San Diego Bio of Convicted Lobbyist in Stripper Scandal
By Matt Potter
On November 10, Lance Malone was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for his role in the Cheetahs influence-peddling scandal. A lobbyist for high-flying strip-club owner Mike Galardi, Malone, along with San Diego city councilmen Michael Zucchet and Ralph Inzunza, was convicted in July of scheming to water down the city's ban on lap dancing in exchange for campaign money.
Before the sentencing, Malone's lawyers submitted a brief to the court making a case for leniency. As part of their plea, they attached a report -- presented in full below -- from a Las Vegas social worker retained by the defense to interview Malone about his life experiences. Malone is currently free on $350,000 bond while he appeals his conviction.
Mr. Lance Malone, now age 43 (DOB 01/29/62), was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is the fifth and last son of seven children born from the marriage of John, now age 70, and Annabelle Malone (née Ke), now age 67. Lance developed severe asthma at age 4 months, and the medical specialists advised that a warm, dry climate would relieve Lance of the chronic asthmatic symptoms. In 1963, when Lance was age 1, John and Annabelle Malone moved to Las Vegas with their five boys.
John Malone Sr. got a job as a 21 dealer in casino and worked eighty hours a week up until he retired to support his wife and by then seven children, while Mrs. Malone stayed at home to look after them and take care of the house. Most of the family continues to live in Las Vegas, and that includes his parents; his oldest brother John, age 52, who is a divorced father of four and works as a car salesman; Daniel, age 47, who is married and has 3 children and works at Jaguar's Gentleman's Club; Mark, age 45, who is a married father of 5 and owns a valet-parking company; Marla, age 40, who is married with two daughters and works at a civilian job in the Las Vegas Jail; and lastly, Melissa, age 38, who suffers from cancer and lives at her parents' home, where they care for her. Mike, age 49, is a divorced father of two boys (one is deceased), and he lives in Key West, Fl., where he works as a cook.
Currently, Lance Malone lives at the home of his ex-wife, where he takes care of his two young sons, Grant, age 6, and Ryan, age 4. Rosemary Malone owns and operates a Subway sandwich shop inside the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, and she is currently the sole provider for her two children. Mr. Malone has not worked since he received a visit at his home from the FBI on May 17, 2003, where they played some tapes for him, implicating him [in] the instant case. On August 28, 2003, he was indicted on thirty-nine counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, racketeering, false statements, aiding and abetting; however, a 40-count superseding indictment was filed on October 8, 2003. On July 18, 2005, Mr. Malone was found guilty of 37 of the 40 counts that included conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, extortion, and aiding and abetting. He is currently free on $250,000 bond and is in pretrial supervision, reporting to his pretrial officer as required. The case is scheduled for sentencing on November 9, 2005.
Childhood and Adolescence: 1962-1980
Lance Malone was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, but the family moved to Las Vegas when Lance was age one because the drier climate helped control his asthma. He grew up in a large, close-knit family with four older brothers and two younger sisters, and he describes his childhood, "I had a great childhood.... We always played with each other, things like kick-ball and hide-and-go-seek.... We took vacations as a family and went on train rides or went to Disneyland.... I never heard my parents argue, and my Mom did everything for us."
Lance attended two local elementary schools, where he was an average student and a happy child and found it easy to make friends because he was social and had an extroverted personality. Lance did remember some not-so-happy times and reflected, "My father was a functional alcoholic, and I recall when my father would come home late from work and fall asleep in the car after he had been drinking and I would take a blanket out to the car and cover him with it so he would not get cold." Lance enjoyed sports and was on a soccer and baseball team, but he did mention that his parents were so busy working that they never, ever came to see him play. By the time he was in junior high school, he had a keen interest [in] dirt-bike riding and the theater, and he started dating a girl named Whitney who would remain his girlfriend until he was age 20.
In his first year of high school, he was picked for the football team and was also in his first play. The school competed in a drama competition with students from other local schools, and Lance won the award for the best supporting actor. In his junior year, he was the Spanish Club president and the Ski Club president, although he was only maintaining a C+ average in his academic work. Lance's circle of friends had narrowed, and he chose to be friends with, "A wholesome group of boys who never got into any trouble.... We did not drink, smoke, or do drugs.... Most of them were Latter-Day Saints and went on to Brigham Young University in Utah." During the summer of his junior year, Lance worked full-time at a car wash. When he was a senior, he was elected Student Body President, was on the football team, and was Senior Class Prom King. He reflected on his senior year, "I had a great year, and I went to a lot of parties, but I never succumbed to peer pressure. I never used drugs, drank alcohol, or smoked." Lance decided that he [wanted] to go to university, and although he had hoped to attend Brigham Young University, he was not admitted because of his academic scores. Instead, he attended University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) on a theater scholarship.
Young Adulthood: 1980-1992
During Lance's freshman year at UNLV, he was baptized into the Mormon faith, and at age 19 went on a very successful mission to Vancouver for 18 months. As he recalled, "I was the youngest ever to be called as an assistant to the president of the mission." When he was age 21, he returned to UNLV and changed his major from theater to marketing, and at that time, he met Rosemary Palacios, who was in her freshman year at UNLV, majoring in hotel administration. Rosemary is of Ecuadorian descent and was born in Bridgeport, Ct., but at age 7, she moved with her parents and her younger brother to Las Vegas. Lance graduated from UNLV and got a job with America West Airlines in Las Vegas as a customer service representative. However, during that year, he decided to go to law school, and the following year he attended law school at Texas Southern University in Houston. However, two years into his degree, and after a law clerkship in Las Vegas, Lance decided that he did not want to pursue law as a profession. He left Houston and returned to Las Vegas, where he went back to work for America West as a luggage ramp supervisor.
Lance wanted a career and realized his opportunities were limited at his current job, so when his brother-in-law, who was a sergeant with the Las Vegas police, suggested he become a police officer, Lance applied and was accepted. He explained, "The job suited me. I was looking for a career with benefits -- Rosemary and I were now serious, and we were thinking about marriage."
Lance joined the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in February 1993 and worked for two years as a car patrol cop before he became a motorcycle cop for the last three years that he was on the police force. Lance also supplemented his income by working part-time at a Smith's Food King, a supermarket chain in Las Vegas. Following a 10-year courtship, Lance and Rosemary got married in 1994. They waited to get married because, according to Rosemary, "We wanted a home, a car, and careers before we got married, and we worked hard to accomplish that.... We both wanted children, but we wanted to be able to provide for them." After the wedding and a honeymoon in Hawaii, the couple returned to work.
In 1996, Lance started to help with the Republican campaign fundraisers after a friend suggested that he run for a county commissioner office. Lance did, and his election platform focused on building more parks for the citizens of Las Vegas. He was elected in January 1997 as a county commissioner for Clark County and served a four-year term. His elected position was part-time, and so for the first 7 months, he continued to work on the police force but then retired to devote himself to his elected position as a commissioner, and he supplemented his income by working part-time setting up booths at the Las Vegas convention center.
In 1999, Lance and Rosemary had their first son, whom they named Grant, and a year later, their second son, Ryan, was born. He loved becoming a father, and unlike his own father who was rarely at home because of the long hours he worked, Lance was determined to play a very active role in his sons' lives and spend as much time with them as he could. His brother Mark commented, "He is a very attentive father. The boys, they are his life. He has raised those two boys." And Rosemary echoed, "He is the kind of father that my girlfriends wished they had for their children.... He is so attentive, present, and patient with them."
During his time as a commissioner, Mark was introduced to many Las Vegas citizens, including Mike Galardi. They met briefly in 1999 and again 6 months later when Mr. Galardi wanted to discuss zoning issues with Lance. Mr. Galardi was hoping to get a liquor license to promote various businesses, including liquor stores and cabaret clubs.
In 2001, Lance's term as a county commissioner had ended and he was not re-elected, so he decided to open a consulting firm (G.R. Consulting) that specialized in lobbying for special interest groups and various enterprises. Lance had spent the past 4 years cultivating contacts and building up relationships in the community, and so it made sense to get involved in a business where he could use his political acumen and lobbying expertise. Moreover, he had the financial obligation of supporting a family, and he commented, "After I lost the election, job offers were not flying through the door, and I had a family to support."
During the first few months of opening his business, Lance had already acquired three customers -- Ron Hill, who worked in aviation insurance; Frank Lovass, who was an independent developer; and Mike Galardi, who owned and operated strip clubs in Las Vegas. Mike Galardi was impressed with Lance and offered to give him a business deal whereby he would get a percentage of the fees from transactions at the ATM machines that were in his clubs. Lance commented that, "Mike Galardi knew that I was ethical and hard-working and that I would not steal from him like other employees had.... I told him that I wanted to pay taxes on any money I earned." Lance continued, "We would spend a lot of time together working and socializing. Mike Galardi thought that I was smart, and he was looking to legitimize himself by associating with a former policeman and county commissioner -- I was not liked by his employees because I wanted to do things the legal way.... Mike wanted to get out of the strip club business and eventually wanted to get into the casino business. He looked up to Jerry Herbst and wanted to model himself after him." (Mr. Herbst originally owned car washes in Las Vegas and then began to buy and operate casinos.)
Rosemary Malone was laid off from her job as Director of Guest Service Operation at the MGM hotel in 1999 due to a change in management, and this gave her time to spend with her young children. However, by 2002 she was eager to get back to work, and she opened a Subway sandwich franchise in the Orleans hotel in Las Vegas, which she reports is very successful. Lance's job as a lobbyist afforded him flexible hours, and he was able to spend lots of time [with] his children. He was doing well financially, and he invested his money buying a house and property. He continued to work for Mike Galardi, who owned a Cheetahs strip club in San Diego as well as the clubs he owned in Las Vegas. Mr. Galardi wanted Lance to focus on lobbying in San Diego to get the "no-touch ordinance" applied to strip clubs repealed, as it was financially damaging the business. Mr. Malone's focus was to lobby San Diego politicians to put "the no-touch ordinance" as an item on the agenda. Lance had hoped to lobby San Diego council members, gathering enough support that the law would be repealed to the former status of "lewd and lascivious" behavior that operated prior to October 30, 2000. The reason for this focus was that the "no-touch" ordinance was implemented so rigorously by the San Diego Police Department that the closing of the strip clubs was imminent because of the loss of business, the legal fees and fines involved, and the constant police activity at the clubs.
In his job as a lobbyist, Lance provided contributions to various politicians to support their re-elections and fundraisers, in the hopes that they would put the "no-touch" ordinance as an item on the agenda at council meetings. However, Mr. Malone was not having a lot of success lobbying in San Diego, and he was told by a couple of the city [councilmembers], "That it did not look good and that no promises could be made." Lance recognized that by February of 2003, "I was no longer Mike Galardi's flavor of the month.... I had attempted to get 14 different items on the agenda for the city council meetings, and not one of them was accepted.... I knew that Mike was not pleased with me, and we no longer talked as regularly.... That was fine with me, because by the end of 2002, I was starting to realize that I now had 2 children and did not want to be associated with the strip industry forever; I wanted to leave and start a security business. In December of 2002, I studied for my private investigator's license, and I passed the test. I had already picked out the name -- Comprehensive Security International -- and I hoped to provide security services to conventions and developers by 2004."
Lance Malone's plan to open his own security company would never be realized because at 07:20 on 17 May 2003 the FBI knocked on the door at his home in Las Vegas and announced, "You are not under arrest, but let us play you some tapes."
On August 28, 2003, Mr. Malone was indicted on thirty-nine counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, racketeering, false statements, aiding and abetting; however, a 40-count superseding indictment was filed on October 8, 2003.
On July 18, 2005, Mr. Malone was found guilty of 37 of the 40 counts that included conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, extortion, and aiding and abetting. He was shocked at the verdict and expressed, "I thought that once the jury had all the facts, I would be found not guilty." Mr. Malone is currently free on $250,000 bond and reports to his probation officer as required. The case is scheduled for sentencing on November 9, 2005.
Since 2003, Mr. Malone has not worked, and his ex-wife, Rosemary Malone, supports him. He continues to live with her in the same house subsequent to his divorce on April 25, 2005. Rosemary was awarded the house in the divorce settlement. She now supports herself and the family with her income from the Subway sandwich shop. Lance spends most of the time caring for his two sons and rarely socializes with any friends or family, as he once did. He does go to the gym, as he finds that it relieves some of his stress. Lance reports that the divorce was brought on by the stress of the past couple of years. Ms. Malone reported in the PSI that the majority of the stress has been because of changes in his personality since the indictment. She also stated that, "We have become much more distant than we used to be." Mark Malone corroborated Rosemary's observation and noted that Lance had changed since the indictment in that they talk less and Lance seems anxious and on edge all the time. He observed, "This [the legal case] has placed a huge burden on both of them and strained what was a great relationship."
Physical and Mental Health Issues
Mr. Malone suffers from chronic back pain secondary to an old injury he sustained in 1993, when [he] was a police officer. He reported that he injured his back jumping off a wall when in pursuit of a suspect. He is currently under the care of Dr. D. Duenas, who prescribes Diclofenac Sodium 75mg, which is a non-steroid, anti-inflammatory medication for Mr. Malone to treat and relieve his back problem. Apart from his back injury, Mr. Malone is in reasonably good health, and he does not suffer from any chronic illness and has had no serious operations.
Currently Mr. Malone is being treated by Dr. Rob Hunter, a licensed clinical psychologist who practices in Las Vegas where he treats co-occurring disorders with a specialty in addictive behaviors. Dr. Hunter is credited with being the first mental health professional in Las Vegas to open a clinic that dealt specifically with addictive behaviors.
Mr. Malone's attorney, Dominic Gentile Esq., recommended that Lance go to see Dr. Hunter to discuss Mr. Malone's feelings of dysphoria. Dysphoria is feelings of depression, isolation, and hopelessness. On 8/23/05, Mr. Malone went to see Dr. Hunter, who conducted a Mental Status Examination on Mr. Malone, as well [as] carrying out a full clinical interview. Dr. Hunter's clinical findings indicated that Mr. Malone appeared to be "quite depressed," and he referred him to his private physician with the recommendation that he be placed on a trial of anti-depressant medication and also continue in therapy. Subsequent to this interview, Dr. Hunter was hospitalized and was not seeing clients. In a telephone call on 10/30/05 with Dr. Hunter, who has now returned to work, he reiterated to this writer the importance of Mr. Malone continuing psychotherapy in conjunction with taking anti-depressant medication. Dr. Hunter is willing to continue seeing the client, as he believes that he could benefit from formal therapy.
Mr. Malone went to see his private physician, Dr. Dan Duenas, who prescribed the anti-depressant Lexapro 10mg to be taken daily. Mr. Malone reports that the medication is helping to relieve some of the symptoms of depression. Mark Malone commented on the changes in Lance since the trial, noting, "He appears withdrawn, is anxious, and does not seem to concentrate when you are [talking] to him, and he has lost a lot of weight." However, since Lance started taking the medication, Rosemary Malone noticed a difference in Lance, and she noted that, "He is not having as many crying spells and there is a decrease in his mood swings and he is not as short-tempered and edgy as he was."
Mr. Malone, prior to 2003, had never used or experimented with alcohol or illicit drugs. Since 2003, Mr. Malone has been using Lortabs, [which] are classed as a narcotic and are pain relievers. Lortabs are pharmaceutically similar to Hydrocodon and Vicodin and are considered highly addictive. The Presentence Investigation highlights Mr. Malone's addiction to Lortabs, whereby he admits to taking 3-7 pills a week, and he reports that he buys them "off the streets" or "through friends." Mr. Malone stated that it relieves his anxiety and makes the emotional pain go away a little. Dr. Hunter, in his letter and in a subsequent telephone conversation, indicated that Mr. Malone is likely using Lortabs to manage his current stress, and he recommended he should receive organized drug treatment in a formal setting and might even need a detoxification program.
Mr. Malone has led an unblemished life up until his association with Mike Galardi. He was never in any trouble when he was young, either at school or home; he never experimented with drugs or alcohol; he attended church and was a missionary as a young adult and went on to become a productive member of society. He had no criminal record and was a law-abiding citizen who served his community as a police officer and then as a County Commissioner. He has been a very hard worker all his life and is by all accounts a loving son and an outstanding father.
Consideration should be given to the anguish and suffering that he is experiencing as a result of the trial in San Diego and the upcoming legal case in Las Vegas, as well as the intense hounding and harassment by the press and media, who consistently portray him in a highly negative light -- a situation that he has endured for the past two years.
Mr. Malone demonstrates considerable and sincere remorse for the pain and suffering he has caused others, especially his family and children and others who were unwittingly involved in the case. He is unswerving in his commitment to make financial and social restitution and is willing to work in any type of job.
As a sound gesture of regret and remorse and in the direction of serving his community, Mr. Malone is currently involved in volunteering at the Catholic Services of Southern Nevada, located at 351 N. 30th Street, Las Vegas. He works 3 hours a day from Monday through Thursday on a food-assembly line preparing food trays for the elderly.