13th in a Series
The relationship between money and politics goes back through time to the beginning of history. Politics itself is a contest between lies: which falsehood or set of falsehoods — “the platform” – is presented to an audience in such a way that one seems to be more true than its opposing view, “the other guy’s platform.”
Both sides in these contests know that what they present is false.
Each candidate knows that success depends on individual ability to act as if it is true that there is a serious problem that he or she is going to resolve after being elected. Each candidate is grateful that the incumbent has created a particular circumstance, “the problem,” that he or she proposes to resolve. Most of the time that “problem” is not really a solvable problem, but merely circumstances constituting a media show presented to voters as if those circumstances are slipping out of control.
Everyone involved in politics, and this includes most critically the various media, realizes that the flow of money depends on creating and perpetuating these deceptions. In politics, words from a candidate’s mouth can be reduced to a line from a 1960s Donovan Leitch song, “There is a Mountain”: First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. Candidates tell us, “Elect me because there is a problem that I’m best qualified to solve.” Then, “Because I’m in office, that problem has been reduced to insignificance.” As the next election approaches the candidate says, “A new problem has arisen that needs my expertise and inside knowledge to resolve, so reelect me.”
Without cooperation, avid consent and participation from media organizations this repeated message would not be spread throughout every community, as it has been for decades.
Media serves to stimulate its audience’s emotions, and nothing has proven more successful in doing this than self-interest. Media tells all of us that issues discussed by “experts” are going to have an impact on our lives. In Las Vegas, Jon Ralston specializes in presenting “both sides” of social, business and political issues that might affect local citizens. He carefully feigns excitement in asking leading questions, editorializing as he speaks — at least that’s what
he wants people to believe. Those who listen carefully to both Ralston and his guests realize that he presents biased viewpoints that a group of individuals want sold to voters as if true, and as if important.
The pretense is that open discussions of issues and backdoor maneuvers actually make a difference in how laws are passed and community issues shaped. All that talk and posturing means nothing; it has no impact on the hidden agendas of those who run this state.
“Follow the money” came to mind when I first learned of Senator Mark Manendo. I was at a town hall meeting on the west side of Las Vegas on April 15, 2014. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) hosted a live-radio talk show on the Bundy Ranch issue, then going on. By that time, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rangers had mistreated and killed a few cattle. A number of local politicians were present, talking about upcoming primary elections and pertinent issues. A murmur began;“Where is Mark Manendo?” someone asked. I was told that Manendo had sponsored a bill in the Nevada Senate that was supposed to bring harsher penalties on those who abused animals. In fact, I was told, BLM agents were committing felonies on the Bundy Ranch by maltreating and killing cattle. In this age in which personal pets have largely replaced children for many people unable to express love and affection for fellow human beings, as a consequence of living in this brutal society, standing up for animals is a means to appeal to many people’s heartstrings. Animal rights have become politically pragmatic as an emotionally driven issue. Manendo had used this issue in the Nevada Senate to pass a protection bill. During the Bundy-BLM fiasco, why had Manendo not said a word? After all, it had been his project to make those abuses into more serious crimes.
So far as a candidate, Mark Manendo has run for office ten times and won nine of those races. He has raised at least $928,586 up to the point reported by “followthemoney.org” on their website. One of his individual contributors, Barbara Medina, has given $1,000 to his campaigns. According to the Clark County Recorder’s web page, as of July 30, 2014 Barbara Medina has also deeded a single-family property worth an estimated $34,043 to Manendo, but for “valuable consideration of ten dollars ($10.00).” Medina had received the property from a widow in July 2008, also for “consideration of ten dollars.” Manendo has had monetary connections with other parties in the mysterious cover-up of the murder of Jason Ryan Turner-Shenker. In a previous article this writer reported that Jeffrey Yarnall was involved in a conspiracy to falsely arrest Cynthia Turner, Jason’s mother. Yarnall’s wife had worked at Harrah’s Casino for quite a few years. Harrah’s has contributed $15,500 to Manendo’s political funds.
Turner had been working at New York-New York at the time a false arrest took place, in 2005. NY-NY is owned by MGM Resorts International. The MGM Mirage, part of MGM Resorts International, has contributed $19,800 to Manendo’s political money pot.
Another contributor of interest is “Sierra Pacific.” Although small in dollars by comparison, Sierra Pacific might have made a much more substantial contribution than the $500 listed on followthemoney.org.
On July 30, 2013, a year before the Medina property was deeded to Mark Manendo, James Bruner deeded a single-family property to Manendo.
Conveniently, Senator Manendo did not have to attend the closing. It seems his signature was not required on the document of sale. That transaction was handled by an “agent” representing Manendo, who appears to be notary public, “D. Chancellor,” whose state registration number is 04-93502-1. That notary’s stamp appears on another page of the document, but not next to the spot above Manendo’s name, representing the Grantee. One signature by Chancellor is questionable; they don’t seem to match. Also conveniently, this document of title transfer was requested by First American Title Insurance Company. This property, located at 4030 Beisner Street in the Stallion Mountain
subdivision, is valued at $215,000 on these documents. Records show a lien of an unspecified amount has been recorded as well. The holder of that lien is apparently Sierra Pacific Mortgage. Sierra Pacific is another of Manendo’s campaign contributors of record, having donated $500. Apparently, because the Clark County Recorder’s office has
jumbled characters after “Sierra Pacific,” it makes the exact name unclear.
This property is particularly interesting because Manendo lists this location, 4030 Beisner Street, Las Vegas, as his campaign headquarters. Sierra Pacific Mortgage has its headquarters in Folsom, California. This is the same mortgage broker that was given a cease-and-desist order in Oregon in recent years for failing to license its retail mortgage operation, yet continuing to issue mortgages after warnings by the State of Oregon.
One of Manendo’s top individual contributors has indirect connections to Patricia A. “Patty” Shenker, the late Jason Turner’s biological aunt in California. Beverlee McGrath has contributed $16,000 to Mark Manendo’s political coffers, making her perhaps Manendo’s top individual donor. McGrath has also contributed $1,000 to California Assemblyman Pedro Nava. Patty Shenker made two contributions to Nava as well, for a total of $3,500 in 2010 alone, according to Votesmart.org. Patty Shenker and Beverlee McGrath share a common
interest in animal protection. McGrath has been listed as a registered lobbyist for animal rights in Nevada; she has represented Action for Animals and the ASPCA in California, Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, the Nevada Humane Society and Nevada Political Action for Animals in Nevada.
Patty Shenker is known globally for her activism, having her own page on the Animal Rights Zone
perhaps from more expansive investments nationwide.
Another interesting contributor to Manendo’s political coffers is James E. Nave. This Doctor of Veterinary Medicine has contributed or been an officer of seventeen different animal medicine businesses in Nevada, many of them still active. At one time Nave also owned JEN Cattle Company. He has been a partner with the Fertitta Family, Robert
E. Lewis and others in Station Holdco LLC and NP Tropicana LLC, better known for their Station Casinos and the Tropicana property. Nave contributed $2,000 to Manendo’s campaigns. Station Casinos has donated $18,222 and the Tropicana Resort and Casino another $500. Other investments in Manendo by related persons have not yet been uncovered.
What makes these transactions and relationships of particular interest is that Manendo began to follow Cynthia Turner in 2006 for approximately a year. He attended all the HOA meetings in her community while she was on the board. After nearly a year, Manendo initiated a personal relationship with Turner, although he was living with another woman at that time, a fact that Manendo concealed from Turner. A brief romance ensued, broken off within a few months by Turner immediately after she learned of Manendo’s other relationship.
By that time Turner had came to distrust Manendo and his motives for starting that relationship.
When elections came around in 2008 and 2010 Manendo would contact Cynthia Turner to invite her to political functions, and to act during these functions as if their relationship had continued uninterrupted.
But that was show, a put-on by Manendo for photographers.
Shortly after acquiring the Beisner “campaign headquarters” in the Stallion Mountain Golf community, Manendo again tried to contact Turner, coming in from the cold. She ignored him. By coincidence that was soon after Turner’s last communication with Lieutenant Raymond Steiber of the LVMPD Homicide Division, during which time Steiber told
Turner he would put her son’s murder case “on a shelf to collect dust.”
Then immediately after she began to expose corruption related to her son’s murder case, Manendo made concerted efforts to communicate with Turner again. He didn’t do so to offer help; he told Turner he was “too broke to contribute” to her fundraising efforts because he had lost his job at Collision Authority recently. This “unemployed”
politician and state senator had no money to spare, he claimed, yet was able to obtain a mortgage from a contributor, Sierra Pacific. This state senator had contributed a total of $6,600 to four Democrats running for political office through the years of that $939,000 collected. His Committee to Elect Mark Manendo has also donated $11,850 to nine candidates over six years. Other committees in his name have donated $1,450 to several candidates in recent years.
Manendo wanted personal information from Turner, asking for recent photographs of her and her current address. He offered nothing in return for this information, including an explanation.
During brief yet significant recent communications with Cynthia Turner, Manendo claimed that he had never heard of Patty Shenker, who has been one of the most prominent animal activists in recent decades, and who has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to political campaigns, most of them for Democrats, since the year 2000.
The company that arranged passage of the Beisner Street property in the Stallion Mountain community to Manendo has Southern California connections. First American Title Insurance Company began in Orange County, California many years ago, and has evolved over decades. The Nevada Branch of First American that conducted the transaction for Manendo originates in California. It was registered on June 13, 2013, only days before the Beisner Street property was transferred to Manendo, apparently to be used as his campaign headquarters, although one reliable source wishing to remain anonymous has told us that Manendo lives at this property. First American Title Company Nevada
has been issued Entity Number E0309022013-3, and its Nevada Business Identification Number is NV20131377776. All of the First American officers and directors are listed at First American Way in Santa Ana, California.
Before using the Beisner property as a campaign headquarters, or listing it as such, Manendo recorded a property owned by his mother, Marie Manendo, as his campaign HQ. In looking into this property on Butterfly Circle in Las Vegas, it becomes apparent that additional mysteries are involved. Michael Manendo, Mark Manendo’s late father,
is still recorded on property mortgage documents taken out with Jupiter Mortgage Company. Although deceased, Michael Manendo’s name has not been removed from the mortgage lien, it seems. A search for Jupiter Mortgage also shows that this Florida company has been merged in AMSTAR Financial Services, which in turn can no longer be found. It appears that AMSTAR might have dissolved, as well as Manendo Mortgage on their Butterfly property, along with that financial company.
It would seem that the Manendo family, especially Marie Manendo, as her son’s long-term campaign finance manager, would want to pay attention to details regarding Manendo property records and transactions.
Various groups, political action committees, corporations and industries have invested nearly one million dollars in Nevada State Senator Mark Manendo, if not more. It is reasonable to believe that these investors expect a return on their money, one way or another.
The Bundy Ranch and family could not count on a word of support from this self-proclaimed and well-funded “animal rights activist.” Casinos and real estate investors make up the larger portion of his investors, which is no surprise in this state. Whether or not there is a quid pro quo for these investments is yet to be determined.
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Thomas A. Nagy is the author of Cannabis Consumer Handbook available at Amazon.com, and the blog ReGeneration at blogspot.com. Email direct at: firstname.lastname@example.org.