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John L. Smith: Nye Official 'Moronic' In Attack On Nevada First Lady

John Locher/Associated Press

Steve Sisolak campaigns for governor in 2018 with his then-fiancée Kathy Ong. She is now Nevada's first lady and was the target of a political attack from a Nye County commissioner that Gov. Sisolak called "blatantly racist."

At a public meeting a week ago, a Nye County commissioner alleged the family of Kathy Sisolak, wife of Gov. Steve Sisolak, is somehow benefiting from the pandemic.

Kathy Sisolak, born in Ely as Kathy Ong, is of Chinese descent. Her father was a dealer at the Fremont Hotel in downtown Las Vegas.

After a long statement, saying she first believed COVID-19 was "a political virus," Commissioner Donna Cox said she now believes it's a monetary virus. And she believes Ong has family in China who are benefitting from the manufactur of equipment like masks. Cox added that she "has a picture" of the governor and his wife "to prove" some of her statements.

The governor has blasted Cox, saying her statements were racist and calling on state Republican leaders to denounce them. John L. Smith, contributor and commentator for State of Nevada, said Cox's statements were "moronic."

"You asked me to straighten out this person from Nye County," Smith said, "there's no way a team of psychiatrists could straighten her out."

Smith also talked about the death of controversial casino operator Allen Glick. He died recently at age 79, which Smith said brings to a close an era in the gambling industry made legendary in the movie “Casino.”

The story of the mob’s rise and fall in Las Vegas couldn’t be written without Glick’s story. As head of Argent Corp., his squeaky clean background was used as a front by the mob to build and control Strip and downtown casinos. 

Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, the Chicago mob's eyes and ears in Las Vegas, reportedly gave Glick some career advice.

According to Smith, "Rosenthal supposedly told him, and I'll quote it, 'If you interfere with any of the casino operations or try to undermine anything I want to do here, I represent to you that you will never leave this corporation alive.'"

Later, Glick cooperated with federal agents, putting mob leaders in prison.


John L. Smith, contributor, State of Nevada

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.