Home Government Governor Lombardo Using Sisolak-connected COVID lab scandal lobbyist for transition team

Governor Lombardo Using Sisolak-connected COVID lab scandal lobbyist for transition team

Sisolak and Lombardo

Remember when Governor Joe Lombardo ran ads during the campaign, rightfully condemning former Governor Steve Sisolak’s connection to the Northshore Clinical Labs COVID scam? Well, if you are wondering why Joe Lombardo is now oddly silent and has stopped calling for an an investigation into the criminal behavior, it looks like he never actually intended to hold his good friend Steve Sisolak accountable. In fact, he has now brought in the same scam artists to serve on his transition team and help with his state budget.

According to the Nevada Independent, Lombardo has been trying to hide the fact that he brought in lobbyist Mike Willden to help with his transition team and the state budget.

Lobbyist Mike Willden’s name doesn’t appear on the list of people Lombardo appointed to his transition team as he takes the reins from former Gov. Steve Sisolak. But emails and budget documents obtained by ProPublica show Willden was invited to budget meetings with each of Lombardo’s department directors, provided advice on health care spending and was involved in discussions on changes to the spending plan worth nearly $30 million a year to his clients


Willden was instrumental in helping Steve Sisolak speed up the licensing of COVID-19 testing laboratory Northshore Clinical. During the election, it came out that Northshore’s PCR tests missed 96% of the positive cases. Thanks to Sisolak, the company was allowed to operate unlicensed sites across Nevada.

ProPublica’s investigation found that Northshore used political connections, including contracting with the sons of a close friend to then governor Sisolak, to fast-track its state laboratory license application and secure testing agreements with five government entities in the state. Those agreements not only gave Northshore the exclusive right to test and bill for thousands of people a week, they also gave its lab a legitimacy lacking among upstart testing companies that had set up shop in strip malls and parking lots across the country.

Last year, ProPublica found severe issues with the lab’s operations in Nevada, including illegal billing practices and a high rate of false negative results. At the time, Willden admitted helping Northshore’s two Nevada representatives Greg and Angelo Palivos, who were family friends of Sisolak’s. Their father, Peter Palivos, is a huge contributor to Nevada political campaigns, and good friends and contributor to Sisolak.

According to Newsmax, Palivos needed a statewide testing license, and turned to lobbyist Mike Willden, a former director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, for help. Willden had once worked on an unsuccessful venture with their father.

After Willden’s introduction, Sisolak’s chief of staff, Yvanna Cancela, contacted the director of the state’s pandemic response, who urged the head of the state’s licensing bureau, Cody Phinney, to move up its inspection of Northshore Nevada headquarters in Las Vegas.

Our sources tell us that Palivos and Willden are also the reason Sisolak just got a huge payout to become a Fellow with the University of Chicago Institute of Politics — it seems shutting down our economy and scamming Nevadans is big business that pays well! Palivos is a criminal with ties to Las Vegas and Chicago who was convicted by a jury in October 2003 of conspiring to obstruct a federal investigation in the Chicago area.

It looks like when Lombardo ran these ads and tweets, he was full of shit and planned on running the same scam on Nevada as his buddy Steve!


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