A Las Vegas developer expected to play a major role in the East Valley’s growth has 90 days to decide whether he will testify under oath about why he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a corrupt former Nevada official.
Jim Rhodes, who in December bought more than 1,000 acres of state trust land in Pinal County and rights to plan the surrounding 6,700 acres, needs to explain why he continued to pay disgraced former Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny $200,000 annually after Kenny admitted to taking bribes from Las Vegas strip club owner Michael Galardi, according to Judge Dwight Nodes of the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Nodes’ order reopened a commission investigation of Rhodes, who is seeking certificates of convenience and necessity to operate water and sewer companies that would serve more than 50,000 homes he plans to build in Mohave County.
However, in a special hearing Friday, Rhodes’ attorney Jeff Crockett asked Nodes for a 90-day delay so his client could pursue other options, such as asking Mohave County officials to grant him an exemption from ACC authority under what are known as improvement districts.
Nodes granted the request, but only after denying Crockett’s initial request to overturn the order for Rhodes to testify. Now, Rhodes has until November to decide whether he will talk under oath or withdraw his application.
Last month, Kenny testified in a criminal trial in Nevada that she was still being paid by Rhodes as a consultant.
Kenny went to work for Rhodes the day after she left the Clark County Commission in January 2003, and admitted five months later to taking payoffs from Galardi and a real estate consultant.
Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes attended Friday’s hearing and asked Crockett pointed questions about Rhodes’ apparent reluctance to answer questions about his relationship with Kenny.
Crockett said Rhodes is not accused of any illegal activity with regard to Kenny and is simply looking for quicker alternatives to get his Mohave County project under way.