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Vegas political couple breaks up; tawdry accusations fly

January 26, 2012 |  6:00 am

Nevada has survived its share of tawdry political scandals. Gov. Jim Gibbons endured accusations of infidelity and a messy divorce. Sen. John Ensign resigned after trying to cover up an extramarital affair with an aide.

But the latest scandal could top both in terms of ickiness, and tarnish the careers of two of the state's rising political stars.

Steve Sisolak, 58, is a Las Vegas-area county commissioner. He was dating Kathleen Vermillion, 44, a former suburban city councilwoman.

When they broke up, war broke out -- and in an astonishingly public way.

Last week, Vermillion sued Sisolak. One of her accusations was that he’d tried to carry on an “improper and secretive” relationship with her 15-year-old daughter, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

This week, Sisolak filed a criminal complaint against Vermillion. He claimed that, over the weekend, she’d tried to shake him down for $3.9 million. 

Vermillion’s camp called a news conference and played a heavily edited video of her teenage daughter, the Review-Journal reported. The girl said Sisolak was a “scumbag” who’d asked her to model bathing suits for him.

Sisolak denied the allegations and tried to exonerate himself by distributing text messages from Vermillion. “You are in over your head. I can, and will destroy you,” they said, according to a transcript he provided to reporters.

On Wednesday, Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston reported that the alleged extortion meeting was taped. “I hear it is awful,” he tweeted.

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-- Ashley Powers in Las Vegas

Twitter.com/ashleypowers

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