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Governor's Divorce Case Creates Ironic Problem

By: Gerri L. Elder

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons recently moved out of the governor's mansion and filed for a divorce from his wife, Dawn. Now an ironic battle is brewing over which party will be allowed to live in the governor's residence - the governor himself, or his estranged wife.

Jim Gibbons has petitioned the court to evict his wife from the mansion so that he can return to live there; after all, he is the governor and the 23-room mansion is the governor's official residence. Nevada residents seem fascinated and amused by the situation. Bloggers are reveling in the bizarre oddity that this Nevada divorce case is destined to become, and rumors have run rampant all over the Internet.

Mrs. Gibbons filed a request with the court to have the Nevada divorce case moved from Carson City to Reno. The governor did not object to the change of venue and the request was granted. Most of the documents in the case have also now been sealed at the governor's request.

The Elko Daily Free Press reported that although there were rumors that Mrs. Gibbons filed for Nevada divorce earlier this year after a cruise ship scandal that the governor was involved in, it was actually Jim Gibbons who filed for divorce. The governor has not spoken publicly about why he is divorcing his wife of almost 22 years, and Mrs. Gibbons says that she doesn't know why he is ending the marriage.

The divorce is just the latest legal problem that Gibbons faces. The first-term governor may not see a second as he is currently under investigation by the FBI for corruption. Also troubling to the family-values Republican are the claims of a Las Vegas cocktail waitress who says that Gibbons assaulted her in a parking garage after she turned down his sexual advances just before he was elected in 2006. Oh and there are also the photos of the governor partying on a cruise ship with a group of young women, none of whom were his 54-year-old wife.

The Nevada governor has a lot on his plate right now in addition to being locked out of the governor's mansion. Through all of his legal problems, Dawn Gibbons stood steadfastly by her husband, defended and supported him right up until he left her earlier this year.

The governor is currently living back at the couple's home in Reno and waiting to see if the court will allow him to evict Mrs. Gibbons from the governor's mansion. If his request is denied, he will just have to make do with the modest four-bedroom house that he once shared with his wife while she enjoys the luxury of the grand 1908 governor's mansion.

The San Francisco Chronicle brought up an interesting legal point about Gibbons leaving the governor's mansion and suggests that he may have actually violated the law by moving out. An 1866 Nevada state law states that a governor must "keep his office and reside at the seat of government." Gibbons' press secretary says that the governor has not violated the law and that his move to Reno is only a temporary situation.

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