Thursday, 28 October 2004 08:12

Circle of Corrupt Government

Written by Hunters Alert
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What the hell ever happened to government for the people, by the people.  Today it is government protecting corrupt government employees. Think about it. Nevada has literally thousands of state employees and you never hear of any one of them being prosecuted. I guess they are all perfect employees. Let me give you an example of a corrupt state agency in Nevada and who protects this agency. The head of the Nevada Department of Wildlife for twenty years was Willie Molini. Here is a partial list of his corruption and the other government agencies that protected him during his tenure.

The big game tag draw was under his jurisdiction. This may not seem like a big deal but a desert bighorn sheep tag was auctioned off in Nevada for $101,000.00. There are people who will put it all their life and never draw this tag as there are approximately only 120 issued yearly. There are other tags that are almost impossible to draw but when Willie Molini was in charge of the tag draw, he drew all of the major tags in a seven year period. One of the tags included drawing the last Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tag before the area became a national park. A state audit of the big game tag draw revealed incidences of “abuse or illegal acts“. His boss was then governor Bob Miller and he refused to take any action on the matter. In other words, just let the corruption continue. It took two sportsmen’s organizations, HUNTER’S ALERT and Nevada Hunters Association at two legislative sessions to have the tag draw removed from the agency’s control and put out to privatization.

Nevada Hunters Association did many hours of investigative work to discover the big game tag draw was rigged. With proof in hand, they took this information to the Grand Jury. They told the Grand Jury foreman this could bring down some people in very high places. The foreman said that they weren’t worried about that. They had the proof and they would indict. A few weeks later, the jury foreman acted like we had leprosy, even refusing to discuss the issue. We always felt that because it was an election year, someone had called them off, most likely another corrupt politician.

Willie Molini was printing and mailing a private organization’s newsletter. In doing so, he used state materials, state employees and state money. We took this piece of corruption to then attorney general Frankie Sue Del Papa and her ruling was that there was no criminal intent. Apparently with this ruling, it is okay to steal from the taxpayers. We took it to the Ethics Commission and they stated that we were not allowed to talk about the issue outside of the Ethics Commission meeting. In this instance alone, we have two state agencies protecting him, and his boss, the governor who did nothing about it.

Willie Molini gave some desert bighorn sheep (our state animal) to a private ranch in Texas. These sheep were auctioned off to the highest bidder to be hunted. In return, he and two Wildlife commissioners went to Texas under the guise of checking up on the sheep. In essence, it was a hunting trip for all three of them. This was a whitetail deer hunt paid for by the owner of the ranch that received the sheep. This hunt would normally have cost anyone else thousands of dollars. In other words, they traded our state animal for a free hunting trip. Upon investigation of their expense account, we found out that the state had paid for their transportation. We requested copies of their expense account and guess what, that was the only month of expenses they couldn’t find. We asked the attorney general to show us proof that the state did not pay for their transportation. She refused, saying that she had looked at it and it was okay. Again, protected by another state agency, the office of the attorney general. This agency should have prosecuted all of them. Instead, she chose to protect them.

Without a doubt, one of the most inhumane things Willie Molini did occurred on a helicopter flight in 1995. The most powerful person in the state is not the governor. It is the person who controls the money and that person, Bill Raggio, is the Senate Finance chairman. He and Willie Molini were looking for chukar before the season. Sportsmen don’t have this $500 an hour helicopter luxury. Willie Molini was flying the senator to his private gun club and it was disguised as a “bird count”. However, once again an investigation showed no documentation that a bird count was ever produced from this flight. The truth of the matter is they were looking to see where the chukar were to enhance their chances of success when the season opened.

During this flight there was an SOS distress call for injured BLM firemen. Willie Molini refused and ordered the pilot to proceed. In other words, let the firemen die or suffer. Why didn’t the good senator do the right thing to help the firemen? We heard about this travesty and did an investigation. The end result was they fired the helicopter pilot for telling the truth about the incident. Boy, now that’s real justice!

In September, 1996, Willie Molini was drinking alcohol at a state-sponsored workshop. He then left, driving a state vehicle to a saloon where he continued to drink. He became involved in a fist fight at the bar and wound up with four broken ribs. His boss then was Pete Morros. And what was his reaction to this? He would not take any disciplinary action against him. Once again, government protecting a corrupt state employee. The governor’s punishment for a state employee drinking, driving while on state business using a state vehicle and fighting in a bar? The governor placed a letter in his file! The governor’s executive assistant, Richard Urey stated this was his first infraction. Willie Molini was corrupt for years, but this was his first infraction? Willie Molini was protected by various state agencies during his twenty years as head of Nevada Department of Wildlife.

We thought the agency might cleanse itself as Willie Molini retired in 1998 and a new governor took over the following year. Willie Molini was replaced by his assistant, Terry Crawforth and the corruption continues. The new governor, Kenny Guinn stated on numerous occasions that if he were elected, he would straighten out Nevada Department of Wildlife.  After five years, it hasn’t happened  and it is not going to happen.

A petition was sent to the governor about our declining game numbers and how current administrator Terry Crawforth was doing nothing about it. People were angry and they wanted something done. The governor sent a form letter to everyone blaming everything but Terry Crawforth. The last line of the governor’s response said it all. “I am hopeful that NDOW, the Wildlife Commission and the public can work together to ensure sound management of Nevada’s wildlife on state and federal lands.”  Translated, this means I’m not going to do anything about the corruption in NDOW so why don’t you just join us?  Why the hell does anyone want to work within the system when the system is corrupt?

Terry Crawforth’s background was in law enforcement and that is his main focus. It seems as though all government agencies are putting more emphasis on law enforcement. They want more rules and more regulations than ever before and to enforce the ever increasing rules, more law enforcement personnel are needed. To hell with producing more game which produces more revenue. This seems to be Terry Crawforth’s attitude. We have lost our sage grouse and there are people who want them put on the Endangered Species list. We have lost 70 percent of our deer herd and no one in a position of authority seems to care, especially Terry Crawforth.

Under his guidance, NDOW still had their hand in the big game tag draw and sportsmen had to go to another legislative session to get the agency removed from the tag draw. His game wardens have run rough shod on the public including offering bribes and violating the law themselves. Of course, no state agency has done an investigation on these matters. And finally, a state audit in fiscal year 2001-2002 revealed an NDOW employee racked up 1100 hours of overtime pay, the equivalent of 137 days of work in one year. An NDOW employee was called into full time National Guard service. Terry Crawforth kept him on the payroll stating that he was “working at home”.

Where are the governor and the attorney general when this double dipping corruption is taking place? Oh, that’s right. This article is about state employees protecting corrupt state employees.  Meanwhile, let’s just keep naming schools and government buildings after governors and senators who do nothing about corruption in state government.

by Cecil Fredi
reprinted from the US Oregon Observer 

Cecil Fredi is president of  HUNTER’S ALERT, a statewide organization keeping sportsmen informed. HUNTER’S ALERT, 1736 E. Charleston, #240, Las Vegas, NV 89104

Last modified on Monday, 23 October 2006 07:28
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