On August 9, 2023, the IVGID Board of Trustees held a regularly scheduled meeting, and on the agenda was the appointment of four members to a new Capital Investment Committee, whose members were to work closely with IVGID staff to develop plans for new capital investments in IVGID amenities and facilities. One candidate, Mr. Cliff Dobler, had already served on a few other IVGID committees, and he happened to have loaned the Chairman of the Board, Matthew Dent, close to $800,000 for a real estate mortgage close to a year ago. Faced with what would appear to be a potential conflict of interest, Chairman Dent had to decide whether or not he should abstain on the vote to appoint Mr. Dobler to this committee. In order for Mr. Dobler to serve on this new committee, three of the five Trustees would have to vote to approve his application. As it was, Mr. Dent chose to participate in this vote rather than recuse himself, and together with Trustee Schmitz and Trustee Tulloch, these three Trustees voted to appoint Mr. Dobler. This despite issues that were raised by Trustee Noble at the meeting about prior inappropriate behaviors by Mr. Dobler towards several IVGID employees.
Before beginning to address this agenda item, Trustee Dent chose to read to into the record (which was recorded – see the link below at 1:08:10 on the slider): https://livestream.com/ivgid/events/10927997/videos/237179807
a carefully worded statement explaining why he would not recused himself from participating in the appointment of Mr. Dobler. He began by saying: “I spoke to my friends down at the Nevada Ethics Commission, and I would like to read a statement…”. He then indicated that “after speaking with the Nevada Ethics Commission I would like to disclose that I do and have had past business transactions with Cliff Dobler..” and that “one of my properties held in a trust has a mortgage with the Dobler Family Trust which originated approximately 12 months ago.” Note the he did not disclose the size of this loan, which purportedly is close to $1 million. He then claimed that “there was no material benefit or detriment to either of the parties so I will be participating in the process as advised verbally yesterday by the Nevada Ethics Commission.” To many of us who heard this statement, it seemed clear that Trustee Dent was intending to leave us with the impression that the Commission had advised him that he could participate in this vote as long as he disclosed his financial relationship with Mr. Dobler. We leave it to you to see if you have the same impression.
When we asked the Ethics Commission if indeed they have verbally advised Trustee Dent that he did not need to abstain from voting on Mr. Dobler’s application, the Executive Director of the Commission replied in an email with the following:
“Please understand that the Ethics Commission does not provide advice or direction to public officers or employees outside our formal advisory opinion process. As the Executive Director I did provide Mr. Dent with educational information about the different standards for disclosure and abstention including the law’s presumption of participation in instances when someone has made a proper disclosure.”
Regardless of whether Trustee Dent made a proper disclosure (which is supposed to be detailed), or whether he might be able to wiggle through the ‘appearance of impropriety’ and ‘independence of judgement of a reasonable person’ loopholes in the ethics rules to justify failing to recuse himself from this vote; his assertion that his friends on the Ethics Commission ADVISED him to participate in the vote was clearly intended to convey that he was given the Commission’s ‘ok’ to vote on Mr. Dobler’s appointment to this committee. This was not the case. You have to decide for yourself if Trustee Dent was trying to mislead you with his statement, but if you believe that this was his intent, you should consider signing the Recall Petition and vote to recall in the recall election. You might also want to email Trustee Dent at email@example.com and ask him to retract his vote to appoint Mr. Dobler to the Capital Improvements Committee.
One added note: Did Trustee Dent ask the Board’s counsel, Mr. Nelson, if he should recuse himself on the vote to appoint Mr. Dobler? If so, and the answer was ‘not necessary’: why didn’t Trustee Dent say so in his remarks before voting?