Tori Morris (skywaterblue) wrote in ontd_political,
Tori Morris

In which a bunch of Nevada political types sleep around with each other:

LAS VEGAS -- Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons will take to the airwaves on Monday to deliver grim news about the state's financial picture. But the governor has much more on his mind than the state of the state.

On Friday, he spent long hours being questioned under oath about a 2006 incident involving a Las Vegas cocktail waitress. What's more, a painful divorce that was supposed to be settled more than a month ago is still being contested.

In his deposition Friday, the governor was grilled about his encounter with cocktail waitress Chrissy Mazzeo on a rainy night back in 2006. Mazzeo's attorney says Mr. Gibbons was inconsistent and nervous in his answers.

The questioning also focused on persistent stories about the governor's extramarital womanizing. He denied having romantic relationships with two Reno women and reportedly testified that he hasn't had sex with anyone, including his wife, since the 1990's.

Reporting about the governor's sex life, or lack thereof, isn't a typical topic. But his truthfulness is of interest to the public -- especially in light of a sworn statement which alleges the governor has not been straight with the voters.

Enter Wendy. At first, she was reluctant to become a witness in the Gibbons divorce trial because, she says, she was warned years ago to keep her mouth shut.

But a four-year parade of sordid allegations helped to change her mind -- Chrissy Mazzeo and the parking garage, the late night text message barrage with a married woman, blonde encounters at the Reno rodeo, a governor who denies any womanizing but files for divorce from the woman who helped elect him.

Wendy's deposition took eight long hours and, under oath and under penalty of perjury, focused in part on what she described as a long-term romantic relationship between Jim Gibbons and the rodeo blonde Leslie Durant.

Gibbons and Durant deny a romantic relationship, but Wendy says they are lying.

"Of course. They are lying to the bone," she said. "Even before I knew Leslie, there was a romantic relationship."

Who is Wendy? In the mid 70's, she was Wendy Hanley, a Las Vegas news celebrity and the common law wife of a notorious union organizer named Tom Hanley. He went to prison for murdering the boss of the Culinary Union.

She moved to Reno in the late 80's, had a daughter and a long term relationship with TV weatherman Dick Stoddard. She met the cream of Reno society and became a political fundraiser for various candidates, including longtime Reno Mayor Pete Sferrazza, whose personal life became tabloid fodder because of two tumultuous marriages to Leslie, a blonde bombshell half his age.

After their second divorce, Reno's former first lady posed naked for Playboy. The pictorial described her as "leggy and sizzling."

A few years later, Leslie met Wendy. The two hit it off.

"She was fun and, like me, she was sweet," she said.

The two became fast friends -- describing themselves as the Thelma and Louise of Reno.

Toward the end of 1994, they moved into a small Reno house and shared expenses.

In her deposition, Wendy explains how she came to suspect Leslie had a secret romantic relationship. She said she overheard furtive phone calls at first, but later saw who was on the other end of the line.

"Jim (Gibbons) would come by the house and she would get in the car and follow. Or she would say, ‘I have to go meet Jim at the condo,' and Jim was on the phone with her," she said. "She called him, ‘That's my Jimmy.'"

In the deposition, Wendy testified that Leslie visited Gibbons two or three times a week at a condo Gibbons owned. The two women had a name for the place -- the Love Condo.

During that time frame, Gibbons was between political offices. He lost a 1994 race for governor to Bob Biller, but Leslie told Wendy that Gibbons had big political plans.

Wendy said in her deposition that she often asked Leslie why she would fool around with a married man. According to Wendy, Leslie believed Jim was going to marry her and move her into the governor's mansion.

"She was very much in love with him," she said.

In the deposition, Wendy said Leslie told her Gibbons planned to leave Dawn Gibbons because Mrs. Gibbons was also having affairs. Leslie believed she would be the woman at Gibbons side as he climbed the political ladder.

"Leslie said, ‘We are going to be up at the mansion, Wendy. The governor's mansion.' And I said, ‘How do you figure that? Jim Gibbons is married to Dawn Gibbons.' ‘Oh no. We're going to be there and we're going to move her to the back cottage,'" she said.

In 2008, Governor Gibbons filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences with his wife. She moved into a cottage behind the mansion.

While the divorce simmered, Gibbons attended the Reno rodeo with Leslie. The two were photographed in an embrace in the parking lot.

In an interview, Gibbons said it was not a romantic relationship. He was comforting Leslie because she was having heart problems.

"Leslie is my friend and she has been for a long time and if you think something was going wrong, why would I take her and parade her in front of 25,000 people at a rodeo? I was trying to help her and what bothered me was the rumor and innuendo of the media trying to say there was something going on in a parking lot," he said.

In her sworn deposition, Wendy said she saw enough to convince her it was more than a friendship.

"I saw them smooch a couple of times. She got a call from Jim and said ‘I have to run over and meet him at the condo,' and she came back with this huge emerald necklace and she said ‘Look at this necklace Jim got for me,' and she said he bought it for all his girls," she said. "I said, ‘I thought you were the only girl.'"

Wendy says she and Leslie chased another woman involved with Gibbons -- Kathy Karasch. She was linked to the governor in stories about late night text messages.

Since Wednesday, the I-Team has sought comment from the governor or his staff about Wendy's deposition, which contains information of a much more explosive nature. Gibbons was out of the office, but Press Secretary Dan Burns said, "I am shocked KLAS would be so irresponsible to report unsubstantiated conjecture like this."

On Saturday, Governor Gibbons left a voice message on the phone of I-Team Producer Ian Russell, in which he said everything in Wendy's deposition is false and that if we proceed with this story, he will not only sue KLAS-TV, but also sue George Knapp personally and sue Producer Ian Russell.

Why would the governor issue such a direct threat about a story that has not aired? The I-Team will explain why in our next report, airing Monday at 5:00 p.m.


NGL, this is a pretty hilariously incestuous story. I wanna make a flow-chart.
Tags: nevada
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