By Adam Andrzejewski
CEO and founder, OpenTheBooks.com
In 2021, the City of Las Vegas contracted with 2,515 distinct vendors who received a total of $492,320,645.
Clark County was the top-paid recipient of city spending and received $180,049,453 last year as the city outsourced public safety--police and some fire to the county.
The Top 25
The 25 largest vendors of the city consumed $342,099,866 or almost $7 in every $10 of the total annual expenditures.
Case Study—Old Republic Title Company
The city paid $11.5 million for right of way acquisition costs through the Old Republic Title Company. Old Republic was ranked as the fourth largest vendor in the city checkbook. Examples of the services included road and flood improvements, title services on federal community development grants, and right of way services on traffic improvement projects.
Three other title companies split an additional $1.4 million title service revenues. Old Republic had the inside track on the services.
Case Study – Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
In 2021, the Convention and Visitors Authority received $7.9 million—the Authority states that these dollars were from the hotel room tax and not from taxpayers. In 2020, the Authority received $14.1 million and $17.3 million in 2019. The lower payments make sense in light of the fact that Las Vegas hotel occupancy rates plummeted to 42% in 2020 from 88% in the year before the pandemic (2019). In 2021, the hotel room occupancy rate recovered to only 67%.
We reached out to the Authority to see if the CEO and other executives took a voluntary pay cut, since revenues were down by 50%. In 2019, CEO Stephen Hill made $622,000 in regular pay and benefits.
The CEO and staff did cut their pay during the pandemic.
In 2018-2021, our auditors also found $1.3 million in Nevada state payments flowed to the Authority. At the federal level, we found no payments for any purpose.
Just recently, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) approved a $398 million budget for its 2022-23 fiscal year. It’s the largest spending plan in the history of the Nevada government agency.
Ongoing debacle about a defunct golf project called Badlands: “The city of Las Vegas on Wednesday (Oct 19)allocated up to $2 million to three law firms defending it in litigation with the would-be developer of the defunct Badlands golf course, bringing total spending on legal fees surrounding the project to about $7 million”. Las Vegas allocates another $2M to Badlands legal fight:
To put the Badlands legal cost in context, $7 million spent on the lawyers is more than was spent on communications software/equipment for the Fire Dept through Motorola ($3.1million); Catholic Charities ($2.2 million); the Affordable Housing Program ($2.7 million); and rent assistance through CLV Rent Assist ($2.1 million).
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