But there is another reason why the voters of Clark County should be aware of the candidates or incumbent judges that are under the spell of Dave Thomas.
When they don’t have a challenger it’s not because they are too good or because they are doing a great job serving the people of Nevada.
The reason that they do not have a challenger is because Dave Thomas uses “muscle,” so to speak, to keep candidates away from “his people” so they do not have to run a campaign — but they still do have to pay Thomas’ “juice” fee regardless.
Look at Judge Diana Sullivan in Justice Court. When I invited her to be on the Face The Tribune radio show, I asked her who her campaign manager was; when she told me that her campaign was being run by Dave Thomas, I told her that he would not allow her to be on my show.
Like everyone else running for office, Judge Diana Sullivan liked to talk “tough” and sound independent, and she said to me, “I am the boss; I run my campaign and David works for me. I’ll have my JEA look at the schedule and she will call you with the day that I am available.”
This all took place while a friend, who is also a judge, and I were walking out of the election department. My friend was witness to the entire conversation.
Do I think that she is a good judge and that she deserves to be retained? I think so; she is a good judge but she could be better if she was not under the spell of Dave Thomas.
I personally supported Judge Sullivan in her first race and I believe the Las Vegas Tribune endorsed her in that race as well. I even attended her victory campaign party, which — as those who know me would know — I wouldn’t normally do since I do not attend any political parties unless it is a John Watkins party.
Why is she alone in that race? Because Dave Thomas muscled his way in with the other female candidate who was running against Judge Diana Sullivan through her boss, and intimidated her to the point of losing her job in a local office.
It is a shame that a good judge like Diana Sullivan has to be tied up to a Dave Thomas-type of person because it is my humble opinion that she would not have any problem getting reelected and she could have saved a bundle of money.
I can see my former friend, Judge Jessie Walsh, using Dave Thomas to scare people away from her race because her record is, unfortunately, not the best; but Diana Sullivan’s record is very good.
During the 2008 election, Judge Jessie Walsh was not tied to Dave Thomas in any way, shape or form. She was in the middle of a very tough reelection campaign and she was “accidentally” assigned to a long, complicated trial that kept her from campaigning as strong as she should have.
Fast forward to the present time, when two judges who are not connected to Dave Thomas are also “accidentally” assigned to long and high profile cases that are keeping them from attending organizational lunches, radio interviews, debates and several other public events, keeping them out of the limelight and giving the opportunity to Dave Thomas’ clients to attend all those events.
What is really a miscarriage of justice is that all of these people — many of them decent candidates who perhaps unknowingly hired that political bully — really do not need him and they pay him a bundle of money for his “service” for intimidating possible challengers; if they are good they don’t have to worry about having anyone running against
Many candidates have told me that they hire Thomas because they are promised endorsements from different organizations, unions and PACs — but you see what happened to his favorite candidate, Judge Vincent Ochoa! He had his endorsement rescinded and the other guy in Department 2 did not get any of the endorsements because the PPA,
Metro, PPACE, FOP as well as former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, former Nevada Governor and former US Senator Richard Bryan, as well as the Las Vegas Review-Journal gave their endorsements to John G. Watkins who IS NOT a Dave Thomas puppet.
I wish I could have a different opinion of Judge Diana Sullivan because there is nothing I would like better than to go against her for being a client of Thomas, but I would be doing a complete disservice to the community and I would be going against my word and my principles by not giving people the correct information about candidates.
Besides Diana Sullivan being a very good judge, she was also intelligent enough to seize the opportunity to hire the best marshal there is in the Court system. When Marshal Lisa left the Clark County marshals a few months ago, I wrote that they did not know what they were missing; but I saw Lisa Cologna with the blue uniform of the City of Las Vegas marshals inside the court and I knew I was in trouble because I would not be able to write against a Dave Thomas client that was smart enough to recognize a good marshal when she saw one.
Most lawyers are acting the way they act because the judges allow them to be unfair with the defendants and it should not be that way and I believe that Judge Sullivan does not tolerate that kind of behavior.
I see it all the time — lawyers walk in the courtroom and start paging for their clients because they have not even seen the client, much less had a meeting with him or her.
The judge should say to the attorney: “Wait a minute — this person has been incarcerated for three months and you have not had one single hour of time to meet with your client?” And then the judge should tell the attorney he is postponing this hearing “until you meet with your client because everyone is entitled to a fair hearing”; it may not be
a perfect trial, but it should definitely be a fair one.
I remember when Ron Brady Jr. hired a supposedly high-profile attorney who acted as if he was doing a favor for the client that was paying him big bucks and he never met with the client until the hearing day; then he walked into the courtroom with that paging attitude, wanting the client to plead guilty and “get it over with” — and that is why
many people are so much in favor of a Nevada Appellate Court so they don’t have to wait three years for the Nevada Supreme Court to rule in their unfair case.
Hopefully someday soon Diana Sullivan will realize that I am telling the truth when I say she does not need a man like Dave Thomas to get herself re-elected. All she needs to do is keep doing her job as good as she has been doing.
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
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Rolando Larraz is Editor in Chief of the Las Vegas Tribune. His column appears weekly in this newspaper. To contact Rolando Larraz, email him at: Rlarraz@lasvegastribune.com or at (702) 699-8111.