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Fact Check: Desperate Danny’s New Ad Dodges Record

Danny Tarkanian tweeted out what appears to be a new 30-second TV ad designed to hide from his long record of scandals. The ad misrepresents a 2006 court decision as support for his claim that the facts about his record were “proven untrue in court.” In fact, Danny’s record of scandals and scams are well documented and a matter of public record. Here are the facts on Danny’s record:


Abusing a Children’s Charity

  • Summary: Danny Tarkanian has paid himself over $700,000 from a children’s charity he runs, despite running up a six-figure operating deficit. He even steered $40,000 from the charity into one of his many failed political campaigns.
  • Evidence:
    • The 990 forms for Tarkanian Basketball Academy and Danny’s financial disclosure forms show that he has taken more than $700,000 in compensation from his charity.
    • CBS Channel 8’s reporting on the $40,000 Danny funneled from his charity to his campaign is available here.
    • The FDIC criticized Danny’s management of Tarkanian Basketball Academy, alleging that Danny was illegally paying himself an inflated salary.
    • Tarkanian Basketball Academy has refused to turn over its most recent tax form, despite federal legal requirements, and Danny has only made a partial, heavily redacted version available. Danny’s salary history from last year is impossible to verify without the required 990 form.
    • Danny’s financial transactions with Tarkanian Basketball Academy were not a subject of the 2006 defamation litigation that Danny cited in his ad. In fact, Danny only began paying himself more than $100,000 in salary from the charity beginning in 2014.


Fired for Telemarketing Fraud

  • Summary: In the 1990s, Danny was fired from his job at Excel Communications for an illegal telemarketing scheme he was allegedly involved in. According to court documents filed on behalf of his employer, Danny misled customers and illegally signed them up for services they did not agree to. It was alleged that Danny faked the Social Security numbers and forged signatures to fraudulently sign people up for services. This illegal activity led to a $40,000 FCC fine and Tarkanian’s termination.
  • Evidence:
    • The original court documents can be found here.
    • The FCC’s findings can be found here.
    • CBS Channel 8’s reporting from September can be found here.
    • The Excel Communications case was never litigated or even mentioned in the defamation court case that Danny cited in his ad.


Helped Set Up Fake Charities

  • Danny helped to set up a series of telemarketing companies that scammed and preyed on the elderly. Some individuals who ran the charities were convicted of crimes. Danny was the legal agent who helped set up the businesses. Danny was never prosecuted for his involvement. After Danny lost a campaign in 2004, he won a libel lawsuit against a candidate who overstated Danny’s involvement, along with other misstatements. The fact remains, however, that Danny helped set up at least 13 charities that scammed seniors out of millions of dollars.
  • Evidence:
    • Danny admitted to the Las Vegas Sun that he was a “corporate lawyer for businessmen who ‘did some bad things.’”
    • Danny is listed as the “Registered Agent” on the incorporation documents for at least 13 charities that were later found to be fraudulent.
    • The fraudulent charities that Danny helped set up scammed seniors out of millions of dollars.
    • Though Danny claimed he was cleared by the District Attorney’s office of wrongdoing, a former Assistant US Attorney sent a letter to Danny, saying in part: “It is patently false for you to claim that you had no involvement at all in this illegal activity […] The entities you created were illegal telemarketing schemes that were the subject matter of numerous criminal prosecutions.”


$16 Million Bailout for Shady Land Deal

  • Summary: Danny Tarkanian made a shady land deal for an “equestrian destination resort” that collapsed, leaving the federal government on the hook for $16 million. According to the FDIC, Tarkanian made fraudulent and false statements under oath.
  • Evidence:
    • Danny declared bankruptcy to avoid a $16 million liability over a “failed equestrian destination resort.
    • The FDIC prosecuted Danny for hiding assets and numerous misrepresentations in his financial transactions.
    • The FDIC alleged that Danny took money from his parents’ life insurance, without their prior consent, to pay down his home mortgage.
    • Danny’s bankruptcy and subsequent prosecution by the FDIC happened years after the 2006 court decision cited in Danny’s ad.


Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Michael Soneff released the following statement:

“Danny Tarkanian is desperate to hide from his decades of scandals and scams. He knows that the voters have rejected him five times in a row because of his immoral behavior. Danny is dredging up an unrelated twelve year old lawsuit in a sad attempt to confuse voters and muddy the water. It won’t work, and the voters will once again reject perennial candidate and scam artist Danny Tarkanian.”


Background on Danny Tarkanian’s Scandals:

  • Danny received a $16 million bailout from the FDIC for a failed “equestrian destination resort” in California.
  • Danny funneled $40,000 from a children’s basketball charity into one of his political campaigns.
  • Danny’s real estate businesses racked up significant penalties from the IRS, including $23,000 in back taxes, interest, penalties, and fees.