In this Reality Check, we are again talking about a race that is getting really nasty. It's the Senate District 15 race. Thursday night, we showed you a spot that slams Republican Heidi Gansert. Her campaign responded to those attacks with attack of their own against Devon Reese.
Announcer: "Devon Reese. Reese lobbied for a special interest client and put their profits ahead of the needs of our community. Now that client is helping his campaign."
This claim is misleading. Last year, Ventures 39 was trying to build a rock crushing plant in Verdi. Devon Reese represented the owner of the company, Ryan Kautz, but he was never a registered lobbyist for Ventures 39.
"I have the distinct pleasure representing and working with Ryan Kautz, who was the owner and applicant in this case," said Reese at a town hall meeting in February 2015.
As to whether Kautz helped with his campaign, that is hard to tell. I checked three campaign finance reports from the Nevada Secretary of State's Office.
Kautz as an individual, and his company did not financially contribute to Reese's campaign.
Announcer: "Reese ran up $600,000 in personal debt, including a whopping $100,000 credit card bill."
These claims are true. In United States Bankruptcy Court filings, Devon Reese and his ex-wife incurred $604,962 worth of debt. That includes things like car loans, and a mortgage. They also owed just over $57,000 in student loan debt, and $97,559 in unpaid credit card debt from seven different credit cards since 1993.
Announcer: "He declared bankruptcy and walked away, leaving us holding the bag."
Misleading. Reese's family declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April of 2009. As for the claim that taxpayers are left with the tab? I called Reno bankruptcy attorney Harold Comanse who said when somebody files Chapter 7, it doesn't end up being us who are burdened. A credit card company might take a small loss, but it does not directly affect the taxpayer.
Announcer: "Devon Reese, an irresponsible special interest lobbyist we just can't trust."
Opinion. There's always more to the story. Reese lost his job, and his house ended up being foreclosed on during this time.
Devon Reese released this statement to Channel 2 News in regards to the debt allegations:
"Like thousands of other Nevadans, I lost my job during the Great Recession. Our family was hit hard, and we ultimately lost our home and went through bankruptcy before getting back on our feet. As part of those proceedings, a court determined that our debts were not frivolous spending but related to the necessities of life.
Throughout this campaign, I have only ever criticized Heidi Gansert for her professional record of cutting a billion dollars from our schools, slashing teacher pay, and taking a $180,000 taxpayer-funded job immediately after cutting pay and benefits for other public employees. I will not engage in the personal mudslinging or the trafficking in the misfortune of others that she does."