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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at:

Vegas is a second chance town

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
June 20, 2005
            Michael Jackson
       (Santa Barbara Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

LAS VEGAS - Its rumored that sullied rock idol Michael Jackson may be considering making his come back in our desert town. In that case, he might be interested in knowing just how forgiving our town really is.

In 1985, I reluctantly found myself on the stage of the Desert Inn presenting the Opportunity Village Association for Retarded Citizens (OV) Man of the Year Award to the late Moe Dalitz. No one seemed to care that the elderly man was once an associate of "Murder Inc." and a known gangster. He'd been forgiven and was now considered a pillar of the Vegas community -- a man given a second chance.


The next year, as President of OV, it was my duty to do the same to Steve Wynn. For both men, the awards were purchased with $25,000 donations since neither honoree had ever done a minute of volunteer work with the OV clients to earn such a title.

In Dalitz' case, the D.I. showroom was packed to the rafters with his admirers, some who looked like the cast from "Goodfellas." By presenting the award, I was doing my ceremonial duty as the head of the charity, though I had serious personal reservations about the recipient.

In Wynn's case, I made the presentation in his Golden Nugget showroom. During the standing ovation, I whispered "Thank you for the generous donation," saying it would pay for six mentally handicapped adults in OV's workshop program. He coldly replied, "...yah."

             Steve Wynn

Speaking of second chances, there's Wynn's financier Michael Milken who was convicted of illegal securities trading in 1990. The "Junk bond king" did less than two years behind bars, and was able to keep $500 million from the average people he swindled. While in prison, Michael was visited no less than fifty-seven times by Wynn. A gaming licensee associating with a felon serving time is a giant No No in Nevada gaming law -- but gaming officials turned the other way for these two special people.

Soon after his release, Milken put on a lavish Forth of July party at his Lake Tahoe estate attended by Wynn, then-Governor Bob Miller, and the A-list of Nevada luminaries. Milken was also photographed with Wynn and Michael Jackson on the pirate ship during the grand opening of the Treasure Island hotel. This association didn't raise an eyebrow in the Silver State even though NRS 463.170 - Qualifications for license, states: "The commission (must be) satisfied that the applicant is: (b) A person whose... associations do not pose a threat to the public interest of this state or to the effective regulation and control of gaming..."

           (Sam Morris, LV SUN)

One reason the late Ted Binion reportedly lost his gaming license was because he was observed associating with an ex-felon, the late Herb Blitzstein. Blitzstein lacked the financial resources and social prominence to make him a special ex-felon in the eyes of gaming regulators.

I realize Jackson was found not-guilty, but I still like to use the Milken example to show the forgiveness of Nevadans when it comes to prominent people who have had run-ins with the law.

After the six week trial revealed so much about his personal life, its no doubt Jackson will need a lot of forgiving if he wants to continue his career. But, if he chooses to seek social acceptance in Sin City, he'll be making the right choice!

If he settles here, Michael Jackson won't be alone in the Las Vegas Social Register. There is this fascinating story of Steve Wynn's brother Ken who is also an alleged fan of child pornography.

On February 26, 2004, the Las Vegas SUN headline read: "Feds search house of Steve Wynn's brother." 

"Las Vegas executive Kenny Wynn, the brother of casino-hotel magnate Steve Wynn, recently was served with a search warrant at his home in connection with a child pornography investigation, according to law enforcement sources."

On March 29, 2004, the SUN reported: "No charges have been filed against Wynn, and federal officials would not comment on the search warrant, which is sealed."  

Unfortunately, we may never know the outcome because these were the only stories ever written on the subject (such stories are commonly blacked out or sealed if they offend prominent local people). Nonetheless, Ken Wynn, whether or not he's involved with child porn, currently holds a key gaming license at the new Wynn resort and is an accepted member of Vegas society.

Kenneth Wynn, president of Wynn Design & Development
speaks during a panel discussion at the Urban Land
Institute 2002 Fall Meeting at the Venetian.

Prior to the child porn investigation, Ken's gaming license was suspended for two years for a narcotics violation. Immediately after surrendering his license, then-Mayor Jan Jones appointed Ken to be in charge of the largest public works project in the history of the City of Las Vegas; the $64 million dollar canopy that distracts from historic Fremont Street. Under her direction, the City Council failed to put the project out to public bid as is always required.

Though he did not hold a Nevada General Contractor's License, Kenneth Wynn was nonetheless allowed by the City Council to supervise the construction and appoint sub contractors.

Jones, like so many other prominent people in this overly tolerant town, didn't care that placing a convicted druggie in charge of such a huge project might send the wrong message to kids. She knew that Ken Wynn's name and social status would easily overcome such criticism.

Michael Jackson loves teenagers. He also likes parading around nude in front of them according to trial testimony, so he'll get along famously with our city's current mayor, Oscar Goodman, who made this statement about teenage girls titillating grown men for profit: "There's no prostitution taking place... and if there was, they should arrest them, not make some big fuss as to what some 18-year-old girl is doing to make living." 

The Mayor was referring to the city ignoring laws prohibiting teenage girls stripping in local topless and total nude clubs.

And Michael, who allegedly serves little boys fine wine, may also find it acceptable that Goodman told a class of vulnerable forth graders that if he were stranded on a desert island, the first thing he would want was a bottle of gin, and that his hobby is "drinking."
          Mayor Goodman with some big boys                       Mayor tells forth graders his hobby is "drinking"

After promoting liquor to fourth graders at an "at risk" public school in a poor neighborhood, Mayor Goodman was rewarded with an appointment to the prestigious Clark County Public Education Foundation Board of Directors whose mission is " support and enhance public education through projects and initiatives designed to improve student performance in preparation for the challenges of this century."

Was the mayor endorsing alcohol to improve "student performance?" If so, this could only be tolerated in the new Las Vegas (or Neverland)! The members of the Foundation Board, without comment, forgave his remarks.

     Las Vegas Review-Journal                                        Las Vegas SUN

"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." That being the case, Jackson's now infamous interludes with little boys would have gone unnoticed, and certainly un-prosecuted under recent Sin City standards.

The Clark County District Attorney, David Roger, during his 2003 election, accepted -- then purportedly returned -- over $50,000 from a well known suspect in a highly publicized federal investigation of racketeering. His benefactor was once referred to as a "Pillar of the community," so Roger must have thought it was OK to take his money.

After taking, then reportedly returning the money, Roger dropped three robbery and assault cases against his benefactor. The cases were brought to him for prosecution by the Metro Police, but it ended up that Roger was more interested in giving his benefactor a second chance than prosecuting him.

Based on this example, Michael Jackson could accept little babies with rouged butt cheeks offered up by ambitious mothers all day long in Vegas, and never have to worry about a local version of Tom Sneddon catching him. Ech!

          D.A. David Roger

On the many occasions when Jackson was in Vegas, often in the company of small boys, he and the un-chaperoned boys slept and played together in a specially decorated suite in Steve Wynn's hotel and had free use of Wynn's private jet. Jackson also went on extravagant local shopping sprees with the boys buying them anything they desired. Wynn found nothing unusual about this behavior and was often seen in the company of Jackson and his pubescent "entourage."

When Jackson went on trial, he listed Steve Wynn as a character witness. So whether he wants to admit it or not, Wynn could very well be the first to offer his good friend a long term gig in the showroom of his new resort. Of course, the show will be "G" rated so little boys can attend.

Today, as in the past, there will always be a warm place in our city's heart for the wealthy downtrodden seeking a second chance.

Welcome to Vegas, Michael.

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