VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- There is a new development in the race for Storey County Sheriff.
Deputy Shawn Mahan is squaring off against his boss, Sheriff Gerald Antinoro, this November. But News 4 has learned Mahan has been suspended indefinitely.
The situation has left voters with a lot of questions, including Virginia City resident Pat Logan. "There's a lot of controversy right now and no one knows what's going on," Logan said.
Sheriff Antinoro is seeking re-election, and he is being challenged by one of his own deputies. But the race has taken a new turn, now that the Sheriff has put his challenger on administrative leave for reasons that have not been publicized.
Shawn Mahan's attorney Justin Clouser said allegations have been raised against clients in the past, and he has been cleared every time. Clouser said he thinks Antinoro is simply trying to use his power as Sheriff to get re-elected.
"It's not fair," Clouser told News 4. "Because what it looks like is the incumbent is trying to sully the reputation of a deputy who has well-served the community."
But Antinoro said he cannot discuss the allegations, because this is a personnel issue. He said he had no choice but to put his opponent on leave when accusations of wrongdoing came to his attention. "There is an allegation of department violation, and it will be investigated. That's how it works."
Mahan will get a chance to argue his case at an administrative hearing, which may happen as soon as next week. Until then, voters like longtime resident Jimmy Gill are simply left to wait and wonder.
"I have a big question mark hanging over my head as a lot of people do," Gill said.
For now, Shawn Mahan continues to campaign for the job, even as questions loom over his status and the reason he was suspended.
"First of all, I'd like to know why he put him on leave. It seems like the timing is kind of bad," said Logan.
But Sheriff Antinoro said he is simply doing the job that he was elected to do. He said handing down discipline, even if it involves his own political opponent, is part of the job. "I have no choice. I have to run the organization as long as I'm the Sheriff."
News 4 has learned an outside law firm has been hired to conduct the internal investigation and preside over Mahan's administrative hearing. There is no word on how long the investigation will take.