Peter Palivos is a peacemaker, a philanthropist, a legal crusader, and a patriotic optimist all at the same time.
This Las Vegas Greek-American attorney has no problem suing China for its handling of the coronavirus one day and offering lunch to doctors at two nearby hospitals the next.
This week, he focused on the protests sweeping the nation, calling for a dialogue.
The protests were triggered by the killing of George Floyd, an African- American, at the hands of Minneapolis police.
He sponsored a unity and prayer gathering in Las Vegas.
He’s trying to organize a similar state event this week with political, community and religious leaders.
He urges every town to do the same.
“What we need to do is really talk to each other, not talk past each other. Right now, protesters don’t talk to police, decision makers or affected small business owners. Police don’t talk to protesters.”
“A history of systemic racism, a pandemic quarantine and massive unemployment have left people frustrated. The killing of George Floyd was the match for the explosion in this perfect storm.”
“We all have to be better Americans. When there’s an injustice against an African- American, we have to make that our injustice. When there’s an injustice against a Jewish-American friend or neighbor, we have to look at that as our injustice,” he said.
When right-wing fanatics killed Jewish worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, Palivos, a Greek American, joined the Jewish Federation of Nevada.
“My sense of justice and fairness was so offended I wanted to be a member of the Jewish Federation of Nevada and I am very proud of that,” he said.
Americans, the most caring, most generous people in the world, are desensitized by a 24-hour news cycle. Now we’re a society of “me,” instead of a society of “us.”
We agree on 95 percent of the issues but extremists try to divide us on the remaining 5 percent, he said.
We should focus on finding common ground, and not on what divides us, to solve our problems for the long term.
That means putting America first, and putting the needs of the country ahead of the needs of the individual. “If you look at the history of this great country, we’ve always done best when we are united and put America first.”
It also means having good political leadership. In Nevada, we are very fortunate because we have the great and stable leadership of Governor Steve Sisolak and First Lady Kathy Sisolak.
Peter Palivos is a friend to small businesses. And no wonder. At age 7, he went to work at his father’s small shoeshine and cleaning business in Chicago.
Palivos, 62, was raised in uptown Chicago by his Greek immigrant parents, Angelo and Bessie Palivos. His family traces its arrival in America to the 1890s from Arcadia in southern Greece.
He learned the value of the American work ethic from his hard-working parents and grew to appreciate the toils of the small business owner.
The pandemic has devastated small businesses, where 97 percent of all employees work. About 25 percent of businesses are at risk of bankruptcy.
Small business owners are “the most decent, hardworking people.” The government should do all it can to help them, he said.
On behalf of small businesses throughout America, Palivos and attorney Robert Eglet have filed a federal class action suit against the People’s Republic of China.
The suit alleges that the Chinese government withheld and delayed information about COVID-19 in violation of international health protocols regarding coronavirus research.
Chinese researchers were transmitting coronavirus from bats to human cells at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as they looked for drugs that would combat the virus, Palivos said. They hoped to patent the drugs and make hundreds of billions of dollars.
The evidence suggests that the virus escaped the lab and worked its way into the world population, Palivos said.
The suit seeks to compensate the 30.7 million small businesses listed in the suit who suffered losses because of the virus.
Palivos also hopes to put China on notice to change its behavior.
“If the Chinese government had acted consistently with the international treaties to which they are signatories, 99 percent of the damages and catastrophe against its own people and the world community would have been avoided—the deaths, economy, and quarantine,” Palivos said.
Law for soccer
Palivos was an outstanding soccer player in college, a two time All-American and had a chance to play professionally, but chose instead to pursue law.
He began his legal career as an associate at Rittenberg, Krichiver and Buffen, Ltd. In Chicago.
In 1985, he became the youngest associate at the firm to be offered a full partnership.
He started his own law firm that same year, Peter A. Palivos & Associates.
Peter Palivos looks for every opportunity to give back. His goal in this age of pandemic is to conduct at least two philanthropic events a week.
He recently hosted a lunch for doctors at UMC Hospital, which handles the most serious COVID-19 cases in Las Vegas.
Last week, he bought food from different struggling small restaurants and fed staff at the VA Hospital in North Las Vegas.
For over 20 years, he has done pro bono legal work for veterans and their families. He is currently Chairman of Voice of Vets.
He has also been involved with Veterans for Action, Forgotten Not Gone, Purple Hearts, Vietnam Vets and Wounded Warriors.
“I do this because veterans have done a great deal for our country and they mostly get shortchanged by the system,” stated Palivos.
His participation in other philanthropic causes and organizations has included:
- Leadership 100
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Chicago Council
- United Hellenic American Congress
- Pan-Arcadian Federation of America
- Boys and Girls Club of America
- Catholic Charities
- American Cancer Society
- He started the “Feed the Orphans” program in Kenya, Africa.
Palivos hasn’t forgotten his Greek roots.
He’s a co-owner of the OFI Football Club in Iraklion, Crete, Greece, and a national and international leader working to improve Greek-American relationships, including:
- Working with the United States Congress to approve greater military assistance for Greece.
- Working with former President Clinton and US Senator Moseley-Braun to block the recognition of Macedonia in the United States Congress in the early 1990s.
- Working with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama to avert a crisis between Greece and Germany, which was pressuring Greece to exit the European Union in 2015.