It's only rock 'n' roll, but Nevada legislators who got free Rolling Stones concert tickets from Ameriquest were embarrassed when the mortgage lending company agreed to pay $325 million to settle a dispute over excessive interest rates.
As part of the national settlement, announced Monday, Ameriquest
will pay $1.7 million to Nevadans who paid excessive mortgage fees.
Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, who accepted two tickets
worth $800 to the Nov. 19 Stones concert in Las Vegas, said the
settlement shows why legislators should pass a law prohibiting all
gifts to politicians.
"I would have no problem in outlawing gifts," said
Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas. "Right now, the law is you only have
to report gifts (in excess of $200 in value). I have always
reported my gifts."
Besides Giunchigliani, Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins,
D-Henderson, accepted two tickets worth $500, and Assembly Majority
Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, took two tickets worth $676.
Buckley said she reimbursed the cost of the Ameriquest tickets
earlier this month before stories about the donation first
Other state lawmakers who got tickets and the value of the
Assembly members John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, $800; Morse
Arberry, D-Las Vegas, $800; Scott Sibley, R-Henderson, $1,000;
Francis Allen, R-Las Vegas, $500; and Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, $630;
and state Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, $650.
Two other legislators who attended the Stones concert, Sens.
Warren Hardy and Dennis Nolan, both R-Las Vegas, didn't list the
gifts in initial reports but said they're filing amended reports.
The tickets were given to the legislators by former Attorney
General Frankie Sue Del Papa, who represents Ameriquest as an
attorney in private practice. Under state law, the gifts had to be
reported by legislators on financial disclosure statements due Jan.
"Ameriquest never had any legislation before the Legislature,"
Buckley said. "No one knew who they were. When Frankie Sue Del
Papa calls you and offers the tickets, you think it is OK."