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Assessor Targeted by D.A.
Nye County’s Shadow Government
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Shirley Matson and Brian Kunzi
County Assessor Shirley Matson (left) District Attorney Brian Kunzi (right)
Pictures Courtesy of Horace Langford Jr./Pahrump Valley Times

By Andrew Alberti
Investigative Reporter

Nye County, Nevada - Corruption has become the order of the day throughout our nation from top to bottom. One doesn’t need to look too far to find it on all sides. Though corruption existed before, it gained momentum here in Nye County with a meeting in Pahrump, Nevada, three years ago, attended by Nye County District Attorney (DA) Brian Kunzi.

The discussion was to welcome him as the new DA, as well as to discuss prior corruption in the county and address questions regarding what lay in store for the future. During the discussion, Kunzi's phony, angry outbursts confirmed everyone’s concerns. They got a blast of the man’s real attitude regarding corruption. Today this writer has little doubt about DA Kunzi and certain other dirty Nye County officials.

Nye County Assessor’s Position

Sandra Mussleman
Sandra Mussleman
Picture courtesy of Pahrump Valley Times

During the election of 2010 for County Assessor, the incumbent, Sandra Musselman, signed on to run for re-election. Shirley Matson signed up as the challenger. As the deadline to withdraw from the election passed, names could not be removed from the ballot. Corrupt Nye County officials thought the incumbent Musselman was a shoe in. Then Nye County started offering early retirement buyouts for employees…employees now, mind you. Danelle Shamrell of the Nye County Human Resources Office determined that Musselman, an elected official, was considered to be an employee eligible for the early buyout package. Mussleman took the buyout and due to the election rules, could not remove her name from the ballot, but come hell or high water she was going to take the buyout. Do Nye County citizens consider this corrupt? So now, we have a withdrawn candidate on the ballot, but not running, who was about to get a little taxpayer bonus.

The Attack

Challenger Shirley Matson won the election. That’s when the trouble started as Ms. Matson’s opposition didn’t want her to be in that position. Almost immediately Kunzi and other county officials proceeded to harass Assessor Matson. They have orchestrated attack, after attack, after attack.

Shortly after her election, forged checks appeared that looked like the Assessor’s checks, even to sequencing of the numbers, leaving Ms. Matson with questions about the integrity of the account. Several states contacted the Assessor’s office asking if certain checks were valid. They were all written for $3,200.00 each. The total checks amounted to more than $24,000. It had all the appearances of an inside job, especially coming so soon after the election. Newly elected Assessor Shirley Matson, suspecting something suspicious, innocently called DA Brian Kunzi and requested an investigation. The checks had Matson’s name (superimposed) on them and immediately those who opposed Matson started accusing her. I have received information that the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement attempted to appear to investigate this matter, but the investigation went nowhere, except that it was used to launch a concerted effort to publicly attack assessor Matson and destroy her. Evidently, if you forge checks you get a free pass. Could it be that all of these high-power law enforcement agencies were simply used by Kunzi and some inside power-brokers in Nye County to start the attack on Matson? What is Kunzi and his cohorts worried about? What don’t they want Matson to uncover?

It Gets Worse

An ethics complaint was filed against Shirley Matson. She was never advised by Kunzi, who represents the elected officials and employees, that she should notify the county insurer of her plight. Instead, Kunzi participated in the complaint against Shirley. She personally paid all expenses for her defense to the TUNE OF $45,OOO. The insurer should have defended her. After the fact, Shirley now knows she should have had access to the insurance. She is currently and rightly so, requesting coverage from her insurer, but the insurer is refusing to cover her costs. Adding insult to injury, the Pahrump Valley Times (PVT) newspaper ignored the facts and brutally attacked Ms. Matson. Editor Matt Ward reportedly inserted words in news stories written by his reporters, then conveniently left his name out. He allegedly came up with headlines like, “Packagegate” in an obvious effort to publicly trash Assessor Shirley Matson, as he has slithered around Pahrump, Nevada, like a snake on its belly. Would you consider this good journalism? It’s beginning to appear that DA Brian Kunzi is the snake-charmer.

The Crooks Are Running Scared

The bulk mailing machine for all the Nye County offices in Pahrump so happened to be in the Assessor’s office. An employee in Ms. Matson’s office reported that Matson removed a letter from the mail stack but had no idea why. Within hours, Kunzi, accompanied by Nye County Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall, two FBI agents, a federal Marshall and others beat it over to Shirley’s office where she was questioned about stealing mail having to do with confidential information relating to evidence about a criminal complaint being sent to the Clark County Grand Jury. To make things look good, the PVT was called to be there. According to sources, PVT editor Matt Ward and his photographer had been alerted and were waiting outside of the Assessor’s office. This is corruption at its worst, it is possibly criminal in nature and I have no doubt whatsoever that DA Kunzi orchestrated it. They had exclusive information along with a picture of the Assessor being met at her office entrance.

There were accusations flying everywhere but none substantiated. The FBI and Kunzi had no interest in the check fraud attempted against county funds, but showed exceptional interest in a piece of mail addressed to the FBI, left at the Assessor’s office and personally delivered to the post office by Shirley Matson. The question is, who brought this letter to the Assessor’s office? How in the world was Kunzi ready to attack Matson within hours of her delivering the envelope to the Post Office? The person who allegedly called to report that Matson had the envelope, also reported that Matson had taken the disk and copied it to her home computers. Kunzi’s corruption squad confiscated Matson’s home computers. They made sure that the local newspaper reported all this to the public so they would think that Matson was crooked, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Kunzi Has No Shame?

Nye County Human Resources manager, Danelle Shamrell, received a request from Jolyne Zimmerman, an employee in Shirley Matson’s department. Shamrell then sent correspondence ordering the publicly elected Ms. Matson to refrain from any communication with her employee Jolyne Zimmerman who was on medical leave. What does Ms. Matson’s employee know that Shamrell et al. want to keep secret? This is not only a clear violation of county policy, to have a county employee (Shamrell) order-around an elected official (Matson); it’s a perfect example of Kunzi’s involvement, plus his turning a blind eye. Or, could Kunzi’s eyes have been open all along?

US~Observer Bone Of Contention

Nevada has a law equal to the Federal Freedom of Information Act called Nevada Public Records Act (NPRA). It’s based upon the premise that all records are open to the public unless declared confidential by law. NRS 239 states confidentiality defaults in favor of disclosure. Requirements for disclosure “must be construed liberally”, according to the act, while exemptions allowing confidentiality must be “construed narrowly”.

Human Resource’s records are determined to be public records with Social Security numbers and medical information to be treated as confidential. A public records request by this reporter was refused three times. The fourth request only succeeded in a redacted copy of all 39 applications to the position of Assistant County Manager. The public has a vested interest in the selection process, the qualifications and who gets hired and why. To hide this information under protection, as DA Kunzi has done, is to cause grave concern and suspicion about more rampant corruption in Nye County.

Joni Eastley
Joni Eastley
Picture courtesy of Pahrump Valley Times

An investigative reporter for the US~Observer and believe it or not the editor himself, Edward Snook, requested these copies without redaction and both were refused outright. Kunzi’s condescending response to Mr. Snook infuriated Snook to the point that he informed Kunzi that he was being a “smart ass”, which of course he was. The US~Observer will now pursue this charade with a vengeance, dragging Kunzi and all his corrupt cohorts in complicity into “the court of public opinion” by informing all Nye County citizens of this allegedly sordid, filthy, corrupt District Attorney who needs to be replaced before he wrecks two cars like his corrupt, drunken forerunner Robert S. Beckett did.

All of this is important because it pertains to a reported blatant scheme to place an existing Nye County Commissioner into the position of Assistant County Manager, paving the way for the late Commissioner Joni Eastley to ascend to the throne of county manager some day. This entire gig was all orchestrated by most of the Nye County Officials right out in plain sight. Can you believe even during Board of County Commissioner meetings! They took a vote on it (Eastley’s acceptance) on December 18, 2012. It failed, so they turned around on January 5, 2013 and passed it after questions were addressed to Kunzi about legality and Eastley having no qualifications. Kunzi blessed it and the rest is history. You gotta hand it to em, they got corruption down to a science. If you look up there by Nye County Manager Pam Webster’s throne you’ll see Joni Eastley smugly sitting on her right hand side.

Pam Webster
Nye County Manager Pamela Webster
Picture courtesy of Pahrump Valley Times

Ethics Complaint

A state ethics complaint was filed about the hiring process of Eastley and the Ethics Commission never held a public hearing. If you violate hiring practices in Nye County and the DA favors a certain individual, there are no consequences. How peachy! Citizens have complained about past hiring practices, but it’s a waste of time in Nye County as long as Kunzi is involved and the whole county is incestuously connected by families. Nye County--a taxpayer funded family operated business! There is no question about corruption in Nye County…it’s pervasive!

Edward Snook’s Note: DA Brian Kunzi has slandered Shirley Matson, who I consider to be a very fine human being and an honest, outstanding public servant. In my opinion, Kunzi is no better than his predecessor, DA Robert Beckett. The only difference I see is that he hasn’t started drunken driving yet and he hasn’t been arrested in front of Heidi Fleiss’s House.

The US~Observer sincerely hopes that the citizens of Nye County, Nevada wake up and put a stop to District Attorney Brian Kunzi’s corrupted bullying. My personal message to Kunzi: Brian Kunzi, you are indeed a bully and you will find our future relationship to be far more challenging than the one you have had with Assessor Shirley Matson. Prepare yourself to reimburse Shirley Matson the $45,000 that was withheld from her through political chicanery.

It’s truly amazing that the all-important District Attorney of Nye County, Nevada finds it necessary to beat-up on a helpless woman. What isn’t amazing is the fact that DA Brian Kunzi is almost frantic in his efforts to destroy Shirley Matson. Kunzi appears to be hiding some things that are extremely important (damning) and rest assured, we will find out exactly what they are…

If supposed “Public Servants” like Kunzi possessed any real intelligence they would simply do what is right. Sadly, and at their own demise, they rarely do so. In other words, “a leopard can’t change its spots.” Kunzi will never be able to say he wasn’t given the opportunity.

Anyone with information on Kunzi and his Nye County Cabal is urged to contact Andrew Alberti at 775-513-6056 or email to,

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