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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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Snuggled inconspicuously in a recent El Cortez press release was the disclosure that the newly reconfigured ownership will include one Lonny Zarowitz. The aforesaid Zarowtiz figures briefly in John L. Smith's Running Scared: The Life and Treacherous Times of Las Vegas Casino King Steve Wynn.
Veteran investigative reporter Smith describes Zarowitz's father, Jerome, as a "mob frontman" who "retreated in style to Palm Springs" after cutting a March 23, 1973 deal with the Nevada Gaming Control Board "to approve his son Lonny as a percentage owner in the tiny Red Garter Casino." The younger Zarowitz had been previously turned down for a license to operate a slot route, Smith writes.
A former shift manager at the El Cortez, Zarowitz also held a tiny percentage of Gaughan's Exber Inc., and the two purportedly pursued an extremely contentious relationship in decades past, as detailed in a 1997 report by the New South Wales Casino Control Authority.
In 1992, it reads, Zarowitz accused Gaughan of past-posting in the El Cortez's race and sports book in 1986. However, since Zarowitz refused to provided the corroborating evidence he claimed to possess, the charges went nowhere.
Zarowitz was accused of sexual harassment by an El Cortez cocktail waitress in 1988 and was let go by the casino two years later, the document continues. He claimed the harassment complaint was a setup by Gaughan.
Reads the dossier: "Zarowitz made other allegations against Gaughan including that Gaughan was an FBI informant, that he had allegedly interfered with Zarowitz' mail and that Gaughan had conducted certain business transactions on less than an arms length basis ...
"Zarowitz has also alleged that Gaughan has been able to influence the Nevada Gaming Regulators, the local Police and the US Postal Service not to conduct proper investigations into Zarowitz' allegations regarding the 1986 race and sports book issue."
New South Wales regulators ultimately deemed Zarowitz lacking in credibility and Gaughan suitable for licensure, "but that he should be the subject of continued scrutiny." So how is it that a character like Zarowitz is going to wind up with a piece of the El Cortez, should the Nevada Gaming Commission approve the sale? I can think of several states where he wouldn't have a prayer.
Gone and forgotten: In the course of reviewing the brief life and troubled times of the Bourbon Street hotel-casino, I discovered that if it was not the least-loved Strip (or just-off-Strip) casino, it wasn't for lack of trying. On a more personal note, I recall Bourbon Street for having the tightest slots I've ever played in Vegas. So no love lost there, either.
Following Bourbon Street's 2006 implosion, the southwest corner of the site became popular hangout for vagrants and winos, as attested by an impressive pile of empty liquor bottles that accumulated there. To be fair, this was apparently not that much of a change from when Bourbon Street was still open, to judge by eyewitness reports found at RateLasVegas.com.
One of the favorable customer reviews recounts finding a drunken woman passed out on the barroom floor. Others describe being panhandled in the restrooms. Comments also include: "It is not uncommon to catch someone shooting up in the bathroom," "Had to give $20 deposit for a hair dryer," "beds held up by phone books" while yet another offers this ringing endorsement: "I suppose it would beat staying in your car."
Stupid TV Anchor Tricks: Subbing on Fox 5's morning news program, co-anchor Heidi Hayes was in the course of reporting a buyout attempt of Cirque du Soleil by Dubai World. Not to be left out, self-involved co-anchor Jason Feinberg butted into Hayes' litany of Cirque Strip shows by noisily adding Le Reve to the list.
Now, anybody with half a brain knows that while Le Reve may play like a parody of Cirque at its most homoerotic, it is (or was) a solo venture by Franco Dragone -- or as Steve Wynn infamously intoned, "A collection of imperfect dreams, created by Dragone." After three years and at least two makeovers, the non-Cirque-ness of Le Reve should be old and obvious news.
Send out the clowns: Incidentally, a trustworthy source recently viewed Le Reve 3.0 (you know, the version with ballroom dancing added) and says it's the best iteration so far. The clowns have reportedly been almost completely banished, which counts as progress any way you slice it.