleged last April before -- and after -- he was fired. He alleged that a homogenous cluster of interconnected elites calls the shots in Boulder City, and says they wanted him gone because he was a burr under their saddle. They had no idea how much trouble he could cause.

"I think a federal agency needs to come in and just start issuing subpoenas," Finn said.

Life is good for ex-police chief Finn and his wife Linda at their new home in scenic northern Nevada.

"You see the wild horses come down to the first tee box," said Donna Finn.

But one look at the home office and it's clear Tom Finn's focus is still on Boulder City. He watches online when his favorite cast of political characters meets, and digests material leaked to him.

"I get regular contact from city employees and city residents who say, 'you really may want to look at this.' What else could they do to me? They tried to convict me of felonies. They fired me. They blast me still on a regular basis. I'm not going away," Finn said.

He believes he was fired because he ran afoul of Boulder City's ruling cabal, a tight-knit network of officials linked by blood, marriage, and religion. So he's been bombarding them with ethics complaints.

"The overarching strategy is just identifying who the players are in this corruption in Boulder City, this feeling of I can do anything, the rules don't apply to me. It's a level of arrogance I've never seen before, even in New Jersey," Finn said.

Conveniently, the state ethics commission is only minutes from his front door. His first ethics complaint, filed against city council member Cam Walker, was upheld by the commission, which ruled that Walker did not properly disclose when he voted on a solar project, a project his employer wanted to build. It was a violation, the board ruled, but not a willful one.

"For him to have to be told by the city attorney that it was okay to vote on it or not vote on it, that raises some huge red flags in my mind. Do you really think that was appropriate?"

Finn's most recent target is city manager David Fraser. Finn suspects that Fraser ran Boulder City for a year while still living in northern Nevada, but the city won't cough up the travel records. Then a tipster mentioned that Fraser has a problem paying his utility bills. In Boulder City, utilities such as power, water and garbage are paid through the city, which means the bills are public information. Records show that 11 times in the last 15 months, Fraser received delinquency notices from the city for not paying his bills. Four times, he was sent disconnect notices.

"At some point, you would think there would be a wake up call when you are told your power is getting turned off and you have to run down to city hall to pay your bill," Finn said.

He suspects that Fraser, who earns $192,000 per year in salary and benefits, ordered city workers to stop the disconnections.

"I believe he is the highest paid city employee, as city manager. I don't understand it."

But the main target of his ire has been city attorney Dave Olsen. Finn has filed two ethics complaints and two bar complaints about Olsen, stemming from a lawsuit filed by Olsen's son. Records show the son was arrested for allegedly stealing naked photos from a woman's cell phone, he filed a wrongful arrest suit against Henderson police and Boulder City, and his father, the city attorney, signed on as his expert witness which means the city attorney was helping sue his own employer.

"Why did they not fire him? This is an outrage. He is helping his son sue his employer and he has intimate knowledge of that lawsuit," Finn said.

His ethics barrage is only the beginning. A federal board just gave him the green light to sue the city for wrongful termination. He says he will use that to shine a light on Boulder City's power players.

"Everything has tentacles. They are so interwoven throughout that city. As I said to my wife, so much corruption, so little time to deal with it, but I am finding the time."

The complaint against the city manager was rejected but Finn says he plans to refile it once he gets solid proof that Fraser gave orders to keep his electricity on. The city told Finn the reason it can't give him Fraser's travel records is there was a catastrophic computer failure so the records no longer exist.

The I-Team left messages for Fraser to ask him about his unpaid utility bills but didn't get a response. City attorney Dave Olsen also did not return calls to the I-Team. Finn says he expects to be in federal court within weeks with his wrongful termination lawsuit.


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