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home : latest news : local April 28, 2016

5/6/2010 6:01:00 AM
Man files million dollar suit against county

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - A Golden Valley man is asking for more than $42.3 million in damages from the county for deliberately violating his First Amendment rights.

On March 1, James Kanelos filed an injunction against the county to prevent it from enacting its new polices against politicking on county property, the new gun check system, and a dress code for residents attending meetings. According to Kanelos, Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen denied the injunction but indicated that he would accept a complaint against the county.

On April 28, Kanelos filed a two-part complaint against the county, the Board of Supervisors, County Attorney Matt Smith, County Manager Ron Walker and Deputy County Attorney Bill Ekstrom.

Ekstrom said he has heard of Kanelos' complaint but did not know the details of the complaint because the county has not yet been served.

"The county has the position that it hasn't done anything inappropriate and hasn't violated anyone's rights," Ekstrom said. "I think there has been a misunderstanding between the Board and individuals which has unfortunately created a great deal of mistrust. I hope to convince Mr. Kanelos and others that there was no malicious intent on the part of the county."

In the first part of his complaint, Kanelos claims that his First Amendment rights were violated in November when Supervisor Buster Johnson asked Golden Valley resident Luca Zanna to stop passing out information about Sen. John McCain's voting record during a town hall meeting.

Kanelos claims that because of Johnson's actions he and others in the building were denied access to information they wanted to receive, violating their First Amendment rights.

He said the county continued to violate his rights when soon after the town hall incident Walker started adding unwritten policies that affected the general public and their attendance at meetings.

Kanelos states that County Supervisors Gary Watson, Tom Sockwell and Johnson violated their oaths of office and several state statutes by supporting the unwritten policies and that Smith and Ekstrom failed to advise the Board and Walker their actions were in violation of the law.

In the second part of the complaint, Kanelos claims it wasn't until the March 1 meeting of the Board that the policies were written down and approved. He claims that no public comments or input were allowed during the meeting or during the creation of the policies.

Kanelos said in the suit that he does not want to unduly burden the taxpayers of Mohave County and seeks minimal damages from the county itself. He asks the court to declare the supervisors, Ekstrom, Smith and Walker as individuals and not protect their actions with their offices.

He asks the court to rule that the new county polices are invalid and unconstitutional; that the supervisors, Walker, Ekstrom and Smith violated his constitutional rights and harmed him by doing so.

Kanelos is asking for more than $39 million in compensatory damages and $432,000 in punitive damages for a total of more than $40 million in his first claim. In his second claim, he asks for $31,500 per day in compensatory and $4,000 per day in punitive damages dating back to March 1, which as of May 5 totaled more than $2.3 million.

"I hope to convince Mr. Kanelos and others that there was no malicious intent on the part of the county."

Bill Ekstrom

Deputy county attorney

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking


"ONCE AGAIN........."

Once again we find someone whose Caps Lock key is overused. I stop taking anything someone has to say seriously when I find that the person is typing in all caps. Common mistake, thinking your words are magically true simply because they are large. Maybe if you had followed others examples and ended with multiple exclamation marks as well, instead of just one..........Naw, would not have made a difference.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: need to be stopped crazy

Walker needs to leave our town and quit spending our money, 43,000 on detectors because he is afarid. the rest of them can leave too. nobody wants to do anything, don't want to get involved. BS this is why these kinds of things happen. look at the head of the country, everybody was afarid to do something now we will pay for and our kids too. Wake up people

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

maybe the best thing that could happen to Mohave County and its beknighted citizenry is for enough costly lawsuits to be levied against these medieval ogres that their redoubts must be auctioned off to settle the cases - i.e., the County Administration Building, their homes, etc. In the end, those of us who have won large amounts of monies could get together and buy back the facilities and institute our own policies. Citizens would be free to bring in pitchforks, guns, children, even food and drink. Why shouldn't running things be fun? What do you all think? If anyone named Montesquieu shows up and exhibits historic effrontery, why, I'll just escort him out of the place with a cup of tea, and point him to the movie theatres, where he may be entertained by the former Government's mocking whore media.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Alton Smithart

DaveG Nolastname.
Sounds good to me but the attorney will want some dough. If you find one that will do it for a fair price I will join you in a heart beat.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: I don't Want to pay

If you honestly think this lawsuit has merit and blame the BOS and such for Mr Kanelos' claims, you are truly naive and deserve what happens. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, deserves that kind of money because they couldn't get a flyer. How about not being a moron and asking him for one later? I'm sure Mr Zanna had extras. This is nothing but a blatant attempt for money. His rights were in NO WAY violated. I think it's amazing that you people are just so aggravated because things aren't going the way you want them. Sad statement on what America has really become. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Including the BOS for letting this happen.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: ROY TREMPY


Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: DaveG- NoLastNames

Maybe all Mohave county citizens should file a "class action" suit against the BOS members, supervisor Walker, county attorney, Ekstrom, and others!

When the Constitutional Rights of one member is violated all member's Rights are violated!

What do you think? Want to really show the county fathers the error of their ways?

To show good faith, (that we are suing for abuse of power, not for money rewards) we should ask for the sum of $10 from each defendent the immediate termination of all defendent's participation in county business loss of all pensions and salaries and other benefits. Also, barred from any future participation or employment in this county!

That's my suggestion!

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: The Watcher

This is to all of you bloggers who are supporting King Ron Walkerís actions, the ill advice and ramblings of Bill Ekstrom and the BOSís blind supporting of Walkerís unconstituional made-up rules and oh yes, telling good citizens they are only filing frivilous law suits, stop and think about if it were you who was wronged. I bet dollar to donut you would also go after them.
It may hurt the countyís taxpayers in the pocket some, but most of the funds, if Zanna and Kanelos win, will come from the insurance agencies that have been reaping payment permiums for years.
What will most likely come about because of the two law suits is the BOS will finally realize King Ron Walker is no good for the county and must go. As for Little Tommie Sockwell, he should have been gone a long time ago. If you really think about it, Sockwell has really never done anything good for the residents of his district or the county. He has always been backed financially during his campaigns by big out-of-town and Las Vegas developers and it appears his decision making process has always been clouded by that fact. Remember, you scratch my back and Iíll scratch yours! Ask yourself a question. Is Little Tommie Sockwell really good for the people of Mohave County? After askingyourself donít thinktoo long. He hasnít been in the past and he currently isnít.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Government is a Mean

America has become ungovernable. Its decadent public is incapable of delegating authority to others or even trusting those in power. Ours is a nation peopled by those without respect for the institutions of a nation. A devolution to anarchy seem unavoidable.

There's nothing new under the sun. Below is an excerpt of Montesquieu's thoughts of the notion of extreme freedom from several centuries ago:

"Of the Corruption of the Principles of Democracy. The principle of democracy is corrupted not only when the spirit of equality is extinct, but likewise when they fall into a spirit of extreme equality, and when each citizen would fain be upon a level with those whom he has chosen to command him. Then the people, incapable of bearing the very power they have delegated, want to manage everything themselves, to debate for the senate, to execute for the magistrate, and to decide for the judges.

When this is the case, virtue can no longer subsist in the republic. The people are desirous of exercising the functions of the magistrates, who cease to be revered. The deliberations of the senate are slighted all respect is then laid aside for the senators, and consequently for old age. If there is no more respect for old age, there will be none presently for parents deference to husbands will be likewise thrown off, and submission to masters. This licence will soon become general, and the trouble of command be as fatiguing as that of obedience. Wives, children, slaves will shake off all subjection. No longer will there be any such thing as manners, order, or virtue.

We find in Xenophon's Banquet a very lively description of a republic in which the people abused their equality. Each guest gives in his turn the reason why he is satisfied. "Content I am," says Chamides, "because of my poverty. When I was rich, I was obliged to pay my court to informers, knowing I was more liable to be hurt by them than capable of doing them harm. The republic constantly demanded some new tax of me and I could not decline paying. Since I have grown poor, I have acquired authority nobody threatens me I rather threaten others. I can go or stay where I please. The rich already rise from their seats and give me the way. I am a king, I was before a slave: I paid taxes to the republic, now it maintains me: I am no longer afraid of losing: but I hope to acquire."

The people fall into this misfortune when those in whom they confide, desirous of concealing their own corruption, endeavour to corrupt them. To disguise their own ambition, they speak to them only of the grandeur of the state to conceal their own avarice, they incessantly flatter theirs.

The corruption will increase among the corruptors, and likewise among those who are already corrupted. The people will divide the public money among themselves, and, having added the administration of affairs to their indolence, will be for blending their poverty with the amusements of luxury. But with their indolence and luxury, nothing but the public treasure will be able to satisfy their demands.

We must not be surprised to see their suffrages given for money. It is impossible to make great largesses to the people without great extortion: and to compass this, the state must be subverted. The greater the advantages they seem to derive from their liberty, the nearer they approach towards the critical moment of losing it. Petty tyrants arise who have all the vices of a single tyrant. The small remains of liberty soon become insupportable a single tyrant starts up, and the people are stripped of everything, even of the profits of their corruption.

Democracy has, therefore, two excesses to avoid ó the spirit of inequality, which leads to aristocracy or monarchy, and the spirit of extreme equality, which leads to despotic power, as the latter is completed by conquest."

Read more here:

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: beverly hills

" luca and his group of nut-cases want an apology,.? is this the nut job with the pitch fork?
they are lunatics,.fanatics,. and frauds,.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Alton Smithart

LOL Some of you folks are so funny. To bad that this issue is nothing to laugh at . Our Constitutional recognized and guaranteed rights are not "Frivolous" to most , but apparently to some of you and Smith,Ekstrom, Taylor, Walker and the 3 BOS dictators.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: I don't Want to Pay

Ha! Are we questioning Mr Zanna's wisdom now? Think there will be more lawsuits coming?

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Alton Smithart

Constantine you are just about the most intellectually dishonest person that has chimed in on this whole issue since it started.
This comment of yours this AM when compared to the rest of your rants is ample evidence for and honest thinking human to conclude such.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Last Name First


"...I do feel it's wrong to hurt the county."

How do you feel about the county hurting it's citizens? Yes, people have been talking about the good ol boy network here for a long time. People have been complacent. When the county started acting under the color of law though, they screwed up. I'm not the only person who feels this way, as our state legislature also felt that way when they had to write amendments to a law, so that our fine BOS could understand it better. Yes, the way they were checking guns at the county building was specifically mentioned by the lawmakers. Your right citizens have let this happen by voting these people back into office, and now we will pay. This isn't the first lawsuit brought on by the actions of the county, I am sure just the mention of Lake Juniper makes them cringe. Maybe next election the people will finally vote them out, instead of continually paying for their mistakes.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Irritated Kingman Resident

Can I sue him for wasting our tax money on ridiculous lawsuits?

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: No Not Joking

No, no one is joking. Our liberty is not a joke. Holding our hired representitives accountable is not a joke. Standing to be counted for what we believe is not a joke. The BOS etc.... work for us (well, this is almost a joke!) and it is no joke that it takes such action as this to get their attention! so just go joke yourself on your bile

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: just the facts

How could Kanelos's First Amendment rights (freedom of speech) have been violate when he didn't receive Zanna's handout? It looks to me like others are just wanting to jump on the bandwagon. Is the money that is the drawing card or their 15 minutes in the limelight? Who knows, they may just land on a pitchfork.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

The funny thing about filing fivilious law suits is when and if they loose they not only get no judgment but have to pay the court costs of not only their side of the suit but the costs incurred by those they sue, one can say its like cutting off ones own nose to file a frivilous law suit, so one had best be sure they are going to win!

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Reg Roby

All of this could have been avoided with a simple explanation, apology, and policy change.

Sockwell, Watson, Johnson, Walker.... I hope you are happy. TIME TO VOTE THEM ALL OUT.

I wonder where John McSame is in all of this? He needs to go too.

I will vote Democrat before I vote for one of these supervisors again.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Patriot WES

GO JIM GO! With Ron Walkers direction, unwritten rules and laws that they enforced and the BOS following right along with everything, you go for it! And to Mr. Eckstrom, you hope to convince people that there was no malicious intent by the county, then it must of been personal malicious intent by the BOS and Mr. Walker. Don't forget to let the judge know about what Mr. Walker said about you when you tried to get on the TAC. for the general plan. GO JIM, GO ! I agree with everything you have stated and have experienced all of it first hand!

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

$42 million - now we're talking

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: CONSTANTINE XI

Well, Well, Well, Looks like sometimes a half million just is not enough to prove a point.

I hope mr zanna in his lawsuit is doing the same by requesting they not be protected by their office and the suit proceeds holding them as individuals.

If the court denies this then the cost of these lawsuits will be passed on to the taxpayers.

Its not my position to decide if these are worthy lawsuits that is the courts job.
I do feel hurting the county itself is wrong.

The county is an entity fed by US the taxpayers. If either of these lawsuits win and are imposed against the county my question is how does this personally effect the individuals?

The problems is and has been everyone let this conduct you almost all feel is unlawful was allowed year after year it was ok, the joking bout the good ole boy network has been here as long as i have been here.

It was allowed to flourish and prosper. But now that it present day and people are generally upset with the economy, direction of the county and country, jobs, drugs,crime and everything else they need a target to attack.

This is by far due to refusal to accept any responsibility for this current state of affairs on a personal level.

That is not stating that the bos actions are right or wrong, Its just a point of view that while everyone was making money and profiting no cared about the conduct of public, private or corporate officials in any way.

It is a testament to the fact that people in general have a mindset to allow anything that lets them prosper.

If this behavior is wrong now it was wrong all along. It found that they did in fact act inappropriately, then it is ALWAYS inappropriate.

Only time and the courts will decide the outcome of this. Lets see what happens when its over, Will the watchdog groups keep a vigilant eye for any future officials? or if the next regime returns profits and prosperous times will they have a license to act in any way they want when we are all doing well again?

I dont have these answers but will be watching with great interest to see what course this leads to in the not so distant future.

I still dont understand how these particular actions by the bos have caused such an emotional and excited response by the citizens in whole.

Thats why i have not takin a side but i must say i dont care which side it is if you are hurting this county and its citizens Acting without regard for the courses effect on both then you are wrong whether you are an official or a private citizen.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: YOUR JOKING RIGHT?


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