Archive for February, 2009

BREAKING NEWS Police Close to Arrest in Chandra Levy Case

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2009 by ifly2lv

Reports: Arrest close in slaying of Chandra Levy
1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Media reports in Washington and California say that an arrest may be close in the slaying of the former federal intern whose disappearance ended Gary Condit’s congressional career.

WRC in Washington and KGO, KFSN and KCRA in California say D.C. police are seeking an arrest warrant in Chandra Levy’s death. The warrant would be for an inmate convicted of attacking two female joggers in the same Washington park where Levy’s remains were found in 2002.

The 24-year-old Levy disappeared in May 2001.

The married Condit told police that he and Levy were having an affair. Police did not consider him a suspect, but the negative publicity was cited as the main cause of the California Democrat’s re-election defeat in 2002.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier would not comment on the report Saturday.

Police are close to arresting an inmate they’ve already interviewed in the eight-year-old murder case of Chandra Levy and charging him in her disappearance, FOX News has confirmed.

Law enforcement officials said an arrest warrant will be issued for Ingmar Guandique, who is currently in prison in California.

Officials said Guandique will be served papers there and likely then flown to Washington, D.C., to hear the charges against him.

D.C. authorities submitted evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s office to obtain the arrest warrant.

Guandique is reportedly in jail for assaulting two women in Rock Creek Park, the same park where Levy’s remains were found a year after she vanished, according to WRC-TV in Washington.

Another inmate told investigators that Guandique confessed to Levy’s murder, according to the station. But Guandique changed his story when speaking to investigators. He allegedly told police that he saw Levy several times in the park, but played no part in her death.

Levy’s parents, Robert and Susan Levy of Modesto, Calif., said Friday night that police told them there had been a break in the case, KXTV in Sacramento reported.

Levy, 24, of Modesto, Calif., had just completed an internship at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons when she disappeared from her apartment on May 1, 2001. Her remains were found in 2002, more than a year after her disappearance.

The cause of death was ruled a homicide, but nobody was ever charged.

Levy was romantically linked to married California congressman Gary Condit. He denied any involvement in or knowledge of Levy’s disappearance or death.

But he acknowledged to investigators that they had an intimate relationship. Levy’s parents also said their daughter had told them about the affair.

Though police never formally named Condit a suspect, the negative publicity from the case was cited as the main cause of the Democrat’s re-election defeat in 2002.

PHOTOS! Here are pictures of Andrea Hissom as Las Vegas casino tycoon Steve Wynn linked to British divorcee

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2009 by ifly2lv




Las Vegas casino tycoon Steve Wynn linked to British divorcee

By Paul Thompson
Last updated at 6:23 PM on 17th February 2009

Gambling mogul Steve Wynn is reported to have left his wife

Gambling mogul Steve Wynn is reported to have left his wife

US billionaire Steve Wynn is reported to have left his wife of 46 years for British divorcee Andrea Hissom.

The mother-of-two has been seen with Wynn, one of America’s richest men with a personal fortune estimated at over £3billion.

According to reports in the US, Wynn dumped his wife Elaine for Hissom after the pair were introduced at one of his casinos.

Under U.S. law Wynn’s wife, who divorced her husband in 1986 only to re-marry him five years later and helped build his casino empire, would be entitled to half his fortune.

Legal experts said the divorce would be the most expensive ever, eclipsing the  £100million U.S. basketball star Michael Jordan paid his wife Juanita when they split.

Rumours about 67-year-old Wynn’s marriage surfaced at the opening gala of his  latest five-star Vegas hotel Encore just before Christmas.

The Las Vegas casino tycoon’s wife and his daughter were seen crying at the launch for the £1.8billion hotel.

According to Las Vegas newspaper columnist Norm Clarke Wynn has moved out of the suite he and his wife shared at the Wynn hotel, one of six he owns in Vegas.

Hissom, an attractive blonde in her mid 40s,  was formerly married to London-based investment broker Robert  Davis Hissom and has two teenage children.

She is believed to be well known among London’s social set, and her Facebook  page lists over 70 friends including financier Guy Dellal.

The New York Post reported that Hissom’s father is financier Victor Danenza, who fled to France in 1976 from the U.S. after being investigated by the FBI for fraudulent stock market deals.

Steve Wynn's new Encore Hotel and Casino

Steve Wynn’s new Encore Hotel and Casino dominates the Las Vegas skyline

He was reportedly investigated by British authorities in 1992 for other fraudulent stock deals.

A spokesman for Wynn refused to comment on reports of the romance.

‘We never comment on Mr Wynn’s private life,’ said a spokesman.

But Vegas is buzzing with the news that Hissom is the new woman in his life. 

Reports first surfaced several weeks ago that Wynn was now dating a ‘gorgeous  British divorcee’.

She was later named by the New York Post newspaper and photos from her   Facebook page have appeared on dozens on blogs reporting the romance.

Wynn, a billionaire property developer rated the 227th richest  man in America,  is credited with transforming Vegas in the 1990s.

His company developed The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio and Wynn Hotels.

His latest hotel, Encore, which has 2,000 rooms and cost over £1.8billion to build,  was opened amid an economic downturn that has hit casino owners in Vegas.

He also owns one of the biggest private art collections in the world, but  two years ago suffered a costly mishap when he damaged one of his rare Picasso  paintings.

Wynn had sold the Le Reve portrait to friend for just under £100m in 2006.

But as he showed off the portrait to friends for the last time, Wynn, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa – an eye disease that affects peripheral vision, accidentally put his elbow through the canvas.

The sale was called off, but Wynn still came up trumps after suing his insurance company after they said the painting was now only worth half its valued amount.

The insurers settled out of court with Wynn reportedly pocketing over £30m  -as well as keeping the painting which was revalued after its repair to over  £100m.

He and his wife Elaine, who have two grown up children Kevyn and Gillian,  first wed in 1963.

They divorced in 1986 but continued to live together and remarried five years later.

In 1993 his daughter Gillian was kidnapped and Wynn paid a ransom of over   £750,000 for her safe return.

One of the kidnappers was arrested after he tried to use the ransom money to buy a Ferrari sports car in Newport Beach, California.

Possible Oscar Winners List Posted Online

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 20, 2009 by ifly2lv


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2009 by ifly2lv


WORKING GIRLS: Las Vegas’ 50 most prolific prostitutes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2009 by ifly2lv

VICE ENFORCEMENT’S TOP OFFENDERS: Police are taking unprecedented steps to keep prostitution offenders off the Strip

WORKING GIRLS: Las Vegas’ 50 most prolific prostitutes 



Call it a unique kind of most wanted list or simply an attempt to clamp down on the area’s worst-kept secret.

Working off a roster of the reputed 50 “most prolific prostitutes” in Clark County, Las Vegas police and prosecutors are taking unprecedented steps to keep repeat prostitution offenders off the Strip.

Some are criticizing the law enforcement crackdown as overly aggressive. And it comes at a time when some policymakers are talking about eventually legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution in the Las Vegas Valley.

The Vice Enforcement Top Offenders (VETO) list, which took the vice unit two years to compile, has the names of women with the longest prostitution-related criminal records in Clark County, said Lt. Karen Hughes.

Most of the women on the list have been convicted of exchanging sex for money or of prostitution-related theft charges inside several Strip hotels, not for street prostitution.

Within days of launching the crackdown, police over Super Bowl weekend arrested 13 of the women on charges of soliciting prostitution, loitering for the purposes of prostitution, or trespassing, police records show.

In all, 24 of the 50 women on the list were arrested between Jan. 28 and Feb. 13, all on misdemeanor charges.

Six on the list were arrested twice during that period.

Those arrested range in age from 20 to 41.

Police declined a request by the Review-Journal for the entire VETO list.

Hughes said it is time to stop the revolving door of prostitution-related arrests, especially when those arrests involve “trick rolls,” in which prostitutes steal from men.

“We’re talking about girls who have been arrested repeatedly over the years, ones that we all know by face and by name,” said Hughes, citing one woman who was arrested 18 times in a single year.

“If they get the message that Las Vegas is not going to ignore their subsequent arrests, then maybe they’ll take their lifestyle to a different city,” she said.

Or at least to a different part of Clark County.

In a memo to prosecutors about VETO cases, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Lalli last month told his staff to offer plea agreements that would include possible jail time and an order that defendants “refrain from entering the resort corridor” for a period of six or 12 months.

The guilty plea offer also will include 100 hours of community service and mandatory attendance of an AIDS awareness class.

If caught back in the resort corridor for any reason other than lawful employment or residency, the subject will be rearrested and given jail time, Lalli’s memo said.

City and county ordinances have allowed for so-called “order-out zones” in downtown Las Vegas and the Strip since the late 1990s.

In the past, order-outs usually were agreed to by defendants in exchange for probation.

Hughes spoke about the VETO program and the general problem of prostitution at a meeting of Justice Court judges last month.

The judges were briefed on the initiative even before the sheriff was.

Her appearance before the justices of the peace is problematic, said Gary Peck, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada. “It’s a cause for real concern when police are going to judges and promoting their policy for cleaning up the Strip.”

Peck also wondered whether police are relying so heavily on a Top 50 list that it will lead to prostitution arrests without probable cause. Such arrests would pave the way for the issuance of order-outs.

“It would be troubling if this list is being used as a substitute for sound police judgment,” he said.

Hughes said police won’t make initial prostitution-related arrests without proof that a new crime has been committed.

“Just because they’re on the list doesn’t mean they’re going to jail,” she said.

Lalli said he hopes the VETO effort will put a dent in prostitution. He cited special prosecution guidelines on other crimes such as car theft, which has been dwindling recently, as evidence that crackdowns work.

“Prostitution is one of those areas that brings with it a whole host of undesirable things,” Lalli said. “If you’re a prostitute out there, the message is, ‘Don’t commit your act of prostitution around here.’ ”

Hughes said new names probably would be added to the VETO list once the first set of cases goes through the court system.

She said law enforcement’s tough approach to the problem could give way to a push for other alternative sentences for prostitutes and even a court that hears only prostitution cases.

Mayor Oscar Goodman, whose jurisdiction doesn’t include the Strip, questioned whether a crackdown on prostitutes is the best public policy. He said pimps should be the main targets of law enforcement.

“It’s the exploiters of these women who are the real villains here,” Goodman said. “I have a deep and abiding conviction that they are the primary offenders.”

Just because police don’t have a list of the most prolific pimps doesn’t mean the vice unit is ignoring that part of the problem in its undercover operations, Hughes said.

“We’ve got two investigative teams that deal with nothing but pimps,” she said. “But we also want to minimize opportunities for prostitutes to be aggressive with the tourists and with men who aren’t interested in that.”

Citing more than 5,000 prostitution arrests last year by the vice unit along the Strip, a 46 percent increase from the number two years ago, Hughes said she is concerned that prostitution hurts tourism and creates a bad image for Las Vegas.

“Vice has always had a zero tolerance on prostitution,” Hughes said. “There’s more work out there than we can wrap our arms around. Our hope is that we convey to prostitutes and pimps who operate here that this is not an easy city to make money.”

She rallied support for the VETO effort at a meeting of hotel security chiefs earlier this month.

Several hotel officials contacted by the Review-Journal didn’t return phone calls.

Hotels are just one place police are looking for prostitutes, Hughes said. Their attention is also directed on the street and at “erotic services” advertised in print and online publications.

In a related effort, undercover female officers make arrests of men who try to hire prostitutes. This group tends to be less apt to reoffend, according to Hughes.

As police ratchet up efforts to reduce prostitution, Goodman renewed his call for a discussion about options for legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution.

“If I were to engage in discussion, I’d be thinking in terms of a Little Amsterdam,” a red-light district with legalized brothels, he said. “But I’m not advocating it.”

Prostitution is legal in 10 rural Nevada counties, but not in Clark or Washoe counties.

Goodman said legalized and regulated brothels over time could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for this area.

State Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, chairman of the Senate Taxation Committee, said last month he was open to the idea of holding a legislative hearing to discuss legalizing and taxing prostitution in the state’s urban counties.

It appears, however, that the Legislature will not act on that idea this session.

At a recent meeting of the Review-Journal editorial board, Sheriff Doug Gillespie spoke out strongly against such proposals.

For now, Goodman said, Las Vegas police should enforce the laws on the book.

Barbara Brents, a sociology professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said she is surprised that law enforcement would focus so heavily on cracking down on prostitution.

“It seems pretty hypocritical to me to have an economy based on sexualizing women and then to come down on the women when police want to make it seem like they’re enforcing the law,” she said. “It’s coming down on women who are least able to fight back.”

Defense attorney James “Bucky” Buchanan, who has defended many clients accused of prostitution, sees practical problems with the effort.

“As much as Metro wants to do this, it’s just going to clog the courts,” he said. “I don’t think Metro has thought out the consequences and financial impact of this.”

On the bright side, Buchanan said, the crop of VETO arrests will make a lot of money for attorneys like him.

In hard times, you can bet on Vegas

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2009 by ifly2lv


(CNN) — A trip to Vegas might sound like a gamble, but deep discounts make it a better bet than it’s been in years.

In an era when many travelers’ wallets are tightening, airlines and hotels are slashing rates to Las Vegas, Nevada, and giving away vouchers for shows, restaurants and spas.

“Vegas is a tremendous value right now,” says Genevieve Shaw Brown, senior editor at Travelocity. “This is one of the best times in years to visit.”

Airlines faced with low passenger capacity are extending airfare sales that usually wrap up in March until at least May, offering fares from $25 to $75 dollars off a round-trip ticket.

Meanwhile, many hotels and resorts battling lower occupancy rates are luring travelers with rooms that cost about 30 percent less than they did a year ago. And the city, which experienced less tourism spending in 2008, is excitedly awaiting more visitors to cash out.

Online travel giants like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz are offering all-inclusive packages with flights and two-night hotel stays starting as low as $270.

“We realize we are in difficult economic times, but we understand that people want to take a break and still have a good time,” says Vince Alberta, spokesman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “Vegas is the place to do that.”

About 37.5 million people visited Las Vegas in 2008, down 4.5 percent from the year before, reports the LVCVA. Submit your photos of Vegas

In the last decade, there has been a movement to make Las Vegas a high-end destination by inviting celebrity chefs and adding resorts and designer shopping, says Anthony Curtis, president of, a Web site following Las Vegas tourism. But, Curtis, who has tracked tourism in the city for the last 20 years, says the economy is changing that now.

“It’s back to old Vegas again,” he says. “They are bringing customers in with cheap prices and then letting them spend their money when they get there.”

The visitor decline began last spring when tourist traffic began to dip amid skyrocketing fuel prices. Crunched airlines could no longer make a profit flying to Las Vegas, so they began cutting routes. Then, they were hit again by the economy’s deep tumble last fall that further strained their profits.

By December 2008, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport reported a 7.7 percent drop in passenger levels year over year, marking the sharpest decline since 1981. Southwest Airlines Co. cut airfares to Las Vegas in half during a two-day sale in December.

“The airlines are out there flying blind, and they are willing to take some bookings they wouldn’t do historically,” says Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare, an airfare research Web site.

Luxury hotels responded to the declining number of visitors by cutting their rates to offset rising airfares. Five-star hotel rates dropped by about 35 percent this January compared with the same period last year, according to several online travel companies.

The low airline and hotel rates will enable travelers to upgrade, and some travelers are already taking advantage, travel experts say. Hotel room rates often are lowest on weekdays. The five-star Venetian and Bellagio hotels are promoting rates less than $170 a night. The rooms usually go for around $300 a night.

“We’ve never seen the changes quite so dramatic and quite so erratic in such short periods of time,” says Scott Voeller, vice president of hotel marketing and advertising for the five-star Mandalay Bay Hotel, an MGM Mirage property. Mandalay Bay is offering rooms for $90 a night, and customers purchasing certain packages with a minimum two-night stay will receive a free round-trip flight for a future visit to Vegas.

And if you’re looking to save more, less upscale hotels are touting hostel-like prices. The Sahara Hotel & Casino is selling rooms from $19 a night, according to the hotel’s Web site. The Imperial Palace, owned by Harrah’s License Co., is offering weekday rates as low as $35 a night.

Hotels are even sweetening the deal with add-ons such as gift certificates for massages and fine dining. The Palms Hotel offers a $50 credit for food with some reservations, according to Expedia. Customers purchasing a three-night package at any MGM Mirage Las Vegas property will receive complimentary tickets to a Cirque de Soleil show.

“The economy has been slow everywhere,” says Colleen Stiritz, director of The Spa at Trump Hotel, who began to feel the impact last fall. Stiritz says she is seeing a boost in business ever since the Trump Hotel promoted a $50 spa gift certificate with bookings.

One of the most cost-effective ways to visit is to book packages, say travel agents. Expedia is offering package rates with airfare from Seattle and two nights at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino for about $269 a person. A flight from New York with two nights at the New York New York Hotel and Casino runs about $336 a person.

While there is no clear picture on when the deep discounts to Las Vegas will end, travel experts say they could end as soon as the economy looks up. Online travel companies say they are seeing travelers respond to the deals quickly. Expedia officials say they saw record bookings to Las Vegas on several days in January.

But it seems that challenges lie ahead for Sin City.

The economy’s outlook appears dim. Layoff announcements are scaring travelers, many of whom are already waiting later to book flights in the event they have to forgo the trip completely. The U.S. Travel Association predicts the total number of domestic leisure trips will drop by 1.4 percent in the coming year.

Even as travelers snag deals to Vegas, studies are showing that visitors are spending less. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reports that in 2008 leisure travelers spent $701 on average per person for each trip, not including gaming, compared with $750 in 2007.

But Eugene Moehring, professor of urban history at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, says the city has bounced back from past economic crises. After the economic slump of the 1980s, Las Vegas managed to reinvent itself with the mega resorts such as the MGM Mirage. Since then, the city has broadened its attractions from just gambling to shopping, upscale dining, golfing, nightclubs and shows.


On a Thursday night a few weeks ago, a bar at the Mandalay Bay Hotel was packed with tourists and convention-goers, showing hardly any signs of the economic slowdown, he says.

“Vegas has that ‘wow’ factor,” he says. “As long as they can keep doing that, people are going to come.”

Wells Fargo’s Vegas Vacation

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2009 by ifly2lv

Earns Wynn Resorts Ltd.

After $25 Billion Bailout, Wells Fargo Goes to Vegas
Wells Fargo, once one of the nation’s top subprime mortgage lenders, is still planning a corporate retreat for its top mortgage officers in Las Vegas even though it took $25 billion of taxpayer money from the government. 

WASHINGTON  — Wells Fargo & Co., which received $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money, is planning a series of corporate junkets to Las Vegas casinos this month.

Wells Fargo, once among the nation’s top writers of subprime mortgages, has booked 12 nights at the Wynn Las Vegas and its sister hotel, the Encore Las Vegas beginning Friday, said Wynn spokeswoman Michelle Loosbrock. The hotels will host the annual conference for company’s top mortgage officers.

The conference is a Wells Fargo tradition. Previous years have included all-expense-paid helicopter rides, wine tasting, horseback riding in Puerto Rico and a private Jimmy Buffett concert in the Bahamas for more than 1,000 employees and guests.

“I was amazed with just how lavish it was,” said Debra Rickard, a former Wells Fargo mortgage employee from Colorado who attended the events regularly until she left the company in 2004. “We stayed in top hotels, the entertainment was just unbelievable, and there were awards — you got plaques or trophies.”

While the nation’s recession has led other banks, such as Bank of America, to cancel employee recognition outings, Wells Fargo has not.

“Recognition events are still part of our culture,” spokeswoman Melissa Murray said. “It’s really important that our team members are still valued and recognized.”

Corporate retreats have attracted criticism since the bank bailout last fall. Congress scolded insurance giant American International Group Inc. for spending $440,000 on spa treatments for executives just days after the company took $85 billion from taxpayers.

AIG has since canceled all such outings.

Beginning Feb. 25, Wells Fargo’s insurance division is hosting a 40-person team meeting at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Murray did not immediately have details about the size or cost of the events or what was planned

In previous years, top loan officers were treated to performances by Cher, Jay Leno and Huey Lewis. One year, the company provided fortune tellers and offered camel rides, Rickard said.

Every night when employees returned to their rooms, there was a new gift on their pillows, she said.

Wells Fargo Chairman Richard Kovacevich has traditionally greeted every employee personally when they arrived.

Rooms at the Wynn and the Encore are consistently among the most expensive in Las Vegas.

The $2.3 billion Encore opened in December as sister hotel to the Wynn. Its decor includes a 27-foot Asian dragon made from 90,000 Swarovski crystals and artwork by Colombian artist Fernando Botero. One of the restaurants features Frank Sinatra’s 1953 Oscar.

Both properties have high-end retail stores, including Manolo Blahnik at Wynn and Chanel at Encore.