Tony Clark, Executive Director, Board of Medical Examiners: "They had the authority to close it down and they did nothing, but ask them to correct a few things. The only person who had the guts to shut it down was Oscar Goodman, the mayor of Las Vegas. The governor and his administration were MIA on this case."
Clark says the Board of Medical Examiners didn't learn of the problems at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada until he read it in the newspapers. The Bureau of Licensure and Certification had by then been investigating the reuse of vials and syringes at the clinic for nearly 2 months, but had failed to notify the board. Once they began their investigation, he says they've moved as quickly as possible...and he adds the board members being asked to resign because of various personal and professional connections with Dr. Desai did the right thing by recusing themselves.
He says Friday he presented the governor's office with a plan to name temporary members to the board for this case only and heard no objection. Then Monday morning Clark read in the newspaper he and the 3 board members were being asked to resign, “Going after the board members and me, I think, is purely to deflect examination of the failure of his administration in dealing with this horrible crisis, and to deflect anybody looking into his relationship with Dr. Desai. Dr. Desai was one of his big supporters in the campaign, gave him money, was on his transition team and was one of his personal advisors. Now he wants to fire the three board members for having some relationship with Dr. Desai. Given his relationship with Dr.Desai, if you follow his logic, he should be forced or he should quit."
The governor has denied previously that his call for the resignations is politically motivated. His office issued an additional statement in response to our interview saying "Tony Clark was "unbelievably slow" to take action and it was a false statement to imply that the government had the authority to shutdown the clinic.
The two men have a contentious personal history. It dates back to Clark's tenure as Adjutant General. Gibbons was Vice Commander of the Nevada Air Guard, but Clark says the man he named Commander, Colonel Chuck Chinnock, asked for Gibbons replacement saying he was never around when he needed him. Clark agreed to the change. Later he said he was told by incoming Governor Kenny Guinn, Gibbons, then a congressman was lobbying for his dismissal. He says the call for his resignation is payback. The governor says that's false and preposterous.