Tag Archives: Sheldon Adelson

Las Vegans Give Cold Shoulder to 66-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur

A fossilized dinosaur is still looking for a posh, retro burial home after bidders failed to meet the minimum sales price this Saturday at a Las Vegas auction. dinosaur

Not surprising.  

What the hell do you do, after all, with a 66-million-year-old, 40-foot-long, 7.5 ton dinosaur?  Serving up as freeze dried meals you say?  It’s really not an option, even if the delicacy was once the well known lumbering beast of all beasts, a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Samson.  Wall hanging?  Well, there’s gauche, then there is masse sickening.  Besides, how many of you honor and hang your dead relatives on your wall?  (We’re really not interested in your answer.) 

The 170 fossilized bones of  the T-Rex found on a South Dakota ranch in 1992, only garnered a top bid of $3.7 million (we don’t want to know about those sicko bidders either), falling way below the minimum target price of $6 million set by auction house Bonhams & Butterfield at the Venetitian auction in Las Vegas. 

To put this in perspective,  loveable “Sue,” a fully preserved female T-rex, sold for a whopping $8.36 million at a 1997 auction.  Cheapen the legacy of her death?  I don’t think so.

But Samson, which is a little less well preserved than Sue, was one of 17 dinosaur and fossil items which failed to sell Saturday, perhaps a sign of our depressed economy. 

Officials from the auction house Bonhams & Butterfields did attempt to put a positive face on the auction that netted more than $1.7 million dollars, selling 25 other dinosaur and fossil lots. 

A pair of a less-known species of dinosaurs related to the triceratops, sold for $440,000 dollars — below the $500,000 estimate noted in the prospectus but, according to Bonhams & Butterfields, a world auction record nevertheless for such an item. 

They were  bought by Larry Lawson of Big Lake, Alaska, who spent about $1 million dollars in all. The 44-year-old oncologist said the items will adorn his home and offices and be available for schools to visit. 

Some items, however, did top their auction estimates, including several of those bought by Las Vegas Sands Inc. chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam Adelson. 

They dolled out $5,185 on an ancient cave bear skull found in Romania that was expected to only net $4,000.  They also chipped in $67,100 dollars for a colorful squid-like ammonite specimen found in southern Alberta, Canada that was expected to fetch at most $45,000 dollars. 

The Adelsons, whose Venetian Resort-Casino in Las Vegas hosted the auction and displayed the items as a tourist attraction for five weeks prior to the auction, reportedly spent more than $142,000 dollars at the auction. 

The rich old couple – probably with more money than time on their hands – coyly said they plan to display some of their purchases at the private high school they fund in Las Vegas and, yes, their home as well. 

OK, let’s be nice now and not cast any dispersions on the Adelsons and their tastes in haute giving and fine decorating. 

[If you want to read more on the auction, please read the Aug. 30 article by Las Vegas Backstage Access.]

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Business Ala Vegas Style

Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sand Corporation, and arguably one of the world’s richest, albeit sheldonadelsoncontroversial, people recently commented in Newsweek on the possibility of Las Vegas reinventing itself amid the intense current economic pressures: 

“Las Vegas is a city of entertainment, and that’s what it is.  Everyone wants to diversify.  Clinics are coming to Las Vegas, and a lot of people want to change it into a medical-research city.  God bless them,  I hope it happens.  But when we have a generic synonymity with entertainment, how can we say we’re an academic breeding ground for scientists?  Not in my lifetime, and not in my children’s lifetime.”

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized