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Bill Walters stays in news with Desert Pines sale


It looks like sports betting and golf magnate Bill Walters has scored another sand save, this time at Desert Pines Golf Course.

Walters recently sold Desert Pines to a Texas company with big investment plans in the property, according to an announcement by The Walters Group. The buyer of record is Dallas-based ARCIS Equity Partners. The official transfer of ownership came Aug. 1. The course will be run on a daily basis by Eagle Golf Management.

The Walters Group still owns Bali Hai Golf Club and Royal Links Golf Club. In a statement, Walters said the company will continue to honor its Vegas Preferred customers at its two remaining local courses.

The sale is intriguing, if only for the fact that Walters’ name has surfaced in connection with more than one ongoing federal probe in recent years.

Walters made news earlier this year when The Wall Street Journal first reported he was being looked at along with billionaire Carl Icahn and PGA veteran Phil Mickelson by the FBI in connection with an insider trading investigation stemming from a 2011 sale of shares in Clorox.

Before that a Walters employee was investigated by the IRS and state gaming authorities in a case focused on possible violations of the federal tax code and Nevada’s “messenger betting” law. Walters was not charged in that inquiry.

ALS CHALLENGE: The ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge continues to break in the national media as it spreads awareness of the need for increased research into the causes and potential cures of Lou Gehrig’s disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder.

It also brings to mind several friends who lost their battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. From former utility company executive Steve Rigazio to the prolific author and historian Hal Rothman, businessman and education supporter Bob Forbuss and mob-busting former Metro Commander Kent Clifford, the list is long.

For more information about the disease, go to alsa.org or alsofnevada.org.

BENNY’S BRILLIANCE: The recent publication of Doug J. Swanson’s “Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker” is getting locals talking about the Las Vegas of not so long ago. It was a town in which Binion played a mythic and at times notorious role.

But as Binion himself once observed, separating fact from fancy has never been a simple matter. “This town is lousy with rumors,” Binion said. “You can’t believe anything you hear.”

WILDCATS GATHER: Longtime Las Vegans still smile when they recall the remarkable energy the late businessman and UNLV booster Bill “Wildcat” Morris. The man was a dynamo and had few rivals when it came to promoting the university sports teams he loved.

But Morris also was instrumental in keeping the flame going at Las Vegas High, where he graduated with a group of future Las Vegas movers and shakers. Morris, who died in 1998, helped create the school’s alumni association, which continues its annual fundraising to create scholarships for the latest crop of graduates.

It’s the kind of giving local alumni groups ought to emulate.

This year, the Wildcats group hopes to offer another $10,000 in scholarships after its fundraiser, set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 at the Orleans. For more information, contact Patty Haack at 702 876-6660.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Paradise lost? More tales of disgruntled customers from the shuttered Club Paradise topless cabaret. The popular stripper spot is the subject of a Metro investigation into credit card fraud. With so many complaints surfacing, it’s getting harder to imagine management was unaware of the suspected sleight-of-hand.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.