And Again. And Again.
It looks like another member of Team Storey Cronies will be getting fat stacks thanks to membership in the elite team you aren’t part of.
Readers may remember when Storey County took care of Marshall McBride and Ron Gallagher with the Million Dollar Parking Lot. McBride and Gallagher got big paydays for their dirt next to the Courthouse. Scott Jolcover sold his property to the VCTC after he oversaw the decision to lease his property to create the fairgrounds in the first place during his tenure on the VCTC board.
Marshall McBride is in line to collect earn another pile if (when) he sells his shack next to the Fire Station once the fire department bloats beyond its current footprint on C Street.
Remember The 6 P’s: Proper Planning Prevents P!$s Poor Performance
At the April 16 commissioner meeting, Justice of the Peace Eileen Herrington stood up and advised the Commissioners that Storey County is on notice by the First District Court to vacate the Courtroom at the Courthouse in 180 days. The whereases reveal the lack of proper planning and poor performance. “Whereas, Storey County over the last eight (8) years has failed to establish a separate Justice Coury facility despite numerous requests from the District Court and assurances that they were doing so” You can read Herrington’s statement and the District Court order at the bottom of this article.
JP Herrington went on to provide a brief history of time on this back and forth (mostly back) treatment of the plan to provide the public with a permanent building to take care of Storey County’s legal business.
Current and past County Commissions have kicked the Justice Center can down the road for the past 13 years. Frustrated with the lack of movement, The First District Court, who has jurisdiction over the Courtroom, has been telling Storey County to vacate the premises for years. They seem to have forgotten that Pat Whitten and Storey County Commissioners don’t like to be told what to do, especially by men and women who work in robes (including Judge Herrington).
JP Herrington cited the very serious security issues that surround the day to day operations inside the courtrooms across America. There are countless examples of violent incidents that happen in American Courtrooms. After JP Herrington read her statement, Commissioner McBride told her that the County simply hasn’t and doesn’t have the money to build her a “Taj Mahal”. The tone of McBride’s statement is revealing. We can afford a million dollar parking lot so we don’t track mud on the carpet of the Courthouse, but our County Commissioners would just as soon have sensitive and abusive family court matters, violent and domestic abuse cases, as well as scofflaws and regular Storey County residents have justice delivered in an unsafe Quonset Hut.
New Justice Center/Fitness Center
Multiple sources inside the County have told The Teller that after scuttling the plan to buy the middle school in 2024 when the Tesla abatements are over and the School District can build a new school, the County has decided to purchase the Divide Fitness building from Pat Whitten’s assistant Jessie Fain. Expect an announcement from the County in the coming days.
This will be a win win win for everyone concerned. Starting from scratch, building a Taj Mahal west would cost upwards of $4-6 million here in The Richest Place On Earth. Our sources tell us we can have the Fitness Center for somewhere between $2.5 to 3.5 million. Win (if your last name is Fain)!
JP Herrington described the security needs of a court facility in the real world. The Fitness Center building will need substantial modifications to bring the building up to modern Courthouse security standards. They will need to purchase more property for a ton more parking. The sheet metal walls will require hardening to be bulletproof. Offices, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, bulletproof windows parking lot barriers, all are security measures required for modern courthouse security. If the county actually decides to provide a modicum of security to the public and staff, back of the envelope estimates put these modifications at somewhere in the $1.5 million range. Contractors will get to upcharge the County whatever they can get away with; there are just 154 shopping days left to get ‘er done. Win (if you are a contractor, not a taxpayer)!
And The (Big) Winners are…
Nick and Jessie Fain. From what we can tell, they paid well under a million for the building. According to Storey County Assessors website, the building, built just 4 years ago, has a current taxable valuation of $682,206.
From all appearances, the Fitness Center is not breaking even. When I first moved back I became a member for a couple of months. Jessie told me she was 50-60 people short of break-even. The parking lot is emptier today than ever. After all, there are only 800+ folks in VC; many of them prefer 16oz curls on a barstool over 300-pound bench press lifts. Nick Fain will either shut MX Trophies down or move his operation closer to his workforce.
Jessie Fain has moved rapidly up the ranks since becoming Pat Whitten’s assistant. Her compensation has gone from $72k to $132k in recent years. Now it looks like being in the right place (your desk outside Pat Whitten’s office) at the right time (when Pat Whitten’s can kicking delay tactics finally come to an end) will pay dividends. Winner, winner, Filet Mignon and Lobster Dinner!
And while we are at it, let’s put another layer of gold on Pat Whitten’s legacy. Let’s rename the building “The Pat Whitten Justice Center”.
Go, Team Storey!
Court OrderCourt Order
Herrington StatementHerrington statement 4_16_2019
Update: Storey County Commissioner confirmed the purchase of the Divide Fitness building is underway on Facebook:
Greetings Storey County Residents,
I wanted to update everyone of what’s going on regarding the Justice Court project the County is looking at. Approximately 13 years ago, the project to construct a new Justice Court was born. For various reasons including exorbitant costs, the down turn in the economy the project was put on hold and never made it to completion. Fast forward to April 2019, the District Court Judges grew tired of waiting and handed down a court order for the Justice Court to vacate the courthouse/courtroom and gave the County 180 days to get this done.
If we moved forward on the initial location which is the empty lot next to the jail, The building which would House other departments besides the Justice Court would set us back approximately $4.5 million. Aside from the cost, quite a bit of site work would be needed to level the area and adequately address the serious drainage issues and this would stretch long past the 180 days. The County needs a good solution and in a short amount of time. One week ago today, the Divide property became an option. While there is quite a bit that has to come together in order for the Divide to become a truly viable option, it’s something the County is now seriously looking at. Unfortunately, the recent article published is so skewed and resembles the story of Chicken Little so I’ll do my best to cover all the true details of this option.
The County desperately needs a Justice Court which is up to date and meets all the current requirements for such a structure. We also need a new facility for our Dispatch/Communications center and our iT department. The space available at the current MX Trophies building will give us that space. While it’s not ideal that the owner of the Divide happens to also work directly for the County Manager, we have zero control of who owns property in Virginia City which would fit our needs. As most everyone knows, land is extremely scarce in town. The insinuation made that the County is “taking care of its buddies” is beyond preposterous in this case. The County is seeking an independent appraisal for the property in question as required by NRS and only after the appraisal is complete can we move forward with the process.
Here are some of the TRUE numbers and details related to the project….
The Divide Building:
The lot and construction of the existing structure cost the Fain’s approximately $700k. The current real estate market value is estimated is $1.3-$1.6 million. No one is pumping up its value for the sake of “making friends richer”. It’s only right that the county pay fair market value for any land or structures it purchases. As far as I know, no one is offering the County land and/or buildings for under fair market value.
Estimated Cost of Improvements to the Divide Building to suit the needs of the Justice Court, iT and Dispatch:
$650k – 800k. This cost covers all the improvements to the inside of the building as well as paving needed for ample parking on the current Divide property. The project costs will be based on prevailing wage, not padded to “take care of friends”. Contrary to the recent tale told, there is no plan to relocate the jail on this property.
This solution does two important things for the County…
1. Saves us approximately $2 million
2. Shortens the time to complete the project. While we most likely won’t make the 180 day deadline, we are hopeful our district court judges will understand this is our highest priority and we are moving at the fastest speed possible to get this project completed.
While there may be some questions as to why the County waited so long, it’s counter productive to dwell on something we cannot change. We are now looking to make right by the Justice Court and that’s what’s important. As I stated previously, there are many steps needed before we embark on this project, most importantly…the Commissioners need to approve the project before anything becomes a reality. As I’ve stated many times, feel free to reach out any time you have questions or want clarification on what you hear.
Storey County Commissioner