NEVADA – HOA scheme straw buyer, attorney say they feared for their lives
Suspended lawyer Brian Jones testified Wednesday that he was fresh out of law school working at a high-powered law firm when he became involved in election rigging at two homeowners associations.
Jones, one of 37 people who pleaded guilty in a valley-wide scheme to take over and defraud HOAs, told a federal jury that he was introduced to Leon Benzer, the mastermind of the scheme, by Robert J. Gronauer, a firm partner and the son of former Las Vegas township Constable Robert “Bobby G” Gronauer.
The younger Gronauer was not charged in the criminal investigation, but in a District Court civil lawsuit he is accused of malpractice tied to the scheme. He has denied the allegation.
The now-dissolved firm — Kummer Kaempfer Bonner Renshaw &Ferrario — represented Benzer, who owned Silver Lining Construction Company and needed legal advice on a real estate matter, Jones said he was told.
Benzer had him oversee an election at the Vistana board in December 2006 to, as Benzer put it, preserve the integrity of the balloting.
Jones said he later learned that Benzer actually was trying to stuff the ballot box, take control of the Vistana board and obtain a multimillion-dollar contract for construction defect repairs.
“I was hired to maintain the integrity of the ballots, and it didn’t happen,” Jones said. “The ballots were compromised.” Read more: