Sparks Hires Lawyer For Councilman

The city of Sparks faces more legal fees in the face of pending lawsuits over the Lazy 8 Casino project.

The Council has approved hiring a lawyer to defend Councilman Phil Salerno against a suit filed by Lazy 8 developer Harvey Whittemore's Red Hawk Land Company.

Lawyer Mark Gunderson will receive a retainer of five-thousand dollars and a fee of 350 dollars an hour to represent Salerno against Red Hawk Land, which is a co-defendant with the city in a lawsuit filed by John Ascuaga's Nugget.

City Attorney Chet Adams said his office would have a conflict of interest representing Salerno.

The city attorney's office is working with lawyers from Red Hawk Land to defend a separate suit filed by the Nugget.

It's the latest in the ongoing dispute stemming from council approval of Whittemore's Lazy 8 Casino project.

The Nugget sued the city and Red Hawk.

A Washoe County judge ruled in the city's favor, but the Nugget has appealed the case to the Nevada Supreme Court.

In August, Red Hawk Land sued the Nugget and Salerno, accusing Salerno of having a vested interest when he voted against the project because his printing company does business with the Nugget.