Home of the quickie wedding, Nevada is a paradise for tacky nuptials—and that, it seems, goes for divorces too. Earlier this year, the state’s governor, Jim Gibbons, 63, moved out of the governor’s mansion in Carson City and later filed for divorce from his wife of 22 years, Dawn Gibbons, on grounds of incompatibility. On May 2 he formally requested that she vacate the 23-room governor’s mansion, citing a 1907 law that requires him to live there. Not so fast, said Dawn, 54, who’s refusing to budge. “I never asked him to move out,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In legal documents, Dawn Gibbons replied to her husband’s move-out order with fury: She is described as “a castaway wife” jilted by a husband who had “succumbed to the wiles” of another woman—reportedly, the wife of a Reno podiatrist. “Lust is the real villain here,” said her court documents. A first-term Republican, Governor Gibbons denies straying and describes his alleged paramour as a “friend.” But Gibbons’s enemies are loving it. “The governor’s office is operating like a soap opera,” says Dina Titus, a Democrat he defeated in 2006.
Jim Gibbons has other worries: He’s under investigation for allegedly awarding government contracts in exchange for a cruise and cash (which he denies). But he seems to have the upper hand in the war over his house. “State law is preeminent. The governor will win out,” says Reno family law attorney Henry Egghart. Still, Dawn Gibbons isn’t packing her bags just yet. “There’s plenty of room there for him and her,” says her attorney Cal Dunlap. If not in the master suite, he adds, there’s always the guest house.