Tiregate grand jury question before county
if you go
What: Douglas County Board of Commissioners
When: 1 p.m. Thursday
Where: Historic Douglas County Courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden
A proposal to approve funding to call a grand jury to further investigate and perhaps issue indictments in the Tiregate case is back before county commissioners Thursday.
District Judge Tod Young estimated the cost to impanel a grand jury for the sole purpose of investigating the $1 million tire thefts from the county will be $100,000.
Commissioners delayed funding the grand jury last month in the hopes letters to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney would result in one of those agencies taking on the investigation.
The thefts were uncovered in March 2017, setting in motion a 16-month probe by the Nevada Department of Investigation. Department detectives forwarded a 99-page report to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, which declined to prosecute the case in a letter signed Dec. 21, 2018. It was a month before that letter was uncovered by The Record-Courier during an inquiry into the investigation’s status.
The Attorney General’s Office said Douglas County Motor Pool Director Chris Oakden was the primary perpetrator and that his death in an April 24, 2017, collision rendered the prosecution moot.
However, state detectives listed several people in their report, some of whom could have been accountable at some level.
The revelation of the letter and the report prompted county commissioners to seek a means to prosecute the case.
Because the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office is conducting an internal review, which cannot legally be comingled with any criminal prosecution, the county is seeking a grand jury.
Grand juries can conduct investigations and issue indictments. The 2017-18 grand jury investigated the Tiregate thefts on their own, but did not issue indictments because the state was still working on its own investigation.
The costs involved in the grand jury include hiring a special counsel, who must be independent of the county.
County commissioners meet 1 p.m. in the historic Douglas County Courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.