Carson DA to take on commission fracas |

Carson DA to take on commission fracas

This story has been revised with information from Commissioner Larry Walsh.

A report on a May 16 altercation between two county commissioners during a recess has been completed by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, according to the county.

Because Chief Civil Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie and Deputy District Attorney Zach Wadlé were both witnesses to statements made by the commissioners involved, Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson has determined his office has a conflict in proceeding on the case.

The case has been referred to the Carson City District Attorney’s Office to determine if charges are warranted.

Douglas County Commissioners Barry Penzel and John Engels were engaged in a heated dispute of Redevelopment Area No. 2 when Penzel called a recess. The chairman and Engels walked into the lunch room behind the commissioners’ table at the Tahoe Transportation Center in Stateline.

“I was not in the room when whatever happened, happened,” Walsh said on May 31. “Barry asked me to wait outside as he wanted to talk with John for a minute. I went into the room immediately thereafter, and was present when the DCSO deputy took Barry’s statement.”

Within minutes, Douglas County deputies and Tahoe-Douglas medics were called to the scene to treat Engels who had a severe cut to his forearm.

Engels has said all options are on the table when it comes to charges in the incident. Penzel issued an apology to Douglas County residents for the incident.

The conflict occurred during a heated session over Redevelopment Area No. 2 at Stateline, which Engels hopes to repeal and Commissioner Dave Nelson has said he wants to modify.

A majority of three commissioners support the redevelopment agency to help fund an events center at Stateline.

A bill to charge an additional $5 per hotel room stay passed the Nevada Assembly on Friday with the required two-thirds majority.

Senate Bill 461 was approved 33-6 with Republicans, including Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville, opposed.

The bill was modified to require the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority, which would own and operate the $80 million center, pay prevailing wage.

The redevelopment agency is expected to raise $116 million over its 30-year lifespan from increased valuation within its boundaries.

Should the redevelopment area be repealed, that money would be split between the county, the Douglas County School District and the Tahoe Douglas Fire District.