STOREY COUNTY, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Some residents in Storey County are raising questions about a private, non-profit group called the Jeep Posse being supported with taxpayer funds. On Your Side investigates what the residents are getting for their money.
If you live in Storey County, chances are you know about the Jeep Posse. Those who serve in it say it is comprised of respected leaders in the community, including some elected officials. It started out as a group of search and rescue volunteers.
But two years ago, Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro parted ways with the group, and since then, there has been controversy. "I needed them to do training to limit liabitilites to the county," said Antinoro. "They declined to conduct any training, so with that, we parted company."
That was in 2012. On Friday, County Manager Pat Whitten said the group continues to be out on patrol. "They're still out on the range, out in the backcountry. This county certainly has a lot of remote area."
But critics like Kay Dean said it is hard to know what the group does exactly. Whitten confirms the group is not required to file paperwork outlining its expenses, which could help determine its activities.
"We don't go to that detail with our non-profits at this stage," revealed Whitten.
Dean said there are other areas that also undocumented, including the lease on a county-owned building at $1 per year for 99 years.
"There is no lease. That's it," said Dean. "There's an old document from 1974 that has expired. That's it."
"There is some dispute on this," said Whitten. "I've been asked before where is this 99-year lease, and we found a 5-year lease, but we've not found a 99."
Dean said there is also some question as to why this group receives $10,000 per year from the revenues generated through a cell tower on the property. "It would seem to me that all the revenue should go to the county, not to a private Nevada non-profit."
"We give them $10,000 per year for funding for their programs, their scholarship programs to help them defray some of their costs to their annual barbeque," said Whitten.
But like the lease, Whitten said the agreement on the $10,000 per year is not in writing. It was done on a handshake. "I'd say in essence that's correct. Remember this lease was done when handshakes really still meant something."
The lease and agreement may soon be in writing. At the last Storey County Commission meeting, the County Manager and District Attorney were told to draw up the paperwork.