Surprise! AP exposes Reid's shady land deal; Update: Hang-up audio added

This had better not be the big October you-know-what that Rove’s been promising. For one thing, it’s way too complicated — except for this part, which is clear enough:

Clark County intended for the property Reid owned to be used solely for new housing, records show. Just days before Reid sold the parcels to [Jay] Brown’s company, Brown sought permission in May 2001 to rezone the properties so a shopping center could be built.

Career zoning officials objected, saying the request was “inconsistent” with Clark County’s master development plan. The town board in Spring Valley, where Reid’s property was located, also voted 4-1 to reject the rezoning.

Brown persisted. The Clark County zoning board followed by the Clark County Commission voted to overrule the recommendation and approve commercial zoning. Such votes were common at the time.

Before the approval in September 2001, Brown’s consultant told commissioners that Reid was involved. “Mr. Brown’s partner is Harry Reid, so I think we have people in this community who you can trust to go forward and put a quality project before you,” the consultant testified.

With the rezoning granted, Patrick Lane pursued the shopping center deal. On Jan. 20, 2004, the company sold the property to developers for $1.6 million. Today, a multimillion dollar retail complex sits on the land.

On Jan. 21, 2004, Reid received more than $1.1 million of the sale proceeds.

It actually wasn’t his land at the time; he had transferred the property earlier to an LLC created by Brown in return for membership units. A transaction which, coincidentally, he neglected to disclose to Congress.

And when the AP called him this week to ask about it, he hung up on them.

Influence peddling is Dirty Harry’s specialty, as the AP’s last exclusive about him made clear. That’s why I’m sure Disney was never really worried about him trying to pull their broadcast license. A couple of free trips to Epcot for his grandkids and all would have been forgiven.

How sexy is this scandal, though? Most of us just naturally assume that politicians are involved in shinola like this. It’d be like finding out Reid has friends in the Saudi embassy. It goes with the territory.

Unless we can work a child-predator angle in, I think we’re pumping a dry well. Did Reid sign the deed at a coke party in the page dormitory in DC? No? Then we’re SOL.

As for Jay Brown, read this. Is it true? I don’t know. It’s an anonymous Blogspot site. How accurate could it be?

No more or less so than StopSexPredators, I’d imagine.

Update: Want to hear Reid hang up on the AP reporter? Click away.