A circle of sorts was completed yesterday at District Court in Las Vegas. Onetime promising Clark County Commissioner Lynette Boggs was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of filing a false statement of residency, which is a gross misdemeanor. She entered an “Alford” plea agreement, under which she admitted no wrongdoing but conceded that prosecutors could prove their case at trial (read the story by the R-J's David Kihara here.)
The agreement closes a 2007 case in which Boggs was indicted in two felony counts of perjury and two felony counts of filing false documents after it was discovered, by private investigators working for the Culinary Union and Police Protective Association (two organizations not favored by the commissioner), Boggs was not actually living in the southwest Clark County District F, which she represented. She was actually residing in Summerlin, as tapes showing her taking out the trash in a pink bathrobe at her Summerlin residence comically proved. Boggs was also charged with perjury after listing a $1,230 in baby-sitter payments as campaign expenses. She late repaid her campaign the money.
Boggs paid in other ways, though. Heavily favored to regain her seat on the board against an inexperience and underfunded Susan Brager before the controversy surfaced, Boggs was instead thumped in her re-election bid and her political career is over. She has since moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she now lives with her parents and works as a substitute teacher while planning to apply for law school at the University of Texas in Austin. Boggs’ children and a few of her friends still live here, but she has scant remaining connections to Las Vegas.
The timing of this already distinctive case was striking. At about the moment Boggs, whose future in the Republican Party as one of its few African-American officeholders was neon-bright (she was once part of a local welcoming party for a fundraising visit by President Bush), was ordered to pay the 2K, Barack Obama was being sworn into office as our first black president. Also, the Miss America Pageant is in town for Saturday’s show, and Boggs is a former Miss America pageant contestant (as Miss Oregon, 1986) who was once a member of the Miss America Organization Board of Directors. In that role she was instrumental in luring the contest to Las Vegas in 2006, and attended the preliminary competition last night at the Planet Hollywood Theatre for the Performing Arts. Thus, it was one of the more memorable days for the memorable Las Vegas public figure, who after appearing in court told the Associated Press, "I really believe things happen for a reason, to give us an opportunity to figure out what we're doing."
I met Boggs early in 2006, at the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute Keep Memory Alive Gala (she was also a member of that board, where she drew a six-figure salary before controversy torpedoed her political career) and, her public missteps notwithstanding, I’ve found her to be one of the more compelling figures I’ve encountered in Las Vegas. I agree with Jon Ralston’s take on the Boggs' fine. The price is paid, and I have a strong feeling we haven’t heard the last of Linnie B.