Nevada gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak (D) has spent the last 10 years as a bigwig in Las Vegas politics because of his position as Clark County Commissioner. Now, he's chumming it up during his quest for the governor's seat. He's used his two daughters who are in the their late 20s to portray himself as a good guy who raised his daughters on his own as a "single dad."
Sisolak’s daughters, 29-year-old Ashley and 27-year-old Carley, have been on the campaign trail with their father and even appeared in his campaign ads.
While Sisolak's campaign runs with the stellar "single father" image, his ex-wife, Lori Ann ‘Dallas’ Garland, says that's the furthest thing from the truth.
“He claims he raised those daughters by himself. That’s bull,” Garland, whose legal last name is still Sisolak, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “He did that on purpose. He didn’t raise our daughters by himself. They have a mom.”
The couple divorced in 2000 but split custody. Garland said she hasn't seen her daughters in 10 years but was apart of their lives until they graduated high school.
Garland said she stayed in the Las Vegas area over the last 10 years in hopes of reconnecting with her daughters, despite all of her family being on the east coast.
“I text them every birthday, every holiday Still do it. Nothing in return," she said. “I came to this realization I may never see them again. If I don’t, then that’s OK. Because that means they’re more like him then they are like me, and I wouldn’t be able to handle that.”
According to Garland's friends, Sisolak used his daughters to get back at his ex-wife.
“They were under so much pressure to hate their mother that they couldn’t really show any excitement or love for her because of the ridicule and shame and anger they would face by their father,” one friend said. “He made it impossible for those girls to ever have a relationship with their mom. It’s almost like he’s proud of it. In his political ads it makes it seem like they never had a mother. It’s a lie. You guys have a mother, for him to put his girls on there and brag about the fact they went to Planned Parenthood — I don’t give him kudos of that.”
Other friends say Sisolak's actions are strange.
“Those ads are so weird. It’s almost like Dallas has never been there. It’s like she’s dead," another friend explained.
“He acts like he’s a single man, and I tell people he’s not a widower. She raised those children too. But people don’t know that. It’s such a misleading ad," a third friend said.
“I thought he was a complete control freak. There was something wrong with him not wanting his children to have a relationship with their own mother," a fourth friend explained. “They had a good time. The kids had a good time. There was no forcing them to stay there. They would cook together, play games and do regular stuff.”
According to Garland and four of her friends who spoke to The Daily Caller, Sisolak did everything in his power to make her pay for filing for divorce, something he said would break "his political picture."
“He said, ‘you’re going to get your divorce, but you are never, ever going to get one dime of my money, or my children,'” Garland said. “And he meant it.”
“He’s very vindictive, and very revengeful. And I don’t trust him. And I’m scared of him,” Garland added.
The friends who spoke to The Daily Caller were so afraid of Sisolak and his connections in Clark County that they would only talk if they could remain anonymous. They feared that they or their family members would be retaliated against.
“The county commissioners in this town are very powerful,” one of Garland's friends explained. “It’s alarming how much power they have and what they can do. Steve has a lot of supporters in this town, and I certainly don’t want a target on my back. I want to stand up for my friend, however I still have to live here.”
What's even more alarming? In August 2000, Sisolak allegedly left Garland with bruises on her neck after an altercation that took place after she filed for divorce. The Daily Caller reportedly received photographs of Garland's neck bruises and talked to three people who recall seeing bruises on her neck. The publication also received copies of Garland's diary entries that detailed the altercation.
Here's what occurred (from The Daily Caller):
The altercation occurred on Aug. 24, 2000, the day after she moved out of their marital home, according to an entry in her contemporaneous diary, which was reviewed by TheDCNF.
Garland wrote in the entry that she returned to the house that evening after picking up her two daughters from the local community center to retrieve her make-up, which she had forgotten to pack the day before.
Garland wrote that she tried to follow her kids as they entered the house through the garage, but Sisolak blocked her at the door. Garland tried to push her way past Sisolak after he told her to provide a list to his lawyers of the things she wanted to collect, the diary entry read.
Garland told TheDCNF there was no court order at the time that prevented her from entering her house.
“I tried to push the door open. I told him I’m not leaving without my makeup, it’s not like I was going to do anything else, I just wanted my makeup,” she said. “He was trying to shut the door. He had his arm out and had it up against my neck pushing me and trying to shut the door.”
Garland said she and Sisolak pushed against each at the door for a few moments until, she charges, her ex-husband suddenly “stumbled back on purpose and fell on the floor,” allegedly claiming to be injured while yelling at their daughter, Carley, that she had to stay away from her “dangerous” mother.
“Our daughter, Carley, was crying hysterically, yelling, ‘Daddy, please just let Mommy have her makeup,'” Garland said.
Garland said she walked over her ex-husband, who she said was groveling, grabbed her makeup from the bedroom and left the house without any further incident.
Garland wrote in her diary that her two daughters begged her not to get their father in trouble by telling their court-ordered psychologist about the incident.
“When I got back to the garage I told Carley I was sorry & that I wouldn’t get her dad in trouble,” the diary entry reads. “I told Steve I was sorry too.”
But that's not all.
Garland said Sisolak was "very controlling" during their 13-year marriage.
“I had to be home by a certain time. I had time limits to do everything. I couldn’t go out with my friends anymore,” she said. “I was like a total prisoner.”
One of Garland's friends confirmed Sisolak's controlling nature, saying that he often isolated his wife from her friends.
“He more or less just let me know that was the place I would be visiting my friend and not to expect really anything else,” the friend said. “The closer they became, the more isolated she became.”
Sisolak's campaign didn't deny that the altercation took place. They provided sworn statements from the daughters who say the altercation occurred but that it was Sisolak who was injured.