The husband of Vice President Kamala Harris’ newly appointed top adviser is embroiled in a bribery and corruption scandal that could bankrupt Sin City.
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones, 47, was a lawyer for an environmental group when in 2018 he allegedly struck an ‘illegal and corrupt deal’ with Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, killing a real estate developer’s plans for a high-density housing development on 2,400 acres near Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Under his company, Gypsum Resources, and backed by his creditors, plaintiff Jim Rhodes is now suing the county and its board for damages he claims total more than $1 billion.
If successful, the settlement could wipe out the $1.5 billion budget of Nevada County, home to Las Vegas and its world-famous Strip.
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones (left) is the husband of one of Vice President Kamala Harris’ top advisers Megan Jones. Justin Jones is involved in a corruption scandal, DailyMail.com can reveal
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak made an illegal and corrupt deal with Jones, the court papers allege
The deal killed real estate developer Jim Rhodes’ plans for a residential development on 2,400 acres near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. (Rhodes is pictured with wife Glenda)
Jones’ wife Megan Jones was named special assistant to the president and director of public engagement in the office of the vice president last month, according to her LinkedIn page. She had worked closely with former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for more than 20 years before his death last December.
Among the allegations against Jones is that he deleted emails – including many to his wife – as he tried to cover his tracks.
Rhodes, a well-known Vegas developer, claims he is the victim of a crime and that Justin Jones and Sisolak’s “shocking and grotesque violations of the law and Gypsum’s rights” have left his land worthless and bankrupt.
In court records obtained by DailyMail.com, Jones is accused of trading on his powerful public support for Sisolak, then the commission chairman and a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and vowed to dismiss an ‘unpleasant lawsuit’ brought by ‘Save Red Rock’ . conservation group, for which he was legal advisor.
In return, Jones demanded Sisolak’s commitment to vote ‘no’ to Gypsum’s plans and delay a key vote until Jones himself was in office.
At the time, Jones was running for a seat on the commission and expected to win. The environmental lawyer had campaigned on the promise that he would scrap Rhodes’ plans in his first 100 days in office.
According to the lawsuit now filed by Rhodes, Jones and Sisolak’s agreement amounted to a legal quid pro quo—trading something of value (Jones’s campaign support and the dismissal of the lawsuit) in exchange for an official act (Sisolak opposed the land-use voice and kick the voice down the road.)
When Jones was first installed as a commissioner, the suit continues, he failed to recuse himself and misled the ethics commission about the extent of his interests in derailing Rhodes’ plans so he could vote against the developer’s application.
Rhodes is now suing Clark County and the board for damages he claims total more than $1 billion
According to the suit, ‘In addition to openly expressing personal animus against his “archenemy Jim the Sprawl Developer,” Jones had an even more personal interest in seeing Gypsum’s major project application come to an end.
‘Jones served as counsel for Save Red Rock in litigation regarding the same applications that Commissioner Jones ultimately voted to deny. In fact, Jones misled the ethics commission so he could vote against Gypsum’s waivers and applications.’
Rhodes’ lawyers point out that Jones was so personally invested in his opposition to Rhodes that he posted a photo of himself on his Facebook page on October 31, 2018, dressed in his Halloween costume of ‘The Red Rock Guy’.
In fact, Rhodes’ lawyers point out, Jones was so personally invested in his opposition to Rhodes that he posted a photo of himself on his Facebook page on October 31, 2018, dressed in his Halloween costume of ‘The Red Rock Guy’ .
The photo attached as an exhibit in their complaint is accompanied by the caption, ‘I dressed up as alternate superhero The Red Rock Guy for Halloween!
‘My superpower makes a compelling case for preserving and fending off my archenemy, Jim the Sprawl Developer!’
In his taped deposition, Jones repeatedly denied under oath having used the word “archenemy” in relation to Rhodes.
Now Rhodes’ lawyers have accused Jones of destroying evidence in his attempt to cover up his ‘crime’.
DailyMail.com has learned they have urged the court to impose “significant financial penalties” on Jones and the county, alleging the commissioner destroyed incriminating texts and emails.
Their move comes after a federal judge took the extraordinary step of ordering Jones to hand over his iPhone for forensic imaging after the commissioner failed to produce all relevant material he had been asked to, including any relevant communications he may have had with his wife, Megan Jones.
Megan worked for Harris in Nevada during her 2020 presidential campaign.
Megan, a Las Vegas native, has been married to Jones since 1996 and they have two children together.
But any texts the 26-year-old couple may have exchanged about Jones’ maneuvers have long since been deleted.
Megan worked for Harris in Nevada during her 2020 presidential campaign. The vice president recently tapped Megan to bring her into her office as a special government employee ahead of the November midterm elections
Jones is accused of trading his powerful public support for Sisolak, then the commission chairman and a gubernatorial candidate, and vowing to dismiss a ‘nasty lawsuit’ brought by Save Red Rock, the conservation group for which he was legal counsel .
If Rhodes is successful, the settlement could wipe out the $1.5 billion budget of the Nevada county, home to Vegas and its world-famous Strip
The forensic examination of his phone showed that Jones deleted all his texts “en masse” on the day the commission voted on Gypsum’s application.
According to the motion, reviewed by DailyMail.com, “Jones and the county have multiplied these cases in an attempt to conceal the knowing destruction of evidence in this case.”
It added: ‘After months of delays, misrepresentations, motions and hearings, the bankruptcy court finally ordered imaging of Jones’ cell phone and iCloud accounts, revealing yet another series of shameful and deceptive acts.’
The forensic image revealed that ‘Jones destroyed all text messages shortly after the public vote on Gypsum’s land use applications.’
Jones, the motion states, had a duty to preserve evidence. It said: ‘There can be no dispute that Jones had relevant text messages which were not preserved as required.
“But Jones went far beyond that, actively deleting countless pieces of information in an attempt to hide his illegal scheme.”
Jones’s lack of transparency was exposed in the first place because not all parties had done the same.
He had blind-copied emails in which he made his illegal offer to Sisolak to Andy Maggi, head of the Nevada Conservation League.
Megan, a Las Vegas native, has been married to Jones since 1996 and they have two children together
In those emails, obtained by Rhodes’ lawyers, “The offer was as simple as it was brazen: Jones would trade campaign support from the environmental groups and the dismissal [of an ‘uncomfortable’ lawsuit] for Sisolak’s immediate commitment to vote ‘no’ on Gips.’
In another communication to Maggi, Jones wrote: ‘Well, I’m doing my part. If Sisolak doesn’t want to play, then it’s going to blow up in his face.’
The suit states: “With this pressure… the deal had been closed, with Sisolak releasing a statement committing to vote against Gypsum’s applications.”
According to Rhodes’ lawyer Todd Bice: ‘They didn’t deny it because of water. They didn’t deny it because of the traffic. They denied it because of a backroom deal and then got rid of the evidence to try to cover up the backroom deal.’
Sisolak, the county and Jones have denied the allegations against them and continue to claim that Rhodes failed to comply with various procedural requirements when it came to his major planning application.
That, they claim, and not any ‘backroom deals’ is what killed his development.
The motion to impose sanctions for the destruction of evidence will be heard in federal court in Nevada on October 20.