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John L. Smith On Goodman And LVCVA, And A Small Parking Issue

Oscar Goodman poses for photos with two showgirls before kicking off a car show at the Fremont Street Experience, Friday, May 17, 2013, in Las Vegas.
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Oscar Goodman poses for photos with two showgirls before kicking off a car show at the Fremont Street Experience, Friday, May 17, 2013, in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Legends group is a collection of longtime locals who meet a couple times a year at the Omelet House on West Charleston Boulevard to talk about old times.

John L. Smith says it’s pretty lighthearted and entertaining.

Last week, the light tone changed considerably when former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman’s turn came to speak.

Goodman serves as something of a paid mascot for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. He was criticized for using LVCVA security personnel to shuttle him to and from events. Many of his appearances include showgirls and the former mayor imbibing Bombay gin out of an enormous martini glass.

It’s all part of the schtick, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal - in an investigative report - took great umbrage with the mayor’s use of LVCVA personnel and even his on-the-job drinking.

"In the wake of the RJ report, Goodman stood up and said, 'I'm normally known as the guy who is the happiest mayor. I'm in a good mood most days,' but then he went off not just on the RJ - kind of calling out the newspaper - but he also went off on the RJ's owner in substance and that's Sheldon Adelson."

Smith said Goodman called the newspaper's owner a misanthrope, who didn't have the community's interest at heart. But Smith pointed out, Goodman "does not have a history of loving the RJ."

Billy Walters Raiders Gambit

On-the-job drinking is not what the Justice Department is interested in with Billy Walters. But the famous gambler and bon vivant is still in trouble with the Feds, even after a six-year sentence for insider trading.

The issue this time is Walters' Bali Hai golf course - which is located across I-15 from the proposed Raiders stadium. Clark County and the Raiders are looking at the course to possibly provide some 12,500 parking spaces for the Raiders - which came about 20,000 parking spaces short at the actual stadium site.

What interests the Justice Department is that Walters was able to develop the golf course by using county land and paying nothing in rent.

"When you see he's paid nothing, it's embarrassing to the county. It's embarrassing to the community," said Smith "If the playing field is level, you don't pay zero rent."

The lease was rewritten in 2011 so that Walters paid some rent. But, said Smith, two commissioners, including Chris Giunchigliani, wanted the terms to be tougher.

Smith says Walters may end up owing the County about $75 million.

You can read more in Smith's Nevada Independent column, which came out Sunday.


John L. Smith, contributor

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Carrie Kaufman no longer works for KNPR News. She left in April 2018)