Tuesday, December 30, 2008



Lots of emails about our story on Rex Harris and his company Better Realty Deals.


Click here to see the story. Then click on "Better Realty Deals, Real or Not?" in the player.


Rex Harris told us he was the former sales manager of another company, Our Family First Realty, that apparently took a lot of money from Realtors and didn't follow through on its promises. Our Family First is now out of business. Better Realty Deals is Rex Harris' company which appears to operate in very much the same way as our Family First. Collect money from Realtors with promises of advertising. But so far, the ads have not aired.
Here's a sample of some of the emails I received after the story aired:

Just wanted to add myself to the list of people ripped off by Rex Harris. I bought in for $3,800 in Zip codes and never saw a thing in return for my investment.
Colette

$1600 for a zip code and never a ad in!
I feel like a fool but appreciate the fact you are making this public so hopefully he will be shut down for good!
Bev

I was one of many Realtors here in Arizona that was misled by Rex Harris back in October 4, 2007. He runs a pretty good scam by keeping people running in circles. I never met with Rex, only spoke with him, but dealt with two of his sales people and spoke to one of his associates that had the business in her name.
Mark


Please add me to your list of scammed Realtors. He took me for $2,200 August of 2007. I have demanded my money back several times and got nothing. I have his voicemail recorded where he tells me to read my contract.
Deanne

And I got an email from Rex Harris AFTER the story aired. Remember we offered him a chance to sit down, face to face, and talk about many of the inconsistencies we found in our investigation.. before the story aired. We also asked him for proof that he had a contract to air commercials. He told an agent during the sales pitch he had a contract. We also asked for documentation about when and where we could see those commercials on the air. That's something you would have if you actually purchased the time to air the commercials. We never got that information and he never showed for the interview.

In this latest email, he talks about a "crook" who didn't finish the commercial .. correctly. I know he already has commercials ready to go .. at least he told me that. In fact, you can see it on his website. It's the same commercial he will show you before he starts his sales pitch. Why doesn't that one air in the meantime?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
To Whom It May Concern,
First and foremost I want to offer my sincere apology to any and all Realtors who were mislead by Our Family First Realty.
Wow, where should we start. How about proof that I did not own Our Family First Realty? I have . FBN numbers on two owners. How about proof that the company closed down due to a web desighner who was a crook and when he did not get his way he shut down the site and started making allegations to all of the company's clients for his own twisted fun?What about all the clients like Mr and Ms Gunning who have been responded to and being told that this will get back up and running and that we will give them more than they signed up for, for there patience. These agents like the Gunning's have stated they our excepting the free extension. Then they lie on camera. Does that not stand for anything?
I understand that you can and will report what you want. But i work 7days a week trying to build a dream. Next time you want to talk to me. Get the facts straight. And again our commercials start in January as stated to any of the Better Realty Deals clients. We wanted to start earlier but as we ran into another crook who did not finish the commercial correctly. We shoot a new commercial this week. And on air the next. Feel free to call us if you have not seen us. Also Nevada Coorperate Headquarters is responsible for all our coorperate paperwork. Did you need anything from them? to show we are a corp?
I have tried talking, I am trying to do right by my clients. Why don't you do your story on that? If you only had a clue how hard it is starting something that has this potential by yourself. Im doing everything in my power and again want to apologize to anyone that was not contacted about this matter.
Agents need to contact me and let me know what areas they were signed up for, so that I can honor their contrcat with the company that I worked for, not owned.
Rex Harris 877-78-better
_______________________________________________________________________________________
We did find that Better Realty Deals did finally register as a corporation with the Nevada Secretary of State's office. It became incorporated December 12, 2008.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Selling Commercials and Some Hints About Mailing Holiday Cards


I hope you checked out our latest report. We heard from many real estate agents who say they paid for a service and didn't get it.
They were promised TV commercials and new business referrals. They tell me they got neither and they want their money back.



I had a viewer contact me recently about some missing Holiday cards. That led to some phone calls to the United States Postal Service. The customer service person I spoke with reminded me that if you're mailing a check or gift cards, be careful. Although the postal service says it's mail drop boxes have been reinforced, you still need to be wise about your mailing habits. If there is money or gift cards inside the card you are sending, deposit it in the drop box INSIDE the post office. If you use one of the outdoor mailboxes, or even the drive by mailbox, check to see when the last pickup is. If it says the last pickup is 6:30pm, and you're dropping off something after 7pm .. it'll sit there all night and that's just one more chance for something to happen. The USPS also told me most of those mail thefts happen between 1 and 5 am. If you ever see someone breaking into a mailbox, the best thing to do is call 9-1-1. If you suspect mail theft is going on, contact the postmaster at your local post office or call the mail inspection service at 702-796-5272.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DIDN'T PAY YOUR CREDIT CARD BILL?





If you have a debt...PAY IT!.




Credit attorneys tell us

"Any unpaid debt will never go away ... but legal action has a time limit."


While "the bill collector" is one person no one wants to hear from from ... these debt collectors play an important role in our economy.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP conducted a survey on behalf of ACA International.
The survey found that in 2007 about $40.4 billion of debt was collected and returned.

That $40.4 billion is equivalent to an average savings of $354 per American household that might otherwise been spent had businesses been forced to raise prices to cover the unreceived debt.
If you have debt - know the laws and rules.

A good place to start?



Statue of Limitations in Nevada
Written Contracts: 6 years
Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.190(1)(b) (WESTLAW through 2001 Reg. Session and 17th and 18th Special Sessions of the 71st Leg.).

Oral Contracts 4 years
Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.190(2)(c) (WESTLAW through 2001 Reg. Session and 17th and 18th Special Sessions of the 71st Leg.).

Judgments 6 years
Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.190(1)(a) (WESTLAW through 2001 Reg. Session and 17th and 18th Special Sessions of the 71st Leg.).

Hospital Accounts
Effective Date: October 1, 2007
1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, an action against a person to recover payment for any amount owed to a hospital for hospital care provided to the person at the hospital must be commenced not later than 4 years after the date on which any payment that is due for the services is not paid.
2. The period provided in subsection 1 is tolled during any periods in which the hospital is awaiting a determination concerning eligibility for, or the amount of, benefits from an
insurer or public program and during any periods in which payments are being made.
3. As used in this section, “hospital care” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 428.155.
N.V. A.B. 247(Sec. 7) (2007)

WHAT TRIGGERS THE CLOCK ON DEBT TO RESTART?
The time in NRS 11.190 shall be deemed to date from the last transaction or the last item charged or last credit given;
and whenever any payment on principal or interest has been or shall be made upon an existing contract,
whether it be a bill of exchange, promissory note or other evidence of indebtedness if such payment
be made after the same shall have become due, the limitation shall commence
from the time the last payment was made. Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.200
(WESTLAW through 2005 73rd Reg. Sess. & the 22nd Special Sess.)
If a debt is days or minutes away from reaching six years
and a payment is made, the clock restarts.

** First, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits any debt collector from falsely representing the character, amount, or legal status of any debt.

** Second, Rule II(A)(6) of the ACA Code of Ethics states members have a duty not to threaten or initiate collection litigation on time barred debts.

Another Consumer resource is "Ask Doctor Debt." It is a sort of "Dear Abby" for consumers with specific credit and debt questions.
"Ask Doctor Debt" is a completely free web site where consumers can find tons of information on credit and debt collection issues like the one we profiled in our story.
There is a staff dedicated to answering specific Consumer questions that get e-mailed to

Monday, November 3, 2008

POOPER SCOOPER ON THE RUN

The Pooper-Scooper-on-the-run … is still wanted by authorities.


If you didn’t see the story, you can click here.
In a nutshell, it’s the story of a man who was hired to do a job, and then for some reason did some bad things to his former clients, according to the orders of protection filed in Justice Court.
One of his former clients told us Gober dumped paint all over his truck.

The protection order says Gober called one client after he left paint thrown on the front door of that client’s home. The report says he called the client and left a message. In part it said, “It’s payback time B****. The paint on your F****** door, I did it. And you know what, there’ll be more.”

It’s something to think about. How much do you know about the person you hire to mow your lawn, clean your pool, clean your house? There is an arrest warrant out for Joe Gober, since he didn’t show up for a court appearance.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SENTENCED!


Juanetta Granger, also known as "The Heiress", "The Designer", "The Master Florist", and a list of 20 other aliases was in court today. * She was sentenced by Judge John McGroarty.

It's been a long road for the victims in this case, and some of them had their cases dismissed, although there is a chance they will get some restitution.

If you didn't see our stories, you'll find them listed on the player as "The Heiress" and "The Designer". Click here to see them.


The particulars: She was sentenced to 19 to 48 months at the Nevada State Prison. That sentence was suspended. She will be on probation for 5 years. she's to have no alcohol during that time. She will be paying restitution to her many victims, but the total amount is not yet clear. The judge used the figure of $128,851.46, but a restitution hearing in November will determine the exact amount.

She will have to pay extradition costs of $1,226.14, and will have to stay behind bars for 90 days,. starting today, October 22, 2008. Two victims spoke at today's sentencing. One man who runs Summerlin Shoes says she intentionally and deliberately talked up a good story and took advantage of him and his business, with no intention of ever paying for the shoes he sold her. He is owed $1230.25. Another victim, Janet Schertzer, is owed far more. She wants her $22,500 back. Granger told Janet she was a designer and the two of them should start a business. Granger took Janet all over town to furniture stores, model homes, and high rise condos to make Janet believe this was a real business. When Granger was asked by the Judge if she had anything to say. She did say "I'm sorry." She then complained that there was no counseling for her, no impulse counseling available to help her.
According to the District Attorney in Payne County, Oklahoma, Juanita Charree Lantz, as she's known there, told people she was JC Gaylord .. a member of the Oklahoma City Gaylord family that owns the News Press. She signed real estate documents as JC Gaylord Wolf. Granger/Gaylord's boyfriend, a Mr. Wolf, said that Granger/Gaylord told him that she was a member of the Gaylord family of Oklahoma City. She's now facing a felony charge of personation in Payne County.

*Here's a look at some of what we believe to be her aliases: Charree Lavicky, Juanetta Charree Gross, JC Lantz, JC Lavicky, JC Gross, Brandy Lance, Charree Tuscanio, Juanita Lance, Juanita Lavickey, Juanita Lavicky, Juanita Tuscanio, Juanita West, Juanetta Granger, Juanetta Charree Granger, Bobbie Sue Ford, Juanita Charee Gross, Juanita Gross, JH Stranhan, Juanetta Granger Gaylord!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

DAMON HILL - THE KING OF NO SHOW


Liticaphobia- the fear of lawsuits.
The man who calls himself the CEO of Infinity Investment Services may suffer from liticaphobia.
What else could explain a consistence record of not showing up in court when you or your company is being sued?
You may remember that Hill was due to appear in a California court room in 2003 - he never showed up.

HILL remained at-large (no pun intended) until Metro police placed on the cuffs in 2005.

California wanted him back. For whatever reason, Hill did not want to face his crimes in California. and he refused a voluntary extradition.

Gee, Damon, we have to ask you this question: What kept you wanting to stay at CCDC?

The beautiful accommodations?

A lot of time, paper work and a lot of tax payers money had to be spent to extradite Hill.

Here we are in 2008, and Damon Hill appears to be suffering again with liticaphobia.

Infinity Investment Services, Damon Hill's pride and joy, has lawsuits being throw at it as fast as they can be written...and when it comes time to appear in court? Damon Hill is a no show.


AUGUST 2, 2008 - INFINITY INVESTMENT SERVICES loses in court. Default judgement totalling $39,904.03. Infinity never showed up. Now come on, where's Damon?

SEPTEMBER 4, 2008 - Once again - NO SHOW in Judge Cadish court room. Hyundai Motor Finance is suing Infinity Investment Services.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2008 - Why stop? No show in Judge Denton's courtroom. American Honda Finance is suing Infinity Investment Services.

Hill has yet to appear in court for the case involving Kia Motors.

On October 2, 2008 - Infinity Investment Services is scheduled to appear in Judge Williams courtroom at 9am. Infinity is being sued by JP Morgan Chase Bank.
Deep breaths, Damon. Keep telling yourself, "it's just a courtroom, it's just a courtroom."
Don't look over at the uniformed officer with the hand cuffs. Focus. You can do it.





Friday, September 12, 2008

INFINITY INVESTMENT SERVICES






Location: 1641 East Flamingo, Las Vegas

A quick acting INFINITY client intercepted this letter containing two VISA cards.

It appears INFINITY was not fast enough to pull off a quick change of addresses that would have sent this letter to the INFINITY offices instead of to the rightful owner.

This VISA card belongs to the client, not INFINITY. It was the client’s social security number and personal information that was used to obtain the credit.

At no time did the client give permission to INFINITY to apply for this card.

Don’t you have to sign a credit card application? Yes. Forgery?

It appears DAMON HILL, CEO of Infinity Investment Services, or someone using his name at Infinity did apply – and put DAMON HILL as the secondary user, requesting a card in that name. Was it DAMON?

This came as a surprise to the client. Why would they use their credit so DAMON HILL can have a credit card in his name? No where do you see Infinity Investment Services printed on either card.

A bigger surprise came a few days later.

NEWS 3 INVESTIGATORS revealed information about DAMON HILL’S criminal past.
(See DAMON HILL's mug shot to the right)

All the clients we spoke to told us they had no idea about DAMON’S past – seems DAMON HILL does not openly share this information with prospective clients.

Why would he?

DAMON HILL is a felon. He served time in California for Identity Theft and two counts of grand theft auto.

It does not stop there.

According to Las Vegas Metro police records DAMON HILL was busted in Las Vegas. He was arrested for holding up a man at gun point…..trying to stealing the man’s laptop as he exited a restaurant. DAMON HILL then told the victim he knew where the victim’s mother worked and lived and would “visit” both of them if the victim did not go to their ATM and withdraw cash.

The victim got into their car and drove to the ATM. HILL followed in another car.
The victim simply called 911 on their cell phone. Within minutes HILL was busted.

DAMON HILL sat behind bars at Clark County Detention Center from September to January. Seems HILL was wanted in California. He had been on the run for two years. According to records, HILL would not sign the extradition papers releasing him into California custody. So both states had to go through the long process that eventually would send HILL back to California.

INFINITY INVESTMENT SERVICES is also linked to a so called organization called The JAVIS Foundation. In part two of our Infinity investigations we revealed several problems facing JAVIS. (We even corrected the spelling on the JAVIS web site and it seems someone at JAVIS/INFINITY saw our story and made the appropriate changes) INFINITY'S CFO, ROBERT HERMAN (photograph on the right) appears to have a difficult time answering questions and explaining what JAVIS is all about.

The JAVIS website is down. Disappeared.
What happened?
The NEWS 3 INVESTIGATORS has also uncovered 3 names appearing on the articles of incorporation for INFINITY INVESTMENT SERVICES. This documentation is filed with the state of Nevada. The names of 3 people, who until we called them, had no idea they were listed as managing members on the paper work. They are clients. In their own words they are not a part of this corporation and were never asked to be. It appears these documents were filed without their knowledge or permission.

If you are a victim of INFINITY INVESTMENT SERVICES click here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Telephone Update

The check has arrived! The Rowley's let me know Cox did in fact cover the cost of those fraudulent collect calls that showed up on their bill. $173 worth! If you check the earlier post, you'll see the story. After seeing what they went through, I called my phone company and put a block on all collect calls. It made me think .. when was the last time I received a collect call? I don't think I ever have. Also, after our story aired Steve Schorr emailed to say ... Cox is, by law, forced to put those charges on a customer's bill from third party companies. They simply have to pass them along, even if they seem fraudulent. Again .. if you notice something unusual, or suspect calls have been fraudulently applied to your bill, call your phone company and let them know. Write down the name of the person you speak with and call them back to make sure it's taken care of.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Few Reminders .....



If you saw our story on the “Phony Phone Calls”, you know you can prevent this type of thing from happening to you. If you didn’t see the story, click here. Any phone provider, (Cox, Embarq) can block third party billed calls from being applied to your account. (Third party calls are collect calls, calls from correctional facilities, many 900/976 numbers, etc.) After you place a block on your account, these types of calls won’t come through. These calls are billed by a third party, and your phone company has to put them on the bill. I just had this block placed on my own home phone. It’s free with Cox, Embarq charges 50 cents a month for a collect call block.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Help! I've Got An Abandoned Car In My Neighborhood



We heard from two viewers about the trouble they had getting someone's attention when it came to abandoned cars in a neighborhood, or near a workplace.
We're watching our for you .. and we're saving you the steps of trying to find the appropriate agency.

The first step is to determine if it is parked on public property (most streets and neighborhoods), or private property (most vacant lots).

If it's private property, most often you'll need to call the Code Enforcement Department in your city .. Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, or if not in a city .. Clark County.

If it's public property, call your local police agency or check with the Constable's Office if you're in the City of Las Vegas or unincorporated Clark County.
**No matter who you call, please know the Make, Model, Color of the vehicle. Get the license plate number and location of the vehicle.

North Las Vegas
(if on public street)
North Las Vegas Police
702-633-1390

(if on private property)
North Las Vegas Code Enforcement
702-633-1677
on-line



Las Vegas
(if on private property--vacant lots, etc.)
Neighborhood Services
702-229-6615 (24 hour number-leave message after hours)

(if on public property--which is most streets)
702-455-8697 (Constable's Office)
on-line


Henderson
(private property)
Code Enforcement
702-267-3950

(public property)
Parking Enforcement Hotline
702-267-3950 or 702-267-5099


Clark County
(private property)
Public Response
702-455-4191

(public property)
Constable's Office
702-455-8697


Metro
(on line complaint form for public streets. You'll need to find which "Area Command" you live in within Metro's jurisdiction. All commands have area maps to show you the boundries. Each command has an Abandoned Vehicle Report.) You may also want to call the Constable's Office. It handles the much of the towing duty for Metro after recent changes to existing law.
Las Vegas Township Constable's Office
702-455-8697 (455-TOWS)
Once it receives a complaint of an abandoned vehicle, the Constable's office will send a deputy within 10 days. Already, the Constable's Office says it has towed 1000 abandoned vehicles.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Which Companies Have The Most ID Theft Complaints?


Find out below*

But first … Teenagers are a lot of things. Increasingly they are targets for ID theft. In fact the younger you are, the better victim you make. That’s because if someone has obtained your social security number, you probably won’t know. Older folks will find out someone has used their credit when they try to get a loan and are turned down, or they’ll get a call from a credit card company reporting suspicious activity. But, say, you’re 12 years old. You aren’t getting a car loan and it could be years before you find out there’s a problem.

You can see our story on Kate here.

Anyone with a social security number should be checking their credit report at least once a year. Young kids and teenagers should also do this, as our story illustrated. Just because young kids and teens don't have credit cards, car loans or home mortgages .. doesn't mean someone won't try to use their credit to do so. Half a million teenagers were victims of id theft. Many never thought to check their credit report. They should.

You can get an annual copy of your credit report, for free, from all three credit reporting agencies, once a year. If you're smart, space it out. Get one copy from one of the credit agencies. Wait four months, get another copy of your report from a different credit agency, etc. That way you won’t go a whole year in between reports. If you have them sent to you at home. Don’t leave them lying around. And don’t throw them in the garbage. Shred them!

Here's where you can get your annual credit report.

Here's how to contact each of the individual credit reporting agencies:
Equifax

TransUnion

Experian

*****If you want to see which companies get the most ID Theft/Fraud complaints, read this article.
Companies don't like to divulge this information. It turns out UC Berkeley's Center for Law and Technology, using a Freedom of Information Act request, got a small sampling of information from the Federal Trade Commission, which collects ID Theft/Fraud complaints from companies.


Gregory Cook, Evofi One, Inc. the mortage loan officer who appeared in our story "Kate's Identity Theft" told us about Evofi's new weapon to fight fraud and identity theft. The company just incorporated newly developed software they call FRAUD FREE ZONE. Evofi has spent 3 years developing this software. FRAUD FREE ZONE will analyze every loan application and will prevent most common types of fraud as well as mistakes in loan applications.


Read how the U.S. contradicts itself
over its ID theft advice.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Drink More Water!

With the temperatures well into the triple digits, I hope you’re drinking lots of water! I came across this article on the Associated Press wire and thought it made an interesting point. I know lots of people who drink soda and assume they’re getting their needed amount of water. Not so ... if you read below.
Just so you know .. I like a soda every so often just like the next guy. But this is something to think about in our hot climate.

The study synopsis:

"Even though these beverages are proclaimed to be mostly water,
in a first
of a kind beverage trial it was demonstrated that they cannot
sustain
life. Since the outcome of such trial was unknown and since death
was
expected in absence of water, no humans or animals took part of it.
Instead, each beverage was given to a house plant, which depends on
water
for survival as people do. The results were stunningly sad.


(The plant on the left before the study started, the plant on the right was given only regular soda during the study.)

The plants failed to grow and develop, and most of them died.
However, the plant that was given plain water flourished.
(The plants above were given water only. The picture on the left was before the study, the picture on the right after the study was completed.)

"This is a good indicator that people quenching their thirst
with
beverages other than water might be making a catastrophic mistake
since
the beverage trial showed that no beverage can be a substitute for
water," said Steve Dimeck, the lead author of the study.
To raise the awareness in people about the benefits of drinking
water,
several dozen studies, research material and clinical trials were
reviewed. There was clear evidence that water indeed can help with
headaches, blood pressure, weight loss, ulcers, mental performance,
constipation, kidney stones, cancer and more.
"This study was not done to discourage people from consuming
the
modern-day beverages, but to encourage them to drink more water
since
water, as the beverage trial confirmed, means life," stated Steve
Dimeck."

The full study is available by going to this link. However, you have to sign up as a subscriber to read the whole thing.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Let's Talk About Garbage ...




It's the landfill that keeps on going and going and going. No, you can't take garbage to the Sunrise landfill anymore. But it's still there, and still not permanently closed and capped, as the Environmental Protection Agency says it should be.
Sunrise landfill stopped accepting trash back in 1993. It "closed" in 1995. In 1997 Republic Services decided to buy Silver State Disposal, which included the Sunrise landfill. Now Republic owns it. If you weren't around in 1998, it was a bad flood year in the Las Vegas Valley. So bad, the water forced contaminants from the Sunrise Landfill ... downstream. The EPA came up with a plan to cap and seal and monitor the landfill, so it wouldn't happen again. Republic says the estimate to do that work was originally $36 million. Now, about 10 years later, it could cost another $30 million. So, Republic wants help. The county has been cool to the idea of raising rates to pay for the cleanup. It did agree to extend Republic's franchise agreement in the county until 2035, in exchange for cleaning up the landfill. See our original story on the situation here. Republic says that isn't enough. Republic also gets a rate increase every July 1, based on how much the consumer price index has gone up. That's not enough.

On June 20th, Republic sent a letter to the county saying if it didn't allow for a rate increase, Republic would increase something called "tipping fees" on its own. "Tipping Fees" are what Republic charges to get rid of garbage at its landfills and transfer stations. Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani doesn't think Republic can do that without county approval. So the standoff begins. Commissioners will take up the issue July 15th.

Some other information you might find useful. Republic owns a lot of landfills .. 58 in 21 states, so it should be familiar with the cost of capping and closing landfills. As part of the franchise agreement, Republic has to release its financials to the county every year. In 2007, Republic had revenue of just about $274 million dollars for its operation in Southern Nevada. It shows $34 million dollars in profit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No Such Thing as International Driver's License!

Heads up to all of you who might be thinking of getting an International Driver's License. First of all, there's no such thing! There is something called an International Driving permit .. more on that in a moment.



The Nevada Consumer Affairs Division says a company is advertising on radio, in emails, and on websites. It promises "A license that can never be suspended or revoked". Folks, it's a scam. Those are not my words, that's what the State of Nevada found. Especially at risk for this .. Hispanics. Many of the ads are put in foreign-language newspapers that direct consumers top websites or local storefronts.
If you've been approached to by a bogus International Driver's License, report it to the Nevada Division of Motor Vehicles by going here or by calling 702-486-4368.
Part of the reason this scam is so successful is that there is a legitimate International Driving Permit (IDP). However, an IDP is not a replacement for a valid U. S. state license.


Friday, June 13, 2008

BRAKE TEAM target of INVESTIGATION

Customer complaints got Nevada Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto, to launch an undercover investigation into practices at the auto repair chain BRAKE TEAM.

On BRAKE TEAM's own web site they claim to be "the largest brake repair center" in Las Vegas.

But now BREAK TEAM will pay the largest settlement to date involving an Attorney General undercover investigation into the Nevada automotive repair industry.

$45,000.00 in fines and penalties.

BRAKE TEAM has agreed to:
- Revise employee compensation structure to reduce any incentive to sell unnecessary parts and services.
- Obtain membership in Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association.
- Train store personal in the Motorist Assurance Program Uniform Inspection & Communication Standards.
- Mandatory ethics training seminars for its sales and management.
- Hire a Technical Quality Assurance Manager.
- Test all brake repair technicians to ensure that they have practical, basic brake repair proficiency.
- Pay for technicians to test for Automotive Service Excellence certification.
- Implement and maintain internal quality assurance controls.
- Perform an annual cost of goods sold audit at each of its Nevada locations.
- Provide a "whistle-blower" or "fraud" hot-line for its employees.
- Implement a quarterly technical mystery shopper program.
- Perform a free brake service for 2,500 consumers
- Pay fines and penalties.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Click below to fight fraud or file a complaint...


Fight Fraud

FILE A COMPLAINT

Friday, May 30, 2008

Warning for Cox.net Customers



Everybody wants your private information. We've warned many of you about it before. Since Cox is such a dominant player in the valley, I thought I'd pass this along. A viewer, who has a cox.net account, received the email below. I confirmed this with Cox officials, this is not something they would do! Cox will NEVER contact you asking you to give them this information. (log in name, mother's maiden, password,etc)


Here's the fraudulent email:


____________________________________________________
Dear Cox.net Email Account Owner,
This message is from ADRIAN.EDU messaging center to all COX.NET email
account users. We are currently upgrading our data base and e-mail account
center. We are deleting all unused COX.NET email account to create more
space for new accounts.
To prevent your account from being dormant,there is need for you to verify
your details below so that we will know that it is in used.
It is just routine, safe, secure and for everyone's security.You can
change your settings 72 hours after verification is concluded.
Email Login ID :
EMAIL Password :
Mother last Name:
Attention!!! Account owner that does not update his or her account within
a given period of time after receiving this Notification will lose his or
her account permanently. It will show that the person is not using this
services.
Thank you for using COX.NET!
Notification Code:BC1G43TRJ
Sandra Dubois
COX.NET SUPPORT TEAM

____________________________________________________

The above email is simply a way to get you to give up your personal information. Don't do it.

You can get more information on this particular scam at the cox.net site here.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

BEWARE OF THAT "FREE" GIFT

The next time your phone rings, know who is calling you.
That's the advice from the Federal Trade Commission.

Operation "Tele-PHONEY" is underway. It is the largest sweep ever conducted by the FTC on suspected fraudulent telemarketers.

The FTC unveiled the “Who’s Calling?” consumer education campaign, which encourages consumers to:
1) Recognize the signs of telemarketing fraud.
2) Report fraud to the FTC and state attorneys general.
3) Register phone numbers on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry if they want to receive fewer telemarketing calls.

The campaign features a new Web site – in both English and Spanish – and two short videos. See the here.

Beware of that "free" gift offer...
Telemarketing magazine subscriptions, these defendants allegedly disguise their sales pitch as a survey, at the end of which they offer “free” or low-cost magazine subscriptions. They send a bill weeks later, stating that consumers agreed to pay several hundred dollars for the subscriptions. When consumers complain or attempt to cancel, the defendants tell them that they are obligated to pay the bill and may not cancel because they entered into a “verbal contract” during the survey call and the defendants have already paid the magazine publishers for the subscriptions. The defendants then attempt to extort payment by harassing the consumers at work, threatening to initiate collection actions, or threatening to submit derogatory information about them to the major credit bureaus.

“The caller asked for my bank account information. I cannot remember everything he said. I just thought that I needed to confirm my account information in order to avoid losing my Medicare benefits.”
Juanita Tortella, 77

Friday, May 9, 2008

William Cushing, Where are You?


Well, it happened.

Nevada's Gaming Control Board did nominate William Cushing to be placed on "List of Excluded Persons". That's only part of the process though. The nomination has to be approved by the state's Gaming Commission. In order to do that, Cushing has to be served with papers notifying him of the nomination, so he can appeal it, if he chooses. Jerry Markling, Chief of the Gaming Control Board's Enforcement Division, says now investigators have to find Cushing. In the past, some people have avoided being served with papers to appear before the Commission. If that happens in this case, the Gaming Control Board can also put a notice in the newspaper which will accomplish the process of him being "served". It'll be a couple months before Cushing's case comes before the Commission.
So what happens when someone on the "List of Excluded Persons" goes into a Nevada Casino? It is not a felony, as has been reported elsewhere. It's a gross misdemeanor. As for the casino, it's a regulatory issue, not a criminal action if it happens.
A question from one of our viewers asked if there is facial recognition security software to tip off casinos if any of the 35 people on the list enter a casino. Markling told me there is software available to do that, he is not aware if any of the casinos use it.

if you're interested in the people "wanted" by the Gaming Control Board click here.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

If you didn't see the News 3 Investigators piece on problem landlords, click here to see it. We profile 3 landlords who own properties in Las Vegas. The properties are the top 3 in terms of city code violations. By the way, if you there's a chronic problem at a property where you live, the city of Las Vegas would like to hear about it. 229-6615. The neighborhood services department pretty much is complaint driven. That means they won't know about a problem, unless you notify them. If you don't live in the city limits of Las Vegas, contact Henderson, North Las Vegas, or Clark county, depending on where you live.


I spoke with Jerry Markling with the Nevada Gaming Control Board's Enforcement division about cheaters. The Board will decide whether to forward a new name for the "List of Excluded Persons" to the Gaming Commission. Some also call this the "Blackbook". William Cushing, according the Gaming Board, has had a long history of cheating casinos. If Cushing is put on the "List" he won't be allowed in most casinos. This "List" is pretty interesting. There are just 35 people on it. (34 men 1 woman) Once you're on, you're pretty much on their for life. You can request a judge to take you off if you can prove your case. According to Markling, that's never happened.
If you to check out the "List of Excluded Persons" click here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

10 Steps to find out if your rental home is in foreclosure

We originally posted this information back in January 2008. It's still accurate, and still the "gold standard" since it takes you right to the county websites!

We get many, many phone calls from people who need to rent a home, but wonder if the rental they're looking at is in foreclosure or soon will be. The county recorder's office says on a daily basis, renters are learning the home they're living in went into foreclosure. The scary part is that the renters only learn this when they find a notice on their front door telling them they have a few days to move out! Unfortunately, there is no quick 1-800 number to call and get an answer.

Instead you have to do a little detective work. The Watchdog is watching out for you. We've made this as simple as possible and have put a step by step list on how to see if the home you're renting, or want to rent, is currently in foreclosure. It would make a lot of sense to check this on a monthly basis.Here we go!

1. Get the address of the rental property. If it's not in the rental ad, call and get it. Or better yet, set up an appointment to look at the house. That way you'll be sure the address you're given is accurate.

2. Go to the Clark County Assessor website here.

3. In the top left corner, click on address search and then enter the address. Keep in mind you enter the house number, the street name, the type of street (court, circle, road, etc) on separate lines. If you don't know what city or town the rental is in.. just leave that unspecified. Even though the rental home is in Las Vegas, it could show up under another town, such as Spring Valley, etc. Anyway, enter the address information and hit submit..

4. You should see a listing with the exact address. It's probably the first one on the list. Click on the parcel number.

5. Under general information you should see the homeowner's name and address, and also the parcel number again. Write that parcel number down .. you'll need it.

6. Go to the the Clark County Recorder website:

7. The second listing on the upper far left side of the site is "search records" .. click on that.

8. In the middle of the page you'll see several options to search on. Simple, Advanced, Instrument ID and Marriage.

9. Click on "Advanced Search".

10. The only thing you want to concern yourself with on this page is "legal descriptions". There are four lines under legal descriptions .. you want to use the first line which shows parcel number. In the blank space NEXT to parcel number, you want to enter the parcel number you wrote down.

*Do not enter the dashes between the number .. just the numbers*.

Then click on the button below that says "Detail Data".This should take you to the "Web Services Detailed Data Results."You'll notice each entry has an instrument number and a document type. If default paperwork has been filed with the recorder's office, it should be listed here. The most recent actions are listed first. If it's not listed now .. you may want to check back on a weekly or monthly basis. If you see something that might be a default, or you want more information, write down the instrument number and take it with you to the county recorder's office. They are there to help you and that instrument number will prevent you from going through all these steps again.

Some detailed documents are ONLY available at the county recorder's office. Employees there will help you find what you're looking for.Where is the County Recorder's office? It's inside the big stone-looking building at 500 S Grand Central Parkway known as the Clark County Government Center. It's across from the Premium Outlet Mall and near the World Market Center. The recorder's office is on the second floor. The phone number is 455-4336.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Water Rebate Update!

Not long ago we did a story about Barbara Owen and her yard. She decided to do the right thing and save water. She pulled out her grass and replaced it with rock and artificial turf. It was all going to plan until the Southern Nevada Water Authority reminded her that in order to receive the rebate, she had to have at least 50 percent plant coverge on the area she's replacing. (It's spelled out on the back of the rebate form you have to sign.)
Well, after a few changes, Barbara got her rebate! All 1134 dollars! She also sent along some pictures of the cactus in her backyard which are blooming, which we'll share! She even caught a hummingbird checking out her backyard.



If you didn't see the story we did you can see it by going here.
Then scroll down to the story titled "Water Rebate Warning"
Way to go Barbara!

Scam, Scam, Scam!

We've had many reports recently about phishing. So here's the reminder again. Be cautious.
Phishing is when you receive an email using some ploy to get your personal information. It'll say "We've updated our records and want to make sure our information is up to date", or "A deadline is fast approaching, without your attention you could be putting your accounts in danger" etc. I've heard people getting emails that appear to be from your bank. They are not .. but they may look very close. People can steal logos from a well known company and use them in an email. A Channel 3 employee got an email, allegedly, from the IRS.
We are pleased to inform you that upon reviewing yourfiscal activity, we have determined that you are eligible toreceive a tax refund of $270,25.To access the online form for your tax refund, please click here
Of course, the employee was suspicious. Think about it. Doesn't the IRS already have all your information? Why would they contact you via email? If you are not sure, don't reply to the email. Call the Bank, IRS, credit card company or whoever is asking for the updated personal information. Don't call any phone number on the email. Call the established phone number you have for the bank, IRS, credit card, etc and ask them why they are trying to get updated information. In almost every case, it's a fraud!

Also ... if someone tells you you won a lottery from a foreign country .. it's a lie.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Buffalo Jim's Rolls Royce





These are never before seen photograph’s of Metro Police inspecting Buffalo Jim’s Rolls Royce.

No news on what Metro discovered – if anything.

However, that doesn’t stop the conspiracy theorist from working overtime since the sudden death of James “Buffalo Jim” Barrier. Perhaps their theories will one day be proven true – maybe not.
Was he murdered? Why some believe we will never know?
Like Ted Binion this death is bound to end up
in the pages of Las Vegas folklore.
What we do know is that the Clark County Coroner has
listed this death as “natural causes.”
However, all that could change depending on the results of the toxicology report.
We could be waiting weeks for those results.

Metro has looked into this death at the request and urging of family members.
There is no “murder” investigation.
Homicide detectives are not investigating.

So, we wait.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Credit Scam, Religion & Recycling



It's been a busy week so far. It's only Wednesday!
Hope you caught the story about Kyle Kimoto. He's the Las Vegas man found guilty of conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud.


The U-S Attorney's office says his company, registered in Nevada, but operating out of St. George, Utah did business under several different names. Advantage Capital, Capital First, Premier One, Bay Area Business Council and American Leisure were some of them.
A Federal Grand Jury found his credit card scheme victimized more than 300-thousand people, costing victims 43 million dollars.



We also learned a little bit about his wife. She is a former Mrs. Nevada. A viewer brought this news release to my attention. It's interesting how often she talks about helping those in the community. Even more interesting when you compare it to what her husband was convicted of doing.




Recycling. It appears the "test" neighborhoods are all lined up. We talked about this months ago. Republic Services wanted to try several different plans to see which increased recycling. The biggest change is that you would no longer have 3 bins to put recyclables in. Just one big can for all recyclables. No separating paper and plastic. Republic and the County wanted to test this out for about a year to see which works best. Although early recommendations by a recycling task force appeared to suggest cutting back our garbage service collection to just one day a week, along with the changes to recycling service, we're told that is no longer the case.
We'll have more on this soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Helping the Little Guy, or Big Business?

We’ve done many stories about how the housing crisis has affected people in the Las Vegas Valley. Unfortunately, people are still losing homes to foreclosure in Nevada, more so than in most other states. Renters are still learning the home they’ve been paying to rent, is in foreclosure.

Washington is trying to do something, but it may not be what most people expect. Consumer groups says it's a big government handout to big business.

The Foreclosure Prevention Act is supposed to help lots of folks stay in their homes. But it turns out there are just modest steps in the bill to do that. There is much more when it comes to the billions of dollars in tax breaks for businesses. The benefactors include automakers, airlines, alternative energy producers and home builders.
You can read the full story in the New York Times.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Doctor Website Changing?


There's been a lot of attention on the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners in light of the Hepatitis/HIV crisis.
At its quarterly meeting in March, the board announced it will be considering changes to its website, including the possibility of adding more information about doctors. That could include information about malpractice lawsuits doctors have faced. Apparently, some of that information used to be on the website, it's not anymore. We won't know until June if the board decides to study changes to its website. In the meantime, you can see the latest doctors to be disciplined by the Board here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Read the Fine Print!


We all need to save water, right? Many people have taken advantage of the Southern Nevada Water Authority Water Smart rebate. It allows you to remove grass from your yard and get a rebate from the authority, provided you switch to a low water use landscape. Literally, thousands of people have taken advantage of this, and we're saving water. It's a good thing.
But, the authority wants you to use less water, not NO water. One of our viewers found that out. Even though her neighborhood association says it was fine with her idea, the water authority told her she would have to add some plants to her landscaping. Essentially, use more water than she planned. It has to do with the "50 percent rule". By accepting the rebate, you agree that at least half of the area being converted will be covered with live, low water use plants. Just something to keep in mind if you're considering the rebate.
You can see the story here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An Island of Garbage?



There's another reason to re-use those plastic grocery store bags, or better yet use the canvas reusable ones. In fact, this story should encourage all of us to use less plastic. I was listening to the Bryant Park Project on NPR this morning and they were talking about a huge problem in one part of the Pacific Ocean. It's a huge plastic garbage mass. It is nearly TWICE the size of Texas! The mass can be found halfway between Hawaii and Los Angeles. Earth Day isn't until next month, but this is definitely something to think about. The garbage mass deposits in this particular area due to the ocean currents and lack of wind. 80 percent of the garbage comes from land based areas, about 20 percent from cruise ships, according to the man who has made 8 trips to this area. It takes about 6 months for plastic garbage to make its way from Asia to this particular spot, and about 5 years to make its way from the United States.

Find out more here

Earth Day is April 22!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Attention Renters!

We had a story Wednesday night about a couple who found out the home they were living in was in foreclosure. It went into foreclosure in October of 2007, but the renters, Jennifer and Travis, didn't find out about it until January! What tipped them off? Not the owner of the home, I did.

You can see our story about Home Foreclosure by clicking here.

In the interest of helping other renters who may not know there is a problem with their rental home, I'm reprinting the "10 steps" to find out if the rental home you're living in is in foreclosure. I've seen ads that some companies are charging $200 to get this information. It's free here.

Originally posted January 2, 2007

We get many, many phone calls from people who need to rent a home, but wonder if the rental they're looking at is in foreclosure or soon will be. The county recorder's office says on a daily basis, renters are learning the home they're living in went into foreclosure. The scary part is that the renters only learn this when they find a notice on their front door telling them they have a few days to move out! Others will find a padlock on their rental home. Not only do these folks have to move out, if they paid first and last month's rent, plus a security fee, they likely won't get that money back.Unfortunately, there is no quick 1-800 number to call and get an answer. Instead you have to do a little detective work. The Watchdog is watching out for you.

We've made this as simple as possible and have put a step by step list on how to see if the home you're renting, or want to rent, is currently in foreclosure. It would make a lot of sense to check this on a monthly basis.

Here we go!
1. Get the address of the rental property. If it's not in the rental ad, call and get it. Or better yet, set up an appointment to look at the house. That way you'll be sure the address you're given is accurate.
2. Go to the Clark County Assessor website below:

http://www.co.clark.nv.us/ASSESSOR/Disclaim.htm

3. In the top left corner, click on address search and then enter the address. Keep in mind you enter the house number, the street name, the type of street (court, circle, road, etc) on separate lines. If you don't know what city or town the rental is in, just leave that unspecified. Even though the rental home is in Las Vegas, it could show up under another town, such as Spring Valley, etc. Anyway, enter the address information and hit submit..

4. You should see a listing with the exact address. It's probably the first one on the list. Click on the parcel number.

5. Under general information you should see the homeowner's name and address, and also the parcel number again. Write that parcel number down .. you'll need it.

6. Go to the the Clark County Recorder website:

http://www.co.clark.nv.us/recorder/recindex.htm

7. The second listing on the upper far left side of the site is "search records" .. click on that.

8. In the middle of the page you'll see several options to search on. Simple, Advanced, Instrument ID and Marriage.

9. Click on "Advanced Search".

10. The only thing you want to concern yourself with on this page is "legal descriptions". There are four lines under legal descriptions .. you want to use the first line which shows parcel number.
In the blank space NEXT to parcel number, you want to enter the parcel number you wrote down. Do not enter the dashes between the number .. just the numbers. Then click on the button below that says "Detail Data". This should take you to the "Web Services Detailed Data Results." You'll notice each entry has an instrument number and a document type. If default paperwork has been filed with the recorder's office, it should be listed here. The most recent actions are listed first. If it's not listed now .. you may want to check back on a weekly or monthly basis.

If you see something that might be a default, or you want more information, write down the instrument number and take it with you to the county recorder's office. They are there to help you and that instrument number will prevent you from going through all these steps again.

Some detailed documents are ONLY available at the county recorder's office. Employees there will help you find what you're looking for.

Where is the County Recorder's office? It's inside the big stone-looking building at 500 S Grand Central Parkway known as the Clark County Government Center. It's across from the Premium Outlet Mall and near the World Market Center. The recorder's office is on the second floor. The phone number is 455-4336.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kessler Report

The Clark County Commissioners are talking about changes now that the Kessler report is out.
The report, looks at the handling and mishandling of complaints, inside the Clark County Building Division and Clark County Fire Departments. If you want to see some of the examples .. page through it.

http://www.co.clark.nv.us/Public_communications/news_releases/Kessler%20Final%20Report%200308.pdf

The County is already taking steps to increase fees (fines) for not getting the proper permits from $4,000 to $50,000. It also wants employees better trained to spot concealed work. By the way, Harrah's, a major part of the report, did not let its employees talk to Michael Kessler for his investigation.

And one more thing. One of our watchdog investigators asked me .. Where was the public? The commissioners dealt with the Endoscopy crisis, and the Kessler report today. They were expecting a large group of citizens to attend. The place was nearly empty ... two people showed up. Granted, a lot of them work, but you would think enough people have been affected by this to attend. Just sayin! There is a hearing scheduled for March 24th, a Monday, at 5:30pm at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building, near Las Vegas Boulevard North and Washington. Members of the state health and human services committee want to hear from the public about the hepatitis and HIV scare. Specifically how were things handled, what should change?

Monday, March 17, 2008

An apology from the Governor!


It wasn't aimed at me specifically, but to the media in general. The governor apologized for using the word "buffoonery" while describing media coverage of the health care crisis. The news release hasn't been posted on the Governor's website yet .. so here is what the release says on this "buffoonery" issue:

"The governor also said he regretted using the word “buffoonery” while describing media coverage of the health care crisis. “My intention was to be sure that people were not fearful of seeking medical care because of the intense media coverage, it was a poor choice of words and I regret it,” Gibbons said.

On Sunday, the Governor also said he will ask three members of the Board of Medical Examiners to resign. This came two days after the three doctors said they would recuse themselves from any decisions on discipline, or the investigation, regarding the doctors involved in the hepatitis/hiv scare.

It turns out the President of the Board of Medical Examiners, Javaid Anwar, MD, The Vice President, Sohail Anjum, MD, and board member Daniel McBride, MD all have financial, professional or personal ties to some of the doctors in this scare, including Dr. Dipak Desai. Desai owns the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. Desai, as we've written about before, was also involved in the effort to limit malpractice damages in Nevada, which was approved by voters.

Will the three doctors resign from the Board? A spokesman for the Governor says they can't be fired. They were appointed to the position. The executive director of the Board of Medical Examiners, Tony Clark, has also been asked to resign by the Governor. The Gibbons spokesman says since Clark works for the Board of Medical Examiners, the Governor can't fire him either.

Gibbons does plan to name replacements to the board very soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

UMC "Held Hostage" by Desai contract

Dr. Dipak Desai is not getting any more money from UMC. He'd been involved with the county operated hospital for years through its gastroenterology department. He, and his clinics, had a contract with UMC for nearly a million dollars a year. In return, Desai would accept UMC referrals regardless if the patients had insurance. Many UMC clients don't.

The interesting part of the story is how he got the contract. He did it by cancelling an earlier contract with UMC which paid him and his clinics about $200,000 a year. He cancelled suddenly, putting UMC in a bind. It solicited new proposals and only two groups responded. Guess what .. Desai got the contract .. but this new one paid him and his clinics about $800,000 more! UMC spokesman Rick Plummer says UMC was held hostage by the tactic. The story in the Las Vegas Sun spells it all out.

Fraud Alert! If anyone claiming to be from Metro asks you for some kind of donation. Don't believe it. And don't give out any personal information .. checking account numbers, banking information. That goes for anyone selling something on ebay or craigslist. Lots of complaints from people who are trying to sell something, but those who want to buy are asking for banking information. Sounds fishy to me.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

It Just Looks Bad ... Real Bad.

Obviously, Dr. Dipak Desai has a successful practice. He's the majority owner of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. Although no formal charges have been filed against Dr. Desai at this time, or any of the other doctors in his group, investigators reported that syringes were re-used in an effort to save money. (The fluid used to sterilize some of the endoscopy equipment was also re-used.) News 3's Hetty Chang found similar syringes at medical supply stores selling for 7 cents a piece! A patients health compromised to save 7 cents? Many have called the action simply .... greed.




When you compare the cost-cutting allegations to the extravagant 3.4 million dollar, almost 9-thousand square foot home that Dr. Desai owns in the Red Rock Country Club, it's obvious he didn't cut corners at his home. News 3's Hetty Chang found those 7 cent syringes, multiplied by the 40-thousand people who may be affected by this, probably saved the doctor $2800. I'm guessing that's not enough to make the monthly mortgage payment on his Red Rock home. From all we've learned, not re-using syringes is a basic part of medical school education. If you want to see what else we've learned about these doctors, you can check out the story here.

http://www.kvbc.com/Global/story.asp?S=7936239

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More about Water

Since we aired our story on water, and what our Las Vegas Valley Water District board members have been doing to save it in their own yards, we've been thinking about where our water comes from. Did you know 90% of the water the Southern Nevada Water Authority receives comes from the Colorado River? The other 10% comes from aquifers and wells. The SNWA only gets 300,000 acre feet from the river per year. Sounds like a lot huh? But look at this. Arizona gets 2.85 million acre feet. California gets 4.4 million acre feet. Colorado gets 3.9 million acre feet, Utah 1.7 million acre feet, Wyoming(!) (and all its 515,000 people) gets 1 million acre feet and New Mexico gets .85 million acre feet. Even the country of Mexico gets more than we do! 1.5 million acre feet.
The Colorado River Compact was signed back in 1922, long before the Las Vegas Valley was at 2 million people. Still ... seems like we aren't getting our fair share.
By the way, an acre foot of water is 326,000 gallons. That's roughly enough water for two families in Las Vegas for one year.

Just something to think about.

And if you didn't see our story on "Practice what they Preach" you can see it here:
http://www.kvbc.com/Global/story.asp?S=7936239


The emails we got after the story aired, were all quite similar. If water is in such short supply, why don't the water experts get elected officials to stop approving new housing projects?

Here's what one woman emailed:

I wish you would have asked Pat Mulroy and the commissioners why they haven't pushed for a halt to growth in the valley to save water. They all have the ability to stop issuing building permits to developers.
It's all well and good to conserve water but more people means more water being used.
Stop the growth or at least slow it down and we will save water.

Here's another:
I wonder though, when we are in such a water 'conservation' mode that these Commissioners continue to embrace every developer that just 'has' to build another shopping center-housing development-parking lot- CASINOS and on and on. It isn't rocket science-that if you quit building-and halt growth to a degree, you alleviate some of the pressure.But no- that wouldn't be 'cost-effective' I suppose.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Practicing What They Preach??


February 26, 2008

We've all been told to use less water. In fact, for most of us, water rates are going up next month. Part of the increase is to provide incentive for people to use less. But what about the people who make the water rules? Who checks on them? We do! Tune in Wednesday for News 3 at 4pm and 11pm to see "Practicing what they Preach?". We look at the people who make the waters rules to see what they've done at their own homes. Do they have full lawns? Desert landscape? Fake grass? The Clark County Commissioners also act as board members for the Las Vegas Valley Water District. We took our cameras to see what these board members have done at their homes. We even had to employ Sky 3 to get us shots of homes that are in guard-gated communities. Do they pass or fail? Watch News 3 at 4pm & 11pm on Wednesday to see!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Filthy House .. Viewers respond!




February 15, 2008

We've received a lot of feedback about our story on Sally, the landlord and her filthy house.
Sally called us when she saw the condition of her rental home after a mother and four children had lived in the home for about 5 years. For many of those years Sally depended on a property management company to keep an eye on the place, as Sally lived out of state. She ended firing the management company and is now expecting to spend 30-thousand dollars to get her rental home in decent condition. As you'll see in the story, the renters received section 8 assistance from the Housing Authority of Clark County. The renter paid about 380 dollars a month, housing assistance (federal tax dollars) made up the rest. About 780 dollars a month.

We got many emails about the story, most of them positive. A few questioned why Sally never inspected the place herself. Some wondered why the renter's information should be kept private. (The Housing Authority says client information is confidential, and they won't tell us if this person is still receiving assistance) One person assumed that Sally was somehow related to me ... otherwise, this person asked, why else would I do such a slanted story? (I'm guessing they didn't like it) For the record, Sally is not a relative. Never met her, but glad we were able to bring her circumstance to the airwaves. The story got a lot of people talking and just today I've heard from three people who have rented to clients of the Housing Authority of Clark County. All tell me they've encountered similar problems. One woman told me she asked the Housing Authority to come and inspect the condition the renters had left the home in. They wouldn't. She was told the agency used to do that, but stopped several years ago.
Anyway. Here are some of the comments we received.

1.
I for one do not feel sorry for the land lord in your story about section 8. I have section 8 home in my area and the people are filthy too. If the owner cared about the home she would have checked on the condition of it on a regular basis. So for her to be surprised shows she did not care since we was getting payed. Now that it is going to cost her so much money is good, hopefully other landlords (slum lords) will take an interest in there homes and check on the section 8 people to ensure they are maintaining the property.
(This is the one asking if I'm a relative of Sally's. This person also says Sally is "playing the system" . I think most people would assume the renters "played the system" as they messed up Sally's house and didn't have to pay a thing to fix it!)
2.
In the real estate boom of the last 5-6 years, people were greedy and would have sold their souls to the devil to squeeze an extra dollar out of a deal. The mere fact that woman was qualified for Section 8 tells me she was a savvy investor. Section 8 is very hard to get and they are limited. Some investors had to do deals to get them transferred from property they owned in California. Long story. People that do this are savvy...they do it for the guaranteed rent from the Housing Authority and take the risk for the guaranteed rent. Everyone in the world assumes a Section 8 renter will destroy their home. This is no surprise to anyone.
I would understand you doing this story for her if she is a relative or friend and you want to help her, but otherwise, remember, there are three sides to every story, his side, her side and the truth. You only showed one side. I would like you to show the other side. She is not a poor woman against the government and I hate to be rude but your story sort of displayed ignorance on your part for not realizing she is playing the system as a savvy investor and may have used you to get help when in fact, she is part of the "investor" system that screwed many other in the real estate boom of late.
Except for you, I am not sure anyone feels sorry for her.
I apologize for saying that, but I do not think you looked very smart doing that story :)
She was a savvy investor and I think she played you.
3.
After reading the article on the landlord/nasty tenant situation, it just raises more questions about the whole "government assistance" programs. Why aren't recipients of such programs held accountable or, better yet, held at a higher standard? Now, this homeowner is burdened with cleaning up after an adult who has no respect for others or their property. And this is teaching the kids what? That it's ok to behave this way? Without regard to other people?
4.
I read the story on "filthy renters". I know the feeling. My partner and I owned rental properties in LV for yeras. We were out of state owners. Moved to LV 7/2006. Looked at one property. Found out tenant was a sec 8. Tenant had 12 natural children, 5-6 dogs. No doors on bedrooms. Cupboard doors torn off. DW full of garbage. 2nd Bath plumbing broken off wall. Outside backyard full of dog feces. Front yard full of garbage. We learned police had been called many times in four years. Neighbors in cul-de-sac fearful because tenants had gang affiliation. Tenants did mid-night move after I sent a letter to raise rent and charge $200.00 per animal. Cost to repair $26,000. ... just to put in shape to sell. By the way house a formal model .. in prestine condition when we purchased.
5.
I watched with interest your Section 8 story regarding the home that was left filthy and in shambles. I too rented to a Section 8 renter about seven years ago and found the agency difficult, at best, to work with. I did have some questions as to why the owner did not do random walk through, which is allowed but not always encouraged. With an investment as large as what she had it only makes sense to check on it and not just occasionally. While it is possible to work with the Housing Authority I do feel that my rental experience as an eye opener. The filth and destruction left our rental vacant for two months while we redid the entire interior and exterior. Even though I checked on it each and every month and advised the renter when and how it needed to be cared for the lack of concern for others property was incredible. When I contacted the Housing Authority regarding some concerns I was informed of the renters rights never mine. It was a total learning experience for us. I do think that the Section 8 Housing Authority needs to do a better job of "partnering up" with the owners, as well as the receivers of Section 8. I think that more people within the valley would be willing to allow Section 8 renters if the Housing Authority was more direct on what the owners rights are and how to enforce them. Also, when we did the repairs on our home I turned in an itemized bill for the amounts spent, including our labor. It took three months to get reimbursed from them and then we had to apply pressure. It is indeed a government abyss.

It turns out we heard from several other Section 8 landlords who've encountered similar problems. Some plan to take their complaints striaght to the top, when the Director of HUD comes to Las Vegas!