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August 1998 Article

Exclusively Found in the Insider Viewpoint of Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas
Frontier Justice Style --
Part 2 of 3
By: Frank Rosenthal

Welcome To Las Vegas-Frontier Justice Style Round 2 of 3. I was overmatched, framed and unprepared! The sheriff was the king of Las Vegas and controlled with an iron fist. He was forceful and generally inflexible if you were on his hit list. Unfortunately, I be- came one of his prime targets. His chief of detectives was dangerous, unpredictable and a tough son of a gun. Here is the way it happened in round two...

Back at the Tropicana Hotel, all freshened up, cooled down, and wondering what's my next move. Figured I'd head over to Caesar's Palace right after sunset for a visit and some sound advice from the top brass.

I'm in the Galleria Lounge relaxing with my friends and associates whom I have known for many years. There was no need to review my first encounter with the heat. Everyone knew how it happened, and why. The real question was whether the sheriff and his gang intended to force me back east the hard way! Didn't take very long to find out. While we were talking, I noticed the chief of detectives and his bloodhounds entering the casino. I'm sitting with the Creme De La Creme of the Palace. The chairman of the board and several senior casino executives including Dean Shendal, better known as the "Cowboy." Dean resembled the Marlboro Man. Rugged, Hollywood handsome, great personality and known to have a short fuse. He loved steer wrestling, calf roping and the total aura of a modern day rodeo cowboy. If Dean had an Achilles heel it had to be skirts. This cowboy loved great looking chicks, and he had the right combination to match his appetite. Good looks and a king size bankroll. He spent quite a bit of time in Beverly Hills romancing his favorite flavor of the month with luxury throughout famous Rodeo Drive and their exclusive boutiques. If a gal was lucky enough to get hooked up with Dean she had herself a first class ticket to shopper's wonderland and then some. Dean was a master chemist, he could destroy money faster than a paper shredder. In addition to that, he was a very close personal friend with the king of Las Vegas, sheriff Ralph Lamb.

The chief began eyeballing our table with an expression of indecision. As the chief approached the rail of the Galleria a sudden silence filled the air. His eyes focused my way like a laser beam. The chief broke the silence with a subtle display of personal charm. "Hello Jerry." Jerry Z was the top gun at the Palace, a solid operator, a great sports handicappers, brilliant and very influential throughout the gaming industry. We'd been friends for better than 15 years. Another top level executive was Elliot (Jumbo) Price, a popular casino boss from Boston whom I had been associated with for many years. Matter of fact, Elliot was the best man at my wedding, held in Caesar's Palace grand ballroom compliments of Caesar, and his Palace… Then there was Danny (Noisy) Stein, Caesar's casino manager who knew quite a bit about women and marriage. Noisy went through nine wives and as of this date he's moved into record territory.

The chief was relatively friendly, at least for a few moments. Suddenly the chief asked me what I was doing at Caesar's. "Just visiting with our good friends Chief." "You must have a short memory or a hard head." I took the fifth and remained silent to no avail. "You're under arrest for vagrancy, get up and walk down slowly in front of me." Jerry Z stood up, red faced and fuming. "For what, he hasn't done a damn thing, why don't you just leave him be and get off his back?" The chief replied softly and surprisingly apologetically. "Sorry Jerry, I have my orders, we're taking him downtown."

Then the Cowboy decided to lend a helping hand. "Hey Gene, Frank is an okay guy and a good friend of mine, I'll take full responsibility for him, he's our guest and not about to cause any problems." The chief looked up at Dean and trapped himself. "You ought to mind your own business Dean." Dean didn't hesitate for a moment and extended the chief an open invitation, not to his ranch, nor for dinner.

The cowboy challenged the chief to step outside the casino into the parking lot if he would put aside his badge and pistol. Dean was embarrassed and lost his cool. What a natural match, a double tough cowboy and a deranged cop who hadn't been known to back away from anyone. The chief turned real red, and seemed to be stunned and unsure about his next move. Dean was leaning forward in an upright position and looked dead eye serious. The two detectives were visibly startled. Sunrise Hospital was just a few minutes away, and that's were the chief could have landed had he foolishly accepted the challenge. He knew it was a no win situation and decided to ignore the cowboy and concentrate on me. Jerry Z eased Dean back and signaled me to simply surrender, and the chief's not a 21 dealer. "I'll have a bondsman waiting, try to relax, you'll be okay. Call me when you're back at the Trop."

One more trip downtown to the county slammer. Same routine, strip searched, photographed, finger printed and placed inside a holding cell with a bunch of winos and weirdos. I wasn't expecting any more physical abuse the second time around. Thirty minutes or so later I'm picking up my personal belongings and ready to catch a breathe of clean fresh air. The chief was relentless and didn't miss the opportunity to wish me farewell as I was leaving. "You're going to need lots of luck if you decide to hang around this town much longer." I headed straight back to the Trop. There were 2 messages. Call Caesar's, the other one came from that great looking flight attendant. I called Caesar, "pack up quickly and head out to the airport." "Catch the first flight out of here, don't even check in at the counter, just head straight to closest departing runway." "The cowboy is going to see the sheriff in the morning." "Be careful, keep your eyes open and don't stop until your inside the terminal." "Good luck kid." The message was clear and I caught a lift straight out to the airport without incident. I began reflecting upon the events of the past 24 hours. The sheriff clearly didn't want me in "his" town, and was prepared to use his muscle in order to keep me away. I didn't know exactly why. I guess you might say I was somewhat lucky just being alive. If not for the cowboy and Jerry Z- I could have wound up on the wrong side of a safari. Back home safe and sound I'm anxiously awaiting the results of the meeting between Dean and the sheriff. Almost forgot to mention, I was engaged to be married, and my fiancee lived in Sin City. I'm an (86) with little margin for error. How does a fellow become exiled without a hearing? It could only happen in Welcome To Las Vegas, Frontier Justice Style. See you next month for the bell-round, stay tuned and good luck.

…Stay tuned.

Frank Rosenthal


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