The Ongoing Las Vegas HOA Horror Show

I’ve been in the news business for 40 years and I’ve seen so many goofy things happen. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Yes, police investigators need to ask for lighter prison sentences for informants. But they have an overwhelming obligation to protect the public. That’s their primary job. When the number two player in a 60 million dollar scam victimizing Las Vegas homeowners agrees to cooperate with investigators, does that mean he gets off scott-free? Apparently in Las Vegas that’s exactly what it means. Ralph Priola could have been sentenced to 22 years. But federal prosecutors say he deserves no prison time. NONE!

Remember, Priola didn’t voluntarily cooperate with the cops. He was forced. This was a man caught throwing around 20,000 dollar bribes. This was a man as fundamentally corrupt as his boss, Leon Benzer, the mastermind of this massive scam. No jail time? Come on, guys, this was one of the two crooks who crashed the Las Vegas housing market. Prosecutors say he should only pay about 12 million dollars in restitution. But that’ll never happen. That will never, ever happen.

Jeff German, reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, deserves a Pulitzer for the work he’s done on the HOA scandal. It would be a major crime if he didn’t win ALL the journalism awards.

(link to German’s story on Ralph Priola)


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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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