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Judge dismisses Mike Clark’s appeal of protective order sought by Washoe County

By Bob Conrad

Washoe County Assessor Mike Clark’s appeal of the year-plus-long protective order issued against him was dismissed yesterday by Washoe District Court Judge Kathleen Sigurdson.

The TPO against Clark was issued last year after he tried to anonymously mail packets to more than 160 people. The documents alleged corruption at Washoe County.

Judge Richard Glasson called Clark’s actions “more than reckless. They were intentional. The court finds any reasonable person would feel terrorized.”

County officials requested the TPO, which a judge granted and extended for a year. The order prevents Clark from his normal access to county offices.

“[Clark] is not a violent man. He’s 70 years old. He made a mistake,” Clark’s attorney argued.

An attorney hired by the county also determined Clark violated the county’s workplace violence policy. 

“It is our opinion that Mr. Clark’s conduct violated the County’s Workplace Violence Policy,” attorney Donald Christensen wrote. “Sending numerous packets to County employees and others … was sufficiently severe, offensive and intimidating to cause [a county employee] to reasonably and actually fear for [their] personal safety and the safety of [their] family and a hostile work environment was created…”

Clark appealed Glasson’s ruling, arguing he was not provided an opportunity to present his side of the case.

Sigurdson, in alignment with Glasson, disagreed.

“The Court finds that the justice court did not abuse its discretion in excluding evidence of Appellant’s exclusion from work meetings,” she wrote on a number of points. “The issue before the justice court was whether to extend a temporary order of protection against Appellant for workplace harassment. 

“The issue was not whether Appellant was a victim of workplace harassment, but rather, whether his actions constituted ongoing workplace harassment against others. Furthermore, to the extent Appellant seeks to allege that he is the victim of workplace harassment, Appellant has other legal means to do so and seek remedy,” she added.

Clark’s attorney Mark Mausert said they may appeal Sigurdson’s ruling.

“I intend to discuss an appeal with Mr. Clark and we may very well go that route,” Mausert said. ”I disagree with Judge Glasson’s conclusions and with his unfair method of conducting the hearing – as well as with the reasoning of this Order of Affirmance.  

“Mr. Clark opposed what he perceived as gross improprieties and he used public documents to do so. He made a mistake by sarcastically using [former Reno City Manager Andrew] Clinger’s return [mailing] address, but that hardly makes him a bad actor.” 

Clark has also sued the employee who requested the TPO. An anti-SLAPP motion was recently filed seeking dismissal of his case.

Clark ran against incumbent Washoe County Commissioner Bob Lucey. Votes counted to by the time of publication show Clark has a strong lead over Lucey to become the next District 2 county commissioner.

“The voters have spoken as to how they regard Mr. Clark,” Mausert added. ”We will consider asking the Supreme Court to come to the same conclusion.”

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