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For Immediate Release 8/14/2001

"Former Las Vegas Mayor" peddles title to highest bidder

By Steve Miller
8/14/2001
LAS VEGAS - On March 14, 1997, the Detroit News reported that then-Las Vegas Mayor Jan Laverty Jones was in Detroit encouraging officials to consider the future of casinos in their city. After being introduced as "Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones," she was quoted in the Detroit News saying "You have all of the capacity to become a world-class city." She went on to tell City Council members and the press to "Foster an environment that gives casino operators the latitude they need to attract visitors from outside Detroit."

Jones then stated "You need hotel rooms and an entertainment environment. Gaming is only a part of that." While Mayor Jones was encouraging Detroit under her official title, downtown Las Vegas was experiencing a 2.3% decline in gaming revenue compared to the previous year. Jones however kept quoting favorable statistics from the Strip casinos -- casinos she had no jurisdiction over since the Strip is outside the city of Las Vegas.

While speaking in Detroit, Mayor Jones neglected to disclose that she was also a stockholder in Mirage, and Circus Circus, two of the then-bidders for Detroit casino licenses. This lack of disclosure and her misuse of her official mayoral title inspired a subsequent review by the Nevada Commission on Ethics. Jones was eventually excused of any ethical transgressions.

Three years later, Jan Jones was out of office and working for the tax funded Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority. Her salary -- $250,000.00 per year to promote Las Vegas.The LVCVA stint lasted less than a year until Harrah's made Jones a better offer. It didn't take Jones long to pack her belongings at the LVCVA and settle in at Harrah's. Her reported new salary was over $400,000.00 per year to promote the Las Vegasation of California.

Harrah's Entertainment was hot on the heals of a deal to partner with a San Diego Indian tribe to build a two hundred million dollar hotel casino on the road to Laughlin. Harrah's needed some extra political clout with California's Democrats, specifically Governor Gray Davis, to pave the way for their expansion outside of Nevada. Enter "Former Las Vegas Mayor" Jan Jones, now the National Committeewoman of the Nevada Democratic Party and a friend of President Bill Clinton.

Why would Harrah's Entertainment be so willing to hire a former TV car huckster as their new "Senior Vice President of Government Relations" at such an extraordinarily high salary? Sources close to Harrah's report that it was because of the powerful impact of having the "Former Mayor of Las Vegas" touting casinos in our neighboring state's small towns.What tribal leader or small town politician would question the reliability of the claims made by the "Former Mayor of Las Vegas?"

Jones did a superlative job! Harrah's succeeded in obtaining fervent cooperation from the local and state government for their partner the Rincon San Luiseno Band of Mission Indians. Today Harrah's is well on their way to building a Sunset Station size > facility in San Diego County. The company is also reported to have future plans for other such projects in Northern California on the roads leading to Reno thanks in no small part to Jan Jones. In an amazing interview aired June 10, on Las Vegas' News Channel One, Jones tried to minimize the effect of her company's California ventures on the future of Nevada's economy. The moderator Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston summed up the interview in his column the following day by saying "Jones also believes that her company's investments in California tribal gaming, as well as those of others, will have absolutely no effect on the (Nevada) state economy."

Following her outrageous News One interview, Jones' former LVCVA boss Rossi Ralenkotter rebuked her saying: "Reno, Laughlin and downtown Las Vegas will likely take the hardest hits from existing and new Indian gaming properties in California" on June 14, in the Las Vegas Review Journal.

In the face of such strong contrary opinion Jones remains undaunted in her zeal to persuade California residents to accept her company's plans -- while also trying to convince her friends back in Nevada not to worry -- and be happy!

"Former Las Vegas Mayor" Jan Jones made her most revealing statement of all on Wednesday, February 23, 2000, in the Los Angeles Times. In an article titled Some Nevada Casinos Could Be Big Losers, the former mayor defended her new employer by saying "The company looks for strategic opportunities, and we think California is a great market." Jones went on to exclaim that "The risk to stockholders of gaming companies entering the California market is minimal compared with decisions to build $1-billion casinos in Las Vegas."

Hello...!

To liberally translate Jan Jones' Los Angeles Times statement, it would be easy to imagine that a company that competes with the casinos Jones was once elected to protect has purchased her formerly official title "Mayor of Las Vegas" along with her image to use as a tool to promote competition to our own town's decaying downtown! Its then not a giant leap of logic to suppose that by Harrah's utilizing Jones and her former mayoral title and her current position with the Democratic Party so successfully to promote extra-Nevada casinos, our state's other exclusive highly profitable industry; brothels, will be the next business to expand outside our borders using the same proven method.

Why not, when the prostituting of a once official Nevada title and the person who held it can be so persuasive and profitable?

* * * Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman and is the State Coordinator of the Nevada Coalition Against Gambling Expansion (outside Nevada). Steve writes a weekly column in the Las Vegas Tribune. Visit his website at: http://www.SteveMiller4LasVegas.com

 


 
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