Tony Lesperance, a rural thug whose activities against the United States Government in remote northeastern Nevada might now be considered terrorist acts under the Patriot Act, was appointed by Governor Jim Gibbons to head up Nevada's Department of Agriculture. Why the Governor would appoint a lawless miscreant to protect Nevada's food supply was a surprise to many. Unfortunately for the Virginia Range horses, Lesperance had authority over them also.
In April, 2008, Director Lesperance went before the state's Interim Finance Committee and told lawmakers that the horses were starving, the range was devoid of vegetation, and that he needed money from the cash strapped treasury to remove horses as rapidly as possible. Lesperance basically took the money and ran. Some speculate that the pitch was a ruse to get funds to cover some unpaid bills that the Department had run up.
Since then, there has been an ongoing battle between Lesperance and the various wild horse groups, with the wild horse groups levying various charges and Lesperance denying them.
The allegations include extortion, grand larceny, malfeasance, false statements, false certificates, and oppression under color of office. Most recently when one of the wild horse groups wanted to review public records to get a handle on what was going on at the Department, the response from the Department's counsel was that they were no longer available and apparently disposed of. In Nevada such records are required to be kept a minimum of six years from the time the documents "expired," so it looks like a new allegation will surface with respect to Director Lesperance's conduct.
Wild horse advocates generally agree that since Governor Gibbons seems to have little concern over the doings at the Department of Agriculture, the problem won't be fixed until Lesperance is formally charged and heads off to jail.
This all may sound over the top, but remember that this is the same state where a former mob lawyer turned Las Vegas Mayor is trying to use Federal stimulus money to build a
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