Who was tracking the mayor and commissioner? We’re closer to the answer

A discovery commissioner advised a judge to require a private investigator to disclose who hired him to put a tracking device on the Reno mayor's car.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:21 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -We still don’t know who ordered secret surveillance on a pair of local officials in the months leading up to the November election. But we’re now one step closer to the answer.

We learned in a lawsuit filed by Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and later joined by former County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung, the electronic tracking devices were traced to local private investigator David McNeely and his company, 5 Alpha Industries, but they want to know who hired him.

District Judge David Hardy ordered McNeely to turn over documents revealing the identity of his client. His attorneys argued that was a ‘trade secret’ and revealing it would harm their business. They suggested proceeding with the lawsuit with their client listed only as a ‘John Doe,’ his identity kept guarded.

So, Judge Hardy turned to the court’s Discovery Commissioner for research and a recommendation. That recommendation is now in.

In a 28-page document, the commissioner rejected the private investigator’s arguments, finding the contention that revealing one’s client would harm McNeely’s business was “not persuasive.” Neither was the identity protected by any evidentiary privilege. McNeely, he concluded, had shown no reason to withhold or delay disclosure of the identity of his client.

The document is a recommendation, not an order, It’s still up to a judge, but such recommendations are rarely if ever, dismissed.

Presumably, Judge Hardy’s order still stands. It’s unclear if additional motions, hearings or an appeal could delay that answer any further.