Eyewitness News has learned that an investigation has been underway since late July into political machinations involving a prominent law firm and the Nevada Supreme Court.
A political corruption task force made up of FBI agents and Metro Detectives has been working the case since late summer.
Key players include one of the best known political consultants in the state, a highly successful law firm and a former justice on the state Supreme Court. It's a story that is likely to get even bigger in the days to come, even if it never results in formal charges.
Gary Gray is a high successful political consultant who has managed some 200 political campaigns over the last 20 years, including the campaigns of his wife, current Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, her fellow commissioner Tom Collins and many other elected officials.
Earlier this year, Gray was chosen to run the campaign of Supreme Court candidate Kris Pickering, her first run for office.
Law enforcement sources say that in late July, Gray presented Pickering with an unusual proposal. He allegedly told her that a sum of $200,000 was going to be plowed into her race. The money could either be used for Pickering or against her.
If Pickering didn't want the money to go to someone else, she would have to sign an agreement that, if elected to the Nevada Supreme Court, she would recuse herself from any eminent domain cases which might come before the court involving the law firm of prominent attorney Laura Fitzsimmons.
Pickering was aghast at the proposal, sources close to the story say. She could not believe her campaign manager would ask such a thing.
Gray reportedly informed Pickering that other Supreme Court justices had already signed similar letters. When asked for an example, Gray invoked the name of veteran justice and former Lieutenant Governor Bob Rose.
According to investigators, Gray retrieved a copy of the letter signed by Rose from Gray's longtime friend, businessman Joe Lamarca, who reportedly had been holding it. Gray presented it to Pickering three days later.
By that time, Pickering had already contacted the FBI.
In late July, lawmen served a search warrant on Gray's home office. The only item seized from the office was a copy of the letter signed by Rose. Around the same time, Pickering dropped Gray's company from her campaign.
Since that time, investigators have been piecing together possible connections between these and other players.
Campaign records show Laura Fitzsimmons, who has won an estimated $65 million in eminent domain judgments, is one of the largest donors to Supreme Court candidates in the state. So is Joe Lamarca.
Fitzsimmons and Lamarca are also business partners according to county records.
Just last week, Fitzsimons was listed as a host for a campaign event benefiting Deborah Schumacher, Kris Pickering's opponent in the general election.
Fitzsimmons is also the lawyer who helped County Commission candidate Steve Sisolak win a $6.5 million eminent domain judgment from Clark County regarding land he owned near the airport and is one of his largest campaign contributors.
Sisolak's campaign manager is Gary Gray.
Gary Gray declined to be interviewed but told the I-Team he "can't comment until this is resolved, and I believe it will be resolved in my favor."
The I-Team has learned prosecutors at the local and federal levels have looked at the case but so far, they don't see any crime. It looks sleazy but might not be illegal. However, the investigation is very much alive and ongoing.
A spokesperson for Kris Pickering's campaign said she could not comment.
Law enforcement sources say had it not been for Pickering, they would never have learned about this matter.
The I-Team called attorney Laura Fitzsimons but she was unavailable.
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