Tag Archives: Forbes

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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Las Vegas Billionaires Cry in their Dom Pérignon

The annual Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans for 2009 was released this week.  With deep sadness and regret Las Vegas Backstage Access reports that most Las Vegas gaming luminaries have taken multibillion-dollar net worth shellackings. billionaires

Most blamed their financial woes largely on the stock market’s collapse in 2008 and early 2009. 

Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder, chairman and chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson, 76, was the highest-ranking Nevada resident on the list, coming in at No. 26 with a net worth of $9 billion. 

But even that is chump change in comparison to Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates who tops the Forbes list with a net worth of $50 billion, followed by financier Warren Buffett, who comes in at No. 2 with $40 billion. 

By comparison, Adelson began 2008 as the third-richest person, but Forbes refigured its list later in the year and Adelson fell to 15th with a net worth of $15 billion. In March, when Forbes released its top billionaire list, Adelson was listed with a net worth of $3.4 billion. 

Las Vegas Sands avoided filing bankruptcy nearly a year ago when Adelson invested $1 billion of his own money into the company to make a debt payment. 

Kirk Kerkorian, the 92-year-old Los Angeles billionaire who owns about 43 percent of MGM Mirage, took the largest tumble of all gaming executives on the list, falling from 27th in 2008 with $11.2 billion, to 97th in 2009 with a net worth of $3 billion. 

MGM Mirage’s declining stock since the end of 2007 reduced the value of Kerkorian’s holdings in the company from $11 billion down to $1.5 billion. Other Kerkorian investments in the oil and automotive industries also suffered throughout the year. 

Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman Steve Wynn fell from 118th with $3.4 billion to 141st with $2.3 billion. “Tough year for the king of Las Vegas,” Forbes reported. 

The biggest Las Vegas challenge, according to the magazine, was opening the $2.3 billion Encore last December in the middle of the recession.  

Meanwhile, Wynn cashed out more than $100 million in shares of Wynn Resorts that will be used as part of his upcoming divorce settlement with his wife, Elaine. 

Other Las Vegas gaming industry executives making the list included former Stratosphere owner Carl Icahn, who recently became majority shareholder of Tropicana Entertainment. Icahn was 22nd with $10.5 billion in net worth. 

New York billionaire Donald Trump, who owns the Trump International Las Vegas and 30 percent of the company that controls three Atlantic City casinos, was 158th on the list with $2 billion in net worth. 

Other Las Vegans include Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin, No. 193 with $1.85 billion, and Silverton owner Ed Roski Jr., No. 236 with $1.5 billion, rounded out the list of gaming executives. 

Hilton Hotels scion Barron Hilton, who earned $800 million when the company was sold to Blackstone in 2007 and $300 million from the sale of Harrah’s Entertainment in 2008, is tied with Wynn for 141st on the list with $2.3 billion. 

Curiously, Las Vegas partier and socialite extraordinaire Paris Hilton, and even her pet monkey were left off the list. 

The only other Nevadan listed on the Forbes 400 is Henderson resident Nancy Walton Laurie, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. She was listed in 118th place with $2.6 billion. 

Three members of Mars family, whose family’s company owns the Las Vegas-based Ethel M Chocolate family, tied for 19th place on the list, each with $11 million in net worth. 

Now, a brief moment of silence for all the Las Vegas  billionaires who have lived gold-gilded lives and lost but a smidgeon of their fortunes– and for the majority masses who can’t even count to a billion, or even write it.

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Las Vegas Ranks Last in Forbes Magazine List for Working Mothers

If you’re a working mom, there are at least 49 better cities to live in than Las Vegas, according to Forbes magazine. The publication ranked Las Vegas at the bottom of the list for working mothers. workingmoms

The list is based on a recent evaluation of the 50 largest U.S. metro areas in such categories as earnings, unemployment, cost of living, violent and property crimes, health care, per-capita school expenditure per pupil, the number of day care facilities and preschools, and park acreage.  

Las Vegas also achieved near cellar dweller status in many contributing categories, including ranking 43rd in employment, 49th in pediatricians, 46th in school quality, 47th in violent crimes.   Other categories didn’t fair much better, mostly in the mid-30s ranking.  The only bright spot of sorts, surpisingly, was a 14th ranking in health care.  

“There are numerous considerations for what working moms want in their choice of a city,” ForbesWoman writer Heidi Brown, who edited the list, said in a statement. “We based our rankings on the premise that different mothers have different needs. Beyond good health care and safety, mothers who work want a city which offers plentiful jobs, high salaries and abundant day care options.”  

The New York metro area took first place on the list, followed by Austin, Texas; Minneapolis/St. Paul; and Milwaukee.

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Las Vegas Takes One Step Closer to Hollywood, Planning Video Manufacturing Plant

Before you get the impression that Las Vegas businesses are closing down and moving out enmasse because of our sour economy, please reconsider.  Apparently, some businesses considering a move to Las Vegas are not giving up JimJannard2on the desert ship just yet.  Case in point is Red Digital Cinema, the manufacturer of the highly touted, leading cutting edge technology red camera, whose high-tech movie production equipment has been used to shoot “Angels and Demons” and many other movies.

Red Digital founder and CEO Jim Jannard has been talking to the Clark County Commission and apparently they are all ears about his plan to manufacture his cameras at an 80-acre site in the far southwest valley of Las Vegas, and to build aJimJannard sound studio there as well, along with homes for himself and others like him who work in the movie industry.   In fact, the commission has already recently voted approval of some zoning changes for the project, clearing the initial building hurdle. 

The Nevada Development Authority, which works to attract businesses to Southern Nevada, helped Jannard to find the 80 acres and is assisting Red Digital Cinema in completing the paperwork required by local governments. 

A member of Red Digital Cinema’s board of directors told the commission a week ago that the business complex, when completed, will employ from 1,000 to 2,000 people. 

Those words are more than mere hope and boastful bravado.  Jannard  has a long history of success.  In 1975 he found Oakley Inc., the company famous for its sunglasses and eyewear.  Forbes magazine last year estimated Jannard has about $3 billon in assets.

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Las Vegas is Best at Being on the Bottom?

Everybody likes being Numero Uno.  And Las Vegas is no exception.  For example, just last month, Nightclub & Bar losermagazine voted Sin City the top place honor for having the best pubs to get sloshed…er, sorry, no it was officially for having the “largest-volume of independent nightclubs, bars, and lounges in the United States,”  reeling in almost 25 percent of the Top 100 spots.  

And, with death-defying temperatures the norm, Las Vegas always rank high on lists for the number of sunny days in a year.

Being declared top dawgee is all well and good, but where is the real diversity in that?  How can you really differentiate yourself from the pack when all you can boast is just a squeaky clean image?  Just ask Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, or Lindsay Lohan.  (Did Lohan ever find her missing car at Planet Hollywood?  That’s the stuff that needs to make the major news headlines, not the incessant and boring economy stuff, right?)

No, apparently where Las Vegas shines brightest in our choking desert sun is being reigning cellar dwellers and bestowed multiple honors for being the worst.

Last month Forbes magazine stepped out on a sturdy limb and declared Las Vegas as “America’s Emptiest City.”  (Vegas did so good, they even body-slammed Detroit!)   Not content with just bestowing a singular honor, the kind folks at Forbes then ranked our North Las Vegas and Henderson burbs among America’s 10 most boring cities.

And before decrying unfair discrimination by a single publisher, Men’s Fitness magazine also jumped into the act and ranked Las Vegas as the fattest city in America.   Then Business Week entered the melee and declared that Las Vegas ranked No. 7 among the unhappiest cities in the nation.  But, even then, there was a crimson lining:   Las Vegas was ranked No. 1 in suicide, No. 6 in divorce, and, for the hat trick, No. 9 in crime.

In a recent Las Vegas Sun analysis, Las Vegas was ranked as the No. 1 consumers per capita for hydrocodone (a.k.a. Vicodin and Lortab), and even earned a respectable fourth place for methadone, oxycodone and morphine consumption per capita.

In term of Las Vegas urban sustainability – a city’s ability to maintain a healthy living environment – the City of Entertainment is rapidly closing in on last place, falling from No. 27 to No. 47 among the nation’s 50 largest cities.

Las Vegas is rock-bottom – 54th, behind even Guam – in collecting child support payments.

So, can all this be attributed to merely bad statistics? Or is it a case of media sensationalism and just the desire for improving ratings?  And if these awards are well earned, would it really be that bad?  Think about it.  Perhaps Las Vegas needs a break from all of the historic nation-leading city growth year after year.  You know, a time to catch-up…chase away money-hungry California investors looking for a housing deal, and, in the process, give Las Vegas time to bolster its multiple sagging infrastructures.   Maybe the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority and R& R partners could invent some new catchy slogans for the rebirth celebrations?

Regardless, having our nation’s ‘bad boy’ extreme persona is still providing Las Vegas an alluring fatal attraction:  A national study released in January said Las Vegas ranks among the top 20 major U.S. cities in which Americans would like to live.  

Las Vegas is ranked No. 20, but who’s complaining?

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James Packer, Crown Casino Scraps Cannery Casino Resorts Deal

Australian billionaire James Packer, 41, has scrapped his plans, at least for now, for a $1.75 billion takeover of Cannery Casino Resorts LLC.  Had the deal gone through, Packer would have obtained three Nevada casinos. 

Packer’s Crown Casino enterprise, Australia’s biggest, rose 13.5 percent on the news- an especially good sign as the Australian media has been especially hard on Packer as of late. jamespacker

Packer’s fortune shrank to half this past year according to Forbes Magazine and Crown has lost 56 percent of its value.

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