In Nevada: Gov. Jim Gibbons files for divorce from first lady Dawn Gibbons | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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In Nevada: Gov. Jim Gibbons files for divorce from first lady Dawn Gibbons

Brendan Riley, Associated Press Writer

Gov. Jim Gibbons filed Friday for a divorce from his wife, and also asked for a court order determining whether the governor or first lady Dawn Gibbons will live at the Governor’s Mansion.

A complaint filed in Carson City District Court by Gibbons’ lawyer, Gary Silverman, lists incompatibility as grounds for ending the couple’s marriage of nearly 22 years.

Silverman also said he’s seeking “a court ruling concerning the living arrangements” at the mansion in Carson City. Dawn Gibbons, 54, currently is staying at the taxpayer-supported mansion while Gibbons, 63, is living in their home in Reno.

The complaint is the latest development in a series of difficulties for Gibbons – including a still-pending corruption investigation by the FBI and a claim by a Las Vegas cocktail waitress that he assaulted her in a parking garage after she rebuffed his advances just before his 2006 election. Police later said they found insufficient evidence to support the woman’s claim.

Silverman said the first-term Republican governor has “on repeated occasions asked for privacy in this matter” and wouldn’t have any comment on the divorce complaint. Silverman said he wouldn’t comment either “at the specific request of the governor.”

The complaint says Dawn Gibbons should be required to pay attorney fees. It also says that spousal support, property and debts should be “awarded pursuant to law.”

Dawn Gibbons’ attorney, Cal Dunlap, questioned wording of the complaint, noting that it states both the governor and the first lady reside in the Reno area. That may be the case for the governor but not for his wife, Dunlap added.

The 3-page complaint also states that “the cause of action for divorce” occurred in Reno, but offers no specifics.

“It’s sad that after all Dawn Gibbons has done for Jim Gibbons that not only is he divorcing her but he’s seeking to have her pay his attorney fees to boot,” Dunlap said, adding that he will “vehemently oppose” the attorney fee request, and also will seek spousal support for Dawn Gibbons.

Gibbons recently moved from the Governor’s Mansion while the couple sought to sort out their marital problems, and that raised questions about his compliance with an old state law mandating that he “reside at” Carson City.

The 1866 law says a governor must “keep his office and reside at the seat of government.” It once applied to most constitutional officers but over the years they’ve all officers but the governor been exempted from the requirement by the Legislature.

A spokesman for Gibbons described the move by the governor back to the couple’s Reno home, which they have owned since 1989, as a temporary situation and said there’s no law violation.

It’s not the first time the couple has lived apart. Dawn Gibbons did not move to Washington to live with her husband during the 10 years he served in Congress. She said she preferred to raise the couple’s son in Nevada. The governor also has two grown children from a previous marriage.

While Dawn Gibbons lived in Reno, she also entered politics and served three terms in the state Assembly.

When Gibbons, who flew fighter and reconnaissance jets in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars, decided to run for governor, Dawn Gibbons sought the 2nd Congressional District seat he was giving up, but lost in the primary.


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