Convention authority plays Robin Hood in reverse

Brazen.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board voted 13-1 Tuesday to give retiring CEO Rossi Ralenkotter a lovely parting gift worth $455,000, according to the morning newspaper. Talk about robbing the poor to give to the rich. Ralenkotter, 71, made $860,000 a year in pay and benefits and will get a taxpayer-funded public employee pension of at least $350,000 a year for the rest of his life.

How any of this lucrative cash out is of any benefit whatsoever to the taxpayers, no one bothered to even try to explain as they manned the shovels and scooped out money.

This was after Ralenkotter spent tax money like a drunken sailor — no offense to drunken sailors — to lavish gifts on unknown persons for unknown reasons, used $17,000 in airline gift cards purchased nefariously by the agency for personal trips and left $50,000 in airline gift cards unaccounted for. Yes, he reimbursed the agency for the gift cards after he was caught red-handed by an audit. The vote came during an hours-long meeting at which Ralenkotter was praised to the rafters for his sterling leadership and accomplishments, all while police officers reportedly investigating his possible misdeeds sat in the back row.

Brazen.

Not that Metro police will ever deign to file charges against the retiring CEO for, you know, taking public funds for personal use, what some might dare to call stealing but not us or Metro, nay, nay, but now there are 13 members of the authority board who might be described as accessories after the fact, complicit, aiding and abetting, turning a blind eye, fiduciarily irresponsible, shirking their duties, flipping off the taxpayers.

Brazen.

Of course, the morning paper is owned by someone who owns a competing convention center, as was dutifully noted in an italic disclaimer at the end of the story. While this might provide motive and explain why this topic has been a banner story for weeks and there have been a few critical editorial — including one today that called the board vote “a shameless disdain for the fiscal standards and practices necessary to maintain the public’s trust” — the facts have yet to be actually, you know, contested.

Errol Flynn would not play this role.