Exclusively Found in the Insider
Viewpoint of Las Vegas
By: Frank Rosenthal
|Prior to my appearance before Nevada State
Gaming Boards, the word had leaked throughout the entire industry that the
"Desert Rats", headed by Gaming Commission Chairman Peter "The Czar"
Echeverria, were ready and eager to cast their ballots that would end my
career forever in Hotel & Casino Gaming!
I was never under an illusion, nor was I hoping for a miracle. I'm a pure
realist, however, I was not about to surrender to those "rats". The stakes
couldn't have been higher, a life long career about to be permanently
terminated and left for dead, unlike the fairy tale in the movie "Casino"
where I was handed the keys to the magnificent Tangier's Casino, escorts and
a mile long red carpet.
For months I had attempted to break the "fix" that awaited me. The
commissioners never met a cocktail they didn't like, and several of them
were well known for dealing seconds and using phony dice. Conversely, when
the unanimous vote was read I was partially stunned. I left the Reno/Carson
City area by Lear Jet, and arrived back into Las Vegas in about 1 hour.
A certified telegram was issued to the corporation that demanded a surrender
and withdrawal from all of my responsibilities, compensation and authority
within 72 hours! My thoughts wandered, my confidence at an all time low. I
cleaned out my office, and was invited to address the senior executives and
their staffs in one of the many ballrooms within the Stardust. There were
sobs, tears, some of which could have rivaled a Hollywood movie. I thanked
those who had been loyal and productive. The applause was surprising,
somewhat consoling, at least for the moment. I went home to my family and
attempted to adjust for the semi-retirement that went with the sentencing
from the Desert Rats!
I had 2 choices...accept the life sentence of banishment from the industry
or attempt the impossible. A challenge to the powerful state gamers through
the district courts was not considered to be either practical or warranted.
Filing a law suit was simple, even I had that right. Strong consideration
had to be given to the court system, and their political ties. Many of the
judges were pro gaming, and held to the absolute rule that court
interference had no precedent, and further more, it was contrary to
conventional wisdom. My attorney and I pondered for a period of time, never
hesitating or doubting the merits of a lawsuit.
Would I be fortunate or lucky enough to land into a courtroom with a judge
who would strictly apply and consider the law rather than cave into the
establishment? Our chances seemed slim to nonexistent. The community did not
perceive me to be a likely poster boy with top scout honors who was denied
his due process, and who should therefore be afforded a square hearing based
upon strict constitutional law and common civil rights. The commissioners
had successfully portrayed me to be evil and threatening to the best
interests of the community and industry.
These suckers knew how to paint, and their brush was wicked, widespread
and calculating. "Lets take a shot, Oscar." Oscar Goodman was then my
attorney, and he too was not held in high esteem by the band of Desert Rats.
The legal briefs were prepared and filed. The judge would be selected by
random choice, rather than by the presiding chief judge.
We knew that our chances were slim at best, however a slim chance seemed to
be a better alternative then simply lying down to those *&$#!*%@#. They were
a bunch of tough, organized bandits who orchestrated and dealt me a
crippling blow, both financially and career wise. There were many nights,
days too, that I often thought about Pete and his stooges. I would foolishly
check the daily obituaries hoping to recognize one or more of their names.
The appeal took about 14 months and we became aware that the deciding judge
was independent, scholarly and not likely to become intimidated by the
powerful state gamers. At least we had a chance, depending upon his
interpretation of the law and the state's arbitrary rulings that did not
consider constitutional and civil rights.
My attorney shocked me when he called to notify me that the presiding judge
had reversed the commissioners! I asked Oscar if he was kidding. "No Frank,
we won, your going back to work. The State had violated my constitutional
rights, was arbitrary, capricious and void of reasonable due process." Talk
about your long shots. The courts order superseded the states ruling,
thereby providing me an opportunity to return to work in my former position
as the Chief Executive Officer of the Argent Corporation and it's holdings
within the state.
The headlines read, "Rosenthal Wins, Gamers Lose" The state gamers were in a
panic, and they immediately petitioned to the Nevada Supreme Court
requesting a "stay of the order". They called and appealed to the Chairman
of the Argent board, almost demanding that he not reinstate me in spite of
the court's ruling.
The Chairman held firm and courageously so. I went back to work 24 hours
later title in hand. The gentlemen that had replaced me was not an ally. On
several occasions he let it be known that my appeal to the courts didn't
have a prayer and would not be well received by the chairman even if the
unthinkable were to happen. When I appeared back on the scene he shook my
hand while welcoming me back. He then proceeded to ask me if I would like my
old office back and how soon!. "Yes Carl, how's 24 hours."
The Desert Rats weren't through even though they lost the judicial fight.
They huddled, planned and prepared for one more battle. More on that in
January 1999. Merry Xmas, Happy New Year, Health & Prosperity.
Stay Tuned & Good Luck!