It comes as no surprise that federal workplace safety officials say they have “significant concerns” about how Nevada resolved issues surrounding the deaths of two workers at the Orleans, an off-Strip casino operated by Boyd Gaming. Las Vegas Sun reporter Alexandra Berzon wrote in April that...
The state’s investigation of the deaths departed from normal procedure with the involvement of Mendy Elliott. Appointed by Gov. Jim Gibbons,Elliot’s involvement included being present during negotiations with Boyd Gaming before a final judgment was rendered.
The ultimate decision was to downgrade Boyd’s citation from “willful” to “serious” and to reduce recommended fines from a total of $400,000 to $185,000. In exchange, Boyd Gaming agreed to accept safety training from the state. Federal OSHA officials reviewed the state’s action after receiving a complaint from the mother of one of the dead workers. A letter sent to her by federal OSHA’s regional administrator, Ken Atha, was critical of the whole process. Atha said federal officials would not likely have downgraded the citations against Boyd Gaming.
After Berzon broke the story about Elliott, the Nevada attorney general’s office announced it would investigate. We are looking forward to its findings. The letter from Atha bolsters our sense that Nevada OSHA should have been allowed to handle this case on its own. I've done some of my own investigating of this case and one thing is certain... The deeper you dig the more twisted it gets. And yet nobody is doing anything about it.