NBC News 3: Las Vegas Credit Card Spending for Local Governments 71_NBC3_vegas_-_gov_credit_card_spending

March 17, 2023 09:36 AM




The cities of Las Vegas, N. Las Vegas and Henderson spent a combined $12.5 million on credit cards in 2022.

Responding to Open The Books’ Nevada Public Records Act request, Henderson sent the most thorough and transparent records of the three cities.

The City of Henderson spent $2.9 million on its credit cards in 2022 — including $385,000 on hotels and airfare.

The more than 11,000 transactions in the records show what the city purchased and from which vendor, how much it cost, the date and which department bought it.

The spending includes almost $200,000 for airfare — more than 625 transactions at seven airlines to various cities. The vast majority, $150,000 was spent on more than 500 transactions on Southwest, with $22,556 spent at Delta, $11,772 at American Airlines, and $13,728 combined at Alaska Air, JetBlue, Spirit and United.

The spending included $184,000 spent by 18 agencies on over 350 hotel transactions, including stays at hotels in dozens of cities, including for conferences and other events in Seattle, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Detroit, Chicago, Hartford, Columbus and Cleveland, OH, New Orleans, Burlington, VT, Indianapolis and many more.

Another $3,000 was spent on parking at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, $4,000 on Uber rides and $2,257 on Lyft rides to and from various airports and conferences.

More than $1,900 was spent on hotels for Economic Development and Tourism clients and site selectors familiarization trip to Henderson, and Raiders game on Dec. 3 and 4.

Almost $60,000 was spent on 600 transactions on Facebook ads averaging about $100 each.

Asked about its Facebook spending and why more than $1,900 was spent on hotels for Economic Development and Tourism clients and site selectors to attend Raiders games, Henderson spokesperson Madeleine Skains said, “The City of Henderson remains committed to being good stewards of taxpayers' money. The expenditures noted were strictly used for official City of Henderson business.

The City of North Las Vegas spent $2.8 million on more than 8,100 transactions, according to records provided to Open The Books via a Nevada Public Records Act request.

Their records show the name of the vendor, the date, which department spent the money and how much, with a vague description of what was purchased, like “supplies-other” “miscellaneous expense” or “minor equip/tools.”

Eleven agencies spent more than $43,000 on hotels in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Lake Tahoe, San Antonio, Phoenix, Charlotte, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Savannah, Seattle and more. The records don’t indicate why the city employee was traveling or say where they traveled. 

In some cases, the names of the hotels indicated which city it’s in.

More than $18,000 was spent on 45 airfare transactions at Alaska Airlines, American, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit and United, although records don’t say where the employee traveled.

Almost $13,000 was spent at Amazon, and $6,338 at EBay mostly for “garage auto” and a few transactions for “equip maint/repair” and “minor equip/tools.”

More than $1,300 was spent on parking fees and other travel-related expenses at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, and Uber trips cost $1,000.

There were 106 car rentals from seven agencies that cost more than $70,000 – mostly at Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, with a few each at Avis, Alamo and Budget.

More than $3,000 was spent at Facebook, for 32 advertising transactions, about $100 a piece.

Asked why the city spent $43,000 on hotels and $18,000 on airfare, N. Las Vegas spokesperson Kathleen Richards said, “All of the City’s elected officials and many key employees may be required to travel either locally or out of the area to conduct City business or to participate in various activities deemed to be a benefit to the city or our constituents. The City has a lengthy travel policy that clearly outlines what business-related expenses can be charged to purchasing cards. Appropriate travel expenses include airfare, hotel expenses, ground transportation, parking fees, and other typical business-related expenditures. All purchasing card transactions have multiple levels of review and approval.” 

Regarding the $70,000 in car rentals, and spending on Facebook and Amazon, Richards said, “All p-card transactions are required to have a receipt and every expenditure is reviewed and approved by management. Amazon is one vendor that is used for purchasing small dollar items such as office supplies. In the past, our fleet of maintenance and utility vehicles has used p-cards to purchase parts and supplies on E-bay. P-cards have been used for advertising on Facebook to alert residents to various City-sponsored events.

While the Cities of Henderson and North Las Vegas sent their spending records in sorted and easily searchable spreadsheets to be transparent about their spending, the City of Las Vegas sent us 2,500 pages of expense logs in pdf form, making it impractical to sort or easily search what it spent $6.9 million on.

Asked about the 2,500 pages of records, City of Las Vegas spokesman Jace Radke said, “We provided you all the responsive records per your request. All the information is there for your team to review.”



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