Pioche resident Carol White, who has complained lately about the County’s connections with Ashley Hall and Associates over money received from the U.S. Air Force, had an agenda item on the Nov. 17 Commission meeting.
She was requesting the board to terminate their contract with Ashley Hall for non-performance.
White contends open meeting laws were violated at the very beginning of the County’s association with Hall in December 2011, and has written several letters to the editor of the Lincoln County Record critical of the Board’s dealings with Ashley Hall and Associates since that time.
In a letter to the editor Oct. 17, she asked, in part, the Commissioners to “cease and desist in their questionable acts and actions relating to the assessment, receipt and distribution of Possessory Use Taxes collected from the Air Force on behalf of the private contractors operating at Area 51, and violations in having a private firm assess property, in “negotiating” with the Air Force for payment of “back taxes”, in signing (allegedly) non-disclosure agreements with the Pentagon, and in passing a resolution which effectively violates laws relating to the apportionment of Possessory Use Taxes.”
All parties were present in the Commission chambers for the agenda item, but White at first asked to have the item delayed until the next Commission meeting as Commissioner Paul Donohue was absent. Chairman Ed Higbee said Hall and his party were here now, had traveled all the way from Las Vegas, and asked if White wouldn’t go ahead and make her statement anyway. Not wanting to at first, White eventually did speak briefly.
Addressing the Board, she said, “Agenda items were not properly agendized, you did not openly or properly deliberate, the contract implies the contractor was selected in accordance with Nevada law, but there was no competition, so I don’t see how he could have been selected.” She also stated Hall and Associates did not consult with the County Assessor and a special committee on to how to estimate and/or calculate all the delinquent Possessory Use Tax that is owed by all applicable contractors identified. That was never done.”
White also listed several other items she said were never done as specified in the language of the contract, and thereby Hall and Associates are guilty of breach of contract.
James Adams, Attorney for Ashley Hall, responded by saying that “many incorrect statements have been made and they did not want those statements to go unchallenged.”
He stated, “For many years, Lincoln County was undercompensated on certain areas related to certain governmental areas and installations. The contract was able to resolve the under compensation, and after the completion of the consultation services of Hall, the amount of revenue from the Air Force to be received by the County annually has grown by about 10 times, a 2,600 percent increase.”
Adams challenged White’s oft-repeated quote, “That was never done,” by saying she has provided no evidence of such, and the board did receive many reports of the work being done by the consultants. He said, “I can’t think of a single thing that wasn’t done pursuant to the contract. There is no way this contract has been materially breached. It was a wonderful opportunity to do that job and choose the right team to get the job done, and Lincoln County is better off for it.”
Commissioners took no action and the item died on the table for lack of a second.