Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow had been under investigation by the FBI for corruption charges. The 3-year-long investigation continues.
A federal grand jury recently heard testimony from eye witnesses, according to the Las Vegas Journal-Review.
Barlow was first elected in 2007, however the investigation began after he was re-elected in 2015. It is believed that he “received kickbacks from campaign finds he steered to consultants.”
In September 2016, Barlow confirmed the investigation after his home was raided by the FBI and subpoenas were issued for financial records, including his financial dealings with his political consultant Roxann McCoy, who is the president of the local NAACP. The campaign paid $30,000 in fees to McCoy and the Aspire Consulting Group in 2015, according to state records.
The Ramirez Group is also believed to be part of the corruption investigation. It was once a politically connected public relations firm. In 2016, the Barlow campaign paid the firm $70,000 in consulting fees, according to records. The Ramirez Group closed last year. Barlow denied any allegations of wrongdoing.
President of the Ramirez Group, Andres Ramirez was the vice chairman of the DNC’s Hispanic Caucus and an “at-large superdelegate in Nevada for Hillary Clinton.
The Ramirez Group website listed its services as fundraising, research and analysis, media and campaign strategy, database management, and direct marketing. Additionally, the firm assisted Nevada in enrolling residents in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, in 2013. Ramirez and his wife Jacki were aides to Sen. Harry Reid.
At the time, Richard Wright, Barlow’s attorney, said he believed the FBI was looking for any violations of federal law by elected officials who were depriving the public of services. Additionally, agents were looking for possible wire and mail fraud in connection with the 2015 campaign.
The investigation started with the help of an undercover informant, who used the name Randall Henley. FBI agents have the undercover video of Barlow and records of all business dealings between Henley and Barlow in 2015 and 2016. Henley’s company was called RMH Development.
Henley’s name does not appear in any city business or state licensing records. Nor does it appear in Barlow’s campaign reports, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The investigation is being overseen by the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department in Washington D.C.
Barlow represents Ward 5 and his term limit is up in 2019. He serves on the boards of the Southern Nevada Health District, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and the committee that oversees the budget of the Metropolitan Police Department.
By Jeanette Smith
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Grand jury hears testimony in corruption probe of Las Vegas councilman
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Political firm tied to corruption investigation of Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow