For decades the Las Vegas newspaper aggressively fought for transparency in state and local government affairs, pressing for stronger public records and open meetings laws and urging vigorous enforcement of those laws — even going to court itself when necessary on behalf of the public’s right to know how its money is being spent and its affairs are being conducted.
Casino executive Sheldon Adelson, who bought the paper less than a year ago, has muzzled the watchdog.
Coiled in Senate Bill 1, just passed in a special session of the Nevada Legislature to fund $750 million for Adelson’s bid to build a domed NFL stadium, is a rattlesnake, and the Las Vegas newspaper has taken no notice of its rattle.
The bill reads in part:
Sec. 30. 1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3 and NRS 239.0115, the Stadium Authority shall keep confidential any record or other document provided to the Stadium Authority by a developer partner, the National Football League team or the Stadium Events Company, which is in the possession of the Stadium Authority, if the person providing the information:
(a) Submits a request in writing that the record or other document be kept confidential by the Stadium Authority; and
(b) Demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Stadium Authority that the record or other document contains proprietary or confidential information.
2. If the Stadium Authority determines that a record or other document contains proprietary or confidential information, the Chair of the Board of Directors shall attach to the file containing the record or document:
(a) A certificate signed by him or her stating that a request for confidentiality was made by the requesting entity and the date of the request;
(b) A copy of the written request submitted by the requesting entity;
(c) The documentation to support the request submitted by the requesting entity; and
(d) A copy of the decision of the Stadium Authority determining that the record or other document contains proprietary or confidential information.
3. Records and documents that are confidential pursuant to this section:
(a) Are proprietary or confidential information of the requesting entity;
(b) Are not a public record; and
(c) Must not be disclosed to any person who is not an officer or employee of the Stadium Authority unless the requesting entity consents to the disclosure.
So, not only do all the profits accrued by the “public” stadium go solely to the private investors, but the taxpayers will never know just how much that is — or much of anything else for that matter.