Daily Archives: February 3, 2010

Go to Las Vegas- and Go Broke?

A careless remark by President Barack Obama about Las Vegas has triggered a furious backlash from Nevada’s cash-strapped gambling mecca and a key Democratic ally fighting a tough re-election battle in the state. 

Speaking about the economy yesterday at an event in Nashua, New Hampshire, Mr. Obama told Americans: “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices.” 

The economy of Las Vegas, the world’s most famous gambling and entertainment destination, is heavily dependent on tourism and Las Vegans were already incensed by a crack from Mr. Obama a year ago that companies should not use federal bail out money for trips to the city.   The city is still reeling from that comment, trying to keep bookings and revenues up on conventions and other events. 

Mr. Obama’s latest remark about Las Vegas prompted a swift and angry retort from Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, who is fighting an extremely uphill battle to win re-election in Nevada, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. – a whopping 13 per cent.

Mr. Obama hurriedly dispatched a letter to Mr. Reid. “I hope you know that during my Town Hall today, I wasn’t saying anything negative about Las Vegas,” he wrote. 

Oscar Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas and an independent, also got into the fray, raising his voice and describing President Obama as “a real slow learner” who has a “psychological hang-up” about Las Vegas. 

Mr. Goodman added that this time an apology from Mr. Obama wouldn’t be enough. “I’ll do everything I can to give him the boot.” 

Last year, Mr. Obama apologized for his prior gaffe and during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas said that it was good to get out of Washington and “there’s nothing like a quick trip to Vegas in the middle of the week.” 

Repercussions surrounding the current incident are not nearly over.  In a couple of weeks, Mr. Obama is planning another visit to Las Vegas, which surely will cause sparks to fly anew.

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Nicolas Cage Gone in Sixty Seconds from Las Vegas

It seems no matter who you are – or how much you earn – it’s never enough to cover all the bills.  

In June 2009 Forbes magazine ranked actor Nicholas Cage 45th on its list of the 100 most powerful celebrities and estimated his income at $40 million for the previous 12 month period.  Just 6 months later Cage’s $8.5 million Las Vegas home went into foreclosure and has now reportedly been sold for $4.95 million after just one day on the market.  The 14,000+ square foot home on Spanish Heights Drive has six bedrooms, seven and a half bathrooms and features a theater and a subterranean 16-car garage.  

This is only the latest round of financial troubles trailing the Academy Award winner.  In November, 2009, the two homes Cage owned through Hancock Park Real Estate Company in New Orleans were sold at a foreclosure auction and this followed the loss of a residence in California.  This is all right on the heels of a lawsuit Cage filed in October against business manager Samuel Levin.  

In the lawsuit, Cage claims he has “discovered that he is now forced to sell major assets and investments at a significant loss and is faced with huge tax liabilities because of Levin’s incompetence, misrepresentations and recklessness. Rather than attaining financial security, Cage has been forced to dispose of significant assets in order to pay for Levin’s gross misconduct.” 

In addition to home losses, Cage also owes back property taxes and a substantial amount to the IRS.  

“Over the course of my career I have paid at least $70 million in taxes. Unfortunately, due to a recent legal situation, another approximate $14 million is owed to the IRS,” Cage told People magazine.  The good news for Cage is that as a bankable Hollywood actor, he won’t be finding himself on the unemployment line soon and his five projects currently in play should help him regroup and, hopefully, regain his financial footing.

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‘Slick Willy’ Slithers into Las Vegas

President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, apparently never gets old.  He will speak at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Monday, February 22 at 7:30pm. President Clinton’s lecture is titled “Embracing our Common Humanity”. The special evening event is presented by Caesars Palace and AEG Live. 

Tickets for the evening event went on-sale Monday, February 1 at 10 a.m. and may be purchased in person at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Box Office, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, or by visiting http://www.ticketmaster.com  , keyword “Caesars Palace”

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