Incumbent Reno Candidates Keep Raking in Developer Donations Linked to Current Projects
Look Who’s First
Looking at 2021 monetary contributions in excess of $100 to our Reno city council officials running for re-election, developer money stands out yet again, including related to projects often voted on at City Council.
Topping even Mayor Hillary Schieve is Ward 4 Councilwoman Bonnie Weber, with a whopping total of $82,210.
Weber made headlines last year for being investigated for possible ethics violations after a complaint private meetings she held with North Valleys property developers and builders included privately paid-for lunches and were attended by city staff. Weber was cleared but investigators concluded city ethics policies do “not adequately address situations where City staff attend meetings that are hosted or organized by elected officials. City staff chose to participate in Weber’s events to educate and engage the development community in North Valleys, elicit input and feedback on City policies and procedures, exchange information, and discuss mutual problems and solutions.”
Developers with Projects Before City Council Giving Thousands to Weber and Schieve
Big contributions Weber received last year include $10,000 from Newport Pacific Land (running the project formerly known as Daybreak now renamed Talus Valley), $10,000 from C Bluth (connected to Bluth Development), $7,500 from the Heinz Ranch Land Company (with the StoneGate Reno project), $5,000 from Tanamera Construction, $1,500 from Sage River Development, $1,500 from Dennis Banks Construction, $1,000 from Tolles Development, $1,000 from Marmot Properties and $1,000 from KDH Builders.
Hillary Schieve raked in $81,650, nearly identical to Weber’s total. Some of Schieve’s big contributions also came from the Heinz Ranch Land Company ($5,000), Marmot Properties ($1,000), Tanamera Construction ($2,500) and Tolles Development ($1,000). Other contributing developers included S3 Development ($2,500) and Pacific Development ($2,500). Schieve also got a $2,000 contribution from Lewis Rocca, the law firm representing motel purchasing and destroying Jacobs Entertainment.
These companies, paying thousands and thousands of dollars to incumbents going for re-election, have business plans routinely being approved by City Council. These include Newport Pacific Land and its Talus Valley project, in southeast Reno’s Butler Ranch area, which Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus has appealed against unsuccessfully. As is often the case, Brekhus was also a lone vote against issuing over $36 million in municipal bonds to Heinz Ranch behind the massive StoneGate housing project in Cold Springs.
Schieve Gets Generous End of the Year Contributions
Schieve had a fruitful last few days of 2021, with $5,000 coming from the Committee to Elect (current councilwoman) Neoma Jardon on December 28th, $1,000 from the Committee to Elect (current councilman) Devon Reese on December 30th and $10,000 from Caesars Entertainment on that same day.
Overall contributions in excess of $100 for Naomi Duerr, who is running for re-election in Ward 2, were much lower, with a total of $29,222. The Reno Firefighters ($5,000) and Atlantis Casino ($2,500) were her biggest donors.
Jenny Brekhus, a current councilwoman who is running for mayor, got $20,175 in contributions over $100. Her biggest contributions were from individuals including Erika and Brian White who gave her a combined $10,000 or more than half her total, if a contribution of $1,800 Brekhus made to herself is deducted.
Our Reporting This Week
Our podcast is with Spencer Banda who helps with multiple local mutual aid groups.