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Nye County Corruption -
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
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Joni Eastley
District Attorney Brian Kunzi
Photo © Pahrump Valley Times,
used by permission of Horace Langford Jr.

By Andrew Alberti
Investigative Reporter

Nye County, Nevada - I previously wrote about Nye County Assessor Shirley Matson and the attacks against her by Nye County officials. I exposed the unusual circumstances surrounding a vicious attempt to steal money through fraudulent checks written against the assessor's checking account. Yes, it’s true that the District Attorney for Nye County Brian Kunzi showed little or no interest in investigating this crime. He did show extreme interest in Assessor Matson, delivering what should have been top security documents, kept secure until received by the FBI in Clark County for their Grand Jury, but sent as ‘ho hum’ regular mail. Sending it as unsecured mail was a violation of secure transit of confidential information known as chain of evidence. It was sent by Danelle Shamrell of Nye County Human Resources fame, yet no one even questioned why she sent it via regular mail and left it exposed in the Assessor’s office. Who appears guilty here? Can you smell any corruption here?

The Postage Machine Becomes a Tool

It is important to know it had previously been established that as the elected official, Matson was responsible for everything in her office. She is the manager/supervisor. Nye County, for some as yet unexplained reason, used her office as the shared location for the Pitney Bowes stamp machine. All departments used the postage machine for their mail. The office location is in a small stand-alone building away from the busier parts of Nye County departments. This meant that other employees were required to bring their mail, process it through the machine for postage and then leave it for delivery to the local Post office. There was no apparent individual assigned to deliver the mail to the U S Post office two miles away.

Since the FBI took an interest in this event, I researched the issue with the local Post Office. I was informed they had no interest in mail that had a stamp placed on it until it was actually in the postal system. That is defined as in a mail box, in the hands of the mail carrier or delivered to the Post Office. I was informed that a more definitive answer could be received from the fraud division of the USPS in Washington DC. They have not responded to my written request. I cannot tell you why, unless they were busy having champagne, while sitting in a hot tub somewhere. Hey, don’t laugh now!

More Dirt on the Assault

There is also no explanation as to why there is no interest on District Attorney Brian Kunzi’s part, regarding the attempted run on the Assessor bank account with those fraudulent checks. It occurred a short time after Matson took office - $28,000 worth of checks to be exact.

There were employees in the County Assessor’s office who were coordinating with Nevada State officials, looking for dirt on Matson before she was elected. That is government collusion against a legitimate candidate for office. It is a violation of county policy and an ethical violation for those employees to do political research on county time. Yes, while all tax-paying citizens were paying their salary. It is also proof-positive of a conspiracy against Assessor Shirley Matson.

Legal or Illegal Immigrants

There is another incident where Matson asked Sheriff Tony DeMeo to verify if all the workers building the new county jail were legal immigrants or citizens. DeMeo refused and they got into an email confrontation, which the Sheriff made public, calling Matson a racist. This led to a band of citizens, including the previous Nye County Assessor Sandra Musselman, Public Works retiree Sam Musselman, defeated previous county recorder Byron Foster and one Stephanie Lopez, a progressive Democrat agitator to allegedly harass Matson and reportedly file an ethics complaint against her.

No Help Anywhere

Matson and Kunzi
Shirley Matson and Brian Kunzi

Photos © Pahrump Valley Times,
used by permission of Horace Langford Jr.

Matson received no help from Brian Kunzi, who is the supposed attorney for county officials and employees or from Human Resources Manager Danelle Shamrell. Instead Matson paid the full amount required to mount her ethics defense, totaling approximately $45,000. Nye County should have stepped in to provide coverage for Matson's defense just as they would any other county employee. That was never forthcoming and looking back; it has the appearance of a conspiracy to damage the Assessor financially. You see, the Nye County insurance policy has a $50,000 deductible, which the county is responsible to pay before the Pool Pact insurance policy kicks in. Who is responsible to advise the employee/manager or elected official that this is the procedure? Would it be Danelle Shamrell in Human Resources, County Manager Pam Webster or District Attorney Brian Kunzi or all three of them? The more important question would be; why didn’t they advise her?

I repeat, who should have advised Shirley Matson? Those who advised Joni Eastley, Lorinda Wichman and Danelle Shamrell of the available coverage at the time of their response to ethics charges certainly should have advised Mrs. Matson of her coverage under the same insurance provision. You may recall the decision to hire Eastley was made between County Manager Pam Webster and Human Resources Manager Danelle Shamrell, just by reading the applications and resumes’. Eastley, Commissioner Lorinda Wichman and Danelle Shamrell were required to respond to the ethics complaint. They were covered up to the $50,000 mark with county funds. Pahrump Valley Times Editor Matt Ward editorialized that I owed him as a taxpayer $50,000 for their defense because I was the one who filed that ethics complaint. Could Matt Ward make his “hidden” agenda any more obvious?

Pam Webster
Pam Webster
Photo © Pahrump Valley Times,
used by permission of Horace Langford Jr.

Here’s reality. Nye County owes Shirley Matson $45,000 for her defense under the county policy and perhaps damages for the county administration not advising her of the protocol. Nye County needs to pay up or show their true colors. Patience is growing short. The county needs to treat everyone equally and that is not so in Matson’s case. There is a transparent effort to do financial harm to this proud, honest public servant. In April 2012, Commissioners Eastley, Schinhofen, Hollis and Wichman voted to approve giving Pam Webster full authority to settle disputes up to the $50,000 deductible per the county insurance policy. Isn’t that convenient?

Connections and corruption

There must be a connection between corrupt government officials and others in Nye County over these shenanigans. Nye County is one big conglomeration of families taking care of each other. I have a list, three pages long, of family members and friends working for Nye County. Yes, it's just one big group of socially engineered, closed loop families. What a can of worms.

They don't want an outsider holding an office. They have been making their own rules about how they want the county run. There are some actually taking measures in opposition to Matson’s efforts to manage a properly functioning department. Matson reportedly found employees doing notary services on county time and pocketing the money, while we, the taxpayers were paying their salary. Another employee reportedly used county time to conduct her outside business and took advantage of county facilities to ship goods. Others allegedly wanted to set their own hours for their convenience, deciding this among themselves. Another person actually asked Danelle Shamrell to instruct Matson not to contact her - period. That is a direct violation of the Union contract and Nye County policy. Assessor Shirley Matson has every right to expect that while her employee was on sick leave that she should be able to contact her personally about any issue affecting employment. Now Shamrell claims it was Matson who made that request, but not according to written documents. Is it any wonder they want one of their own, Sheree Stringer, to challenge Matson for the assessor position in the 2014 election?

The Petition to Recall and Ethics

The following partial list of names belong to current and past employees in Nye County government who reportedly signed the petition to recall Matson and allegedly participated in harassing her. Some signers were Deputy District Attorney Tim Sutton, Nye County Commissioner Joni Eastley, Human Resource Manager Danelle Shamrell, District Attorney Brian Kunzi, Sam Musselman - Public Works, Sandra Musselman - Retired Assessor, Deputy Sheriff Richard Marshall, Sheree Stringer - Assessor employee and now candidate for Assessor, Assessor’s Deputy Appraiser Julieanne Dudenski, James Eason - Tonopah Town manager, Shirley Trummel - Human Services, Gregory Hafen, and un-elected Treasurer Gary Budhal. There are plenty more signers, however this short list will suffice for now.

Matson who sees her job as looking out for the accuracy and dependability of property valuations was suddenly bombarded with opposition from almost every sector of Nye County Government. It begs the question, what are these people hiding? We have given Nye County citizens a hint in the article titled, “Nye County Bombshell”, located on the top front page of this edition. By the way, THAT RECALL PETITION FAILED.

A second issue now surfaces around Matson and the Ethics Commission. Not just Matson, but also, Eastley, Wichman and Shamrell. It even extends into Clark County. There is a serious indication of favoritism, corruption and alleged criminal activity at the State Ethics Commission. Several recent decisions and opinions from the State of Nevada Ethics Commission show a total disregard for their obligation to deliver opinions that reflect their published rules and mission of promoting ethical behavior regarding government officials and employees.

The most recent case involved two Clark County School District officials. The complaint related facts that they used school district facilities and funds to promote a financial benefit to the district. The alleged activity is a clear violation of ethics and an even clearer violation of Nevada law. It was even stated in the Commission’s written opinion that the law was violated. What is wrong is that they were given a free pass, because, according to the Commission’s report, they gave the money back. Friends with benefits or just flat out corruption? The trend from Matson’s experience to Eastley’s absolution and to Clark County’s free pass, it sure looks like it pays to have friends in high places. Except that Matson’s friends are the citizens who voted her into office against the efforts of Nye County’s alleged “close-knit” families.

Again, Nye County officials and employees engineered all these events. They are obliged to reimburse Matson $45,000 for her defense against those trumped up charges in the recall petition. Elections are coming and so is our ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION!

Remember readership, these allegedly corrupt officials are in your county as well as ours. They think they are masters in the art of fooling citizens. In reality they are fools because the US~Observer has dealt with issues like this for years and knows how to expose them for what they are. We’re aware we can’t fix this alone. We need each of your votes and involvement to fight corruption in the political and justice system. It’s your county.

Anyone who has information pointing to possible corruption on the part of those listed in this article are urged to contact Andrew Alberti at 775-513-6056 or email to

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