A Taste of G-Sting - Las Vegas Weekly

A Taste of G-Sting

Phone tapes played in court tell a story of duplicitous personalities

Richard Abowitz

In fact, it's almost easy to feel sorry for Galardi. Galardi's relative straightforwardness may be one reason he comes off well by comparison to these now former politicians he will eventually be the star witness against. More than anyone else on the tapes Galardi lacks ambiguity; he seems to be clearly talking about bribes. But these weasel politicians keep frustrating his plans by seeming to not want to stay bribed; they vanish for key votes, can't work at the schedule he expects or deliver the results he wants. Did he even bribe them at all? That answer is for the jury to decide. Galardi's primary contact with the elected officials is his employee, the duplicitous former commissioner Lance Malone. And, in the tapes played on Monday, at least, Malone and the Commissioners clearly prefer language that is littered with far more nuance and ambiguity and code.

Galardi wanted in March 2002 to change the rules for topless bars to allow fully nude dancing and he assigned Malone to get the vote to happen right away. Malone knew there was little chance of that happening, but he told him he'd do it anyway, then made a few half-hearted calls. One call was to Erin Kenny, who pointed out the obvious: How can I pass Galardi's resolution when he hasn't written it or approved it? (Kenny, of course, is the one Commissioner who also copped a plea.)

Malone agreed with her that Galardi was acting impulsively, and he reported back to Galardi what was obvious from the start—nothing could happen that quickly—but made it seem like he'd put up an epic battle on Galardi's behalf. Throughout all of the tapes is the language of friendship. Malone fondly calls Commissioner Kenny, E-K, and he commiserates with Galardi using the word "buddy" like the two (who will be on opposite sides of Malone's trial in August) were facing the fires of hell, arms locked.

At another point, Galardi, hoping to enlist Commisssioner Yvonne Atkinson Gates' support on the ordinance, was pushed to hire an attorney, Jay Brown, who Galardi is repeatedly assured can get Atkinson Gates to do anything. It is unclear how much Brown was paid by Galardi, if anything, but the cost bandied about for the lawyer was in the $50,000 range. But rather than that happening Gates went—in the words of one Commissioner—on a "jihad" against the topless bar industry proposing a distance rule and a ban on lap dancing. Totally frustrated, Galardi wants Malone to just give her $100,000 for her campaign (under the ostensible and hilariously hypocritical reason that Galardi loves the great job she is doing) to get her to pull the ordinance.

The problem is Gates won't talk to Malone:

"Feed her all the bullshit," Galardi instructed Malone.

"I'd love to feed her the bullshit, if she'd return my call."

In fact, even the other commissioners can't help because Gates will no longer talk to Kenny or allegedly talk to Kincaid-Chauncey (who is the defendant in this case along with Herrera).

In another conversation Galardi and Malone take turns complaining in hyperbolic terms what an unfeeling and uncaring person Gates must be because the proposed ordinance will destroy the economy of all Las Vegas. They decide her only motive for the ordinance must be a cynical run for another office (though they aren't sure which office). They are appalled at her cravenness. It's always funny to hear Galardi and Malone be civic- minded, when they offer up "the bullshit." For example, Malone reports to Galardi that Dario Herrera felt that supporting all nude dancing in bars might jeopardize his congressional race. So, the duo of wannabe Karl Roves decide Herrera should tell his constituents that by adding alcohol into an environment that allows fully naked dancing, prostitution will be reduced in clubs and Metro will be saved lots of work. Sadly, the logic of this thinking was not offered at the trial. Apparently, even though he doesn't come across as the brightest guy, Herrera wasn't even sold on Galaradi's imaginative argument for nude dancing at bars, because at least on the tapes played Monday morning, more than anyone, he was the Commissioner playing hard to get. When Malone tries to convince Herrera to come see Jaguars (then under construction), the married Commissioner says he will never get caught doing that again. Beyond an allusion to Internet reports it was unclear what previous incident prompted Herrera's reluctance, but his refusal to visit a topless bar in the conversation must have been one of the few non-humiliating moments for his wife, who spent the morning sitting by herself at an otherwise empty bench on the defense side of the courtroom directly behind her husband. More typical of her experience was listening to a discussion in which the defense tried again to keep the jury from hearing about Herrera's stay at the Four Seasons with another woman and the $4,000 necklace he allegedly purchased for her.

The general assumption is that Galardi copped a plea and turned witness for the prosecution only to avoid a lengthy jail term. But listening to the tapes in court reveals another motive: Maybe he just wants to get back at the duplicitous Lance Malone and all the Clark County Commissioners charged with being on the take through him. After all, Galardi clearly seems to feel he bribed each and every one of them and for all the money he spent, I'm sure it would provide tremendous validation if the jury at least agrees with him about that.

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