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It’s The Entitlements, Stupid! MSM and Harry Reid’s Sweetheart Deal

Friday, October 13, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Re: Harry Reid’s sweetheart deal, is the MSM:

a.)Too stupid to understand how land use works?

b.)Too lazy to do the digging on the key questions?

c.)Too partisan to turn over the rocks because the Democrats’ #1 senator is involved?

d.)All of the above?


On the chance that there are a couple of MSMers long on energy and curiosity but short on how to investigate a land deal, here are some of the questions that need answering, especially given the admission from Senator Reid that the failure to disclose his ownership interest may have been a violation of Senate rules.  The obvious possible motive behind a failure to reveal an interest is that the property was going through a public entitlement process that led to its dramatic increase in value.  The key to discovering any impropriety beyond the violation of Senate rules, then, is to focus on that entitlement process  –the one which Harry Reid may have wanted folks not to know he was involved with.

When Senator Reid bought the property in 1998, from whom did he buy it?

Did he pay cash, or did he have a mortgage?

How did the property come to his attention?

Was Senator Reid “aware” of any land trasnfers in the area from federal ownership to private ownership that might affect the value of the property?

Did Senator Reid take any steps to improve the value of the property during the period in which he and his wife were sole owners?

When Senator Reid and his wife sold the property to Patrick Lane LLC in which he received an interest in return, did he receive any cash at the same time, or any time that year, in partial consideration for his sale of the land to the partnership?

When did Patrick Lane, LLC begin its entitlement processing leading to a rezoning of the property?

Which boards and commissions did that entitlement come before and on what days?  Were staff reports prepared?  Did the entitlement application disclose ownership interests?  Were board and commission members laboring under conflict-of-interest codes?  Did any board or commission member recuse himself or herself from this entitlement action?

Which lawyer and law firm represented the Patrick Lane, LCC before the various boards and commissions that acted upon the entitlement request?

When did the final action get taken on the rezoning application?  Were there any conditions of approval?

To whom or what was Patrick Lane, LCC’s property sold in 2004?  Was a change of ownership filed with the county?How much was payed in total, and to whom was there payments amended?

Did Senator Reid retain any as yet undisclosed ownership interest in the entity to which the property was sold in 2004?

Did the development of the property require a Section 404 permit from the US Army Corp of Engineers?  Were there desert tortoises on the property (as is common in undeveloped Clark County) and was the property covered by the Clark County Desert Tortoise HCP? 

Ed Morrissey is digging around via Lexis/Nexis, but this sort of search will require reporters in Nevada who can drive over to the County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.  The Clark County Commission does not seem to have much in the way of online records and minutes from past meetings.

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