Question: How Corrupt can a Las Vegas HOA System Get? Answer: How Wild is your Imagination?

Another Las Vegas Police Captain has agreed to take a guilty plea in the massive federal investigation of crooked Homeowner Associations. Captain Frank Sutton admits he’s guilty in a massive fraud scheme to stack the boards of Homeowner Associations so they could steer legal work and construction defect contracts and litigation to a group of Las Vegas insiders. He’s the fourth police official connected. The first one, Christopher Van Cleef, committed suicide.Captain Sutton says he served simultaneously on three HOA boards, High Noon, Mission Ridge, and Park Avenue in an effort to stack the boards. He tried to get on a fourth board, Pebble Creek.At the same time, Sutton worked for construction company boss Leon Benzer, a night club owner, whose ancillary businesses included a long list of construction companies which handled the HOA work. Insurance companies poured money into Benzer, and into construction defects attorney Nancy Quon.It’s the largest official corruption investigation in Nevada’s history. It’s also one of the largest in the history of the FBI and the US Attorney’s office.


There are still many public officials contemplating whether to take guilty pleas or be indicted, including police officers, judges, elected officials and others, and a whole lot of frightened public officials in Nevada who rightly think they could be next.

Stalling the investigation, is the spector that four of the first ten suspects indicted committed “suicide,” several in extremely suspicious circumstances. But the federal investigation plods on.

Some of the future indictments are said to be “earthshaking.” Hopefully, no political influences will be brought in this election year to surpress the kinds of indictments which could actually make a difference in American justice.

Another interesting thought: this identical type of FBI investigation could be dropped into any major American city and it would discover the same kind of endemic corruption. It’s organized crime. It’s absolutely in violation of federal RICO statutes. It’s desperately in need of being stomped out in the strongest possible and aggressive attack. If our prisons were filled with corrupt HOA officials, there wouldn’t be too many tears shed on the outside. A national investigation of this sort could actually save a number of suffering Homeowner Associations.

Excellent reporting, BTW, by Las Vegas Review Journal reporter Jeff German.

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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