Nevada Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler is the target of an official complaint filed with Nevada Secretary of State's office and the Assembly Ethics Committe. The complaint says Wheeler, a Republican from Douglas County, does not live in the district he was elected to represent. News 4's On Your Side Team investigates whether the complaint has merit.
Assemblyman Wheeler lists his official residence with the Secretary of State's office as 965 Tillman Lane in Gardnerville.
The house on Tillman is owned by Jim DeGraffenreid, the newly elected vice-chair of the Nevada Republican party, and a friend of Wheeler's.
News 4 contacted DeGraffenreid and asked him how often Assemblyman Wheeler stays at his house.
DeGraffenreid told us, "I can't say for sure. Maybe one or two nights a week."
We asked Stephanie Kearney who lives right next door at 963 Tillman Lane if Assemblyman Wheeler lives next door.
"Not to my knowledge, no," Kearney told us.
We even showed her a picture of Assemblyman Wheeler and asked her if she'd ever seen him before ?
"No, I don't think I've ever seen him before," she told us.
State lawmakers are required to maintain an actual residence in their district and state law defines actual as "the place where a person is legally domiciled and maintains a permanent habitation. "
In other words, where they really live.
Wheeler did sign his name to an official document when he ran for office, stating that he does live on Tillman Lane in Gardnerville, and he swore to that as a matter of fact.
Wheeler, who serves as a regular guest on a local radio program was happy to answer our questions about the issue.
We wanted to find out if he considers the house in Gardnerville to be his "actual" home where he really lives.
News 4 asked Wheeler how many nights a week he stays at that house on Tillman Lane ?
Wheeler's response: "I've never counted," he said with a laugh.
"I would say if I had to average it out four nights a week," he went on to say.
Wheeler says he stays with his girlfriend in Washoe Valley some nights. The Washoe Valley house is not in his assembly district.
He did show us a signed lease agreement for the home on Tillman Lane and his drivers license which lists his address as 965 Tillman lane. But the question remains, does he actually live there ?
We informed Wheeler that his next door neighbor says she's never seen him before.
"Well, I don't go talk to the neighbors that much," he told us.
But there's more to the complaint. It also claims Wheeler failed to disclose $6,000 in back taxes he owes to the state of Michigan when he ran for office in Nevada.
Wheeler says the accusations are nothing more than political mudslinging.
"I just don't think they can beat me on the issues," he said.
But considering Wheeler's next door neighbor claims she's never seen him before, and his own landlord isn't sure how often he stays at the home he lists as his official address, the questions and concerns about where Assemblyman Wheeler really lives are likely to persist.
Neighbor Stephanie Kearney put it this way :
"For somebody with such an important position... I would think they should probably live in the district, for sure."
Both the Nevada Secretary of State and the Nevada Assembly Ethics Committee confirmed they have received the complaints against Assemblyman Wheeler, but neither would comment on the case.
Wheeler says he and his girlfriend are in the process of buying a home in Douglas County. He says he hopes that puts all of this to rest.