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Wynn warned of Atlantic City ‘obsolescence’ well in advance


To hear casino billionaire Steve Wynn tell it, New Jersey officials wouldn’t listen to him when he warned them that Atlantic City’s prosperous days were numbered.

Wynn sold his casino interest in Atlantic City a couple decades ago.

In an interview with the Hoover Institution’s Peter Robinson aired on The Wall Street Journal’s website, Wynn recalled: “And I kept saying to governors of New Jersey: ‘You must take control of the central planning of this community if it’s to save itself. Right now you’re the monopoly on the East Coast. That will end someday. And the infrastructure of this city has to be so big, that it’s like Las Vegas. Las Vegas is surviving in spite of everything because the infrastructure here is so big. The menu for guests is so great. Atlantic City can’t just be a local crap game. It’s gotta be a destination city.’ ”

Instead, it became a dump.

He added, “But for that, the government had to take over — the New Jersey state government, not the local Atlantic City government, which was pathetic. Well they wouldn’t. And they didn’t. And I came at one point of the view that Atlantic City was never going to take advantage of its opportunity and would eventually face obsolescence, which I’m afraid is true today.”

PARADISE LOST: Metro insiders are starting to buzz about what they’re calling the odd timing of the search warrant at the Club Paradise topless cabaret in connection with a credit card fraud investigation.

The case appears to involve at least two dancers and a half-dozen alleged victims of overbilling. Defense counsel for Club Paradise said the investigation does not involve the club’s owner, Sam Cecola.

But what has police veterans scratching their heads is how managers of the club decided to resign several days before the search warrant was served seeking the club’s billing and accounting information. The club’s bookkeeper, I’m told, perhaps coincidentally picked that time to go on vacation.

Was there a leak from high in the department?

Still others close to the investigation are wondering why detectives didn’t simply copy the hard drives of the club’s computers instead of confiscating the accounting systems that crippled the cabaret’s operation.

GARNER MEMORIES: Maverick made an impression on plumbers and even folks he never met.

Following a recent column praising the late actor James Garner’s role as an honorable gambler in the classic “Maverick” television series, I received a large volume of calls and letters from readers who were fans of the man.

When Sandy Valley resident Dick Clark was working in Southern California as a plumber in the early 1960s, he received a call for service at Garner’s Los Angeles home. The call came with a request: The plumber had to have already had the mumps. Garner was feeling sick and isolated.

“On arriving he insisted I have a cup of coffee and chat with him for a few minutes as he had not had a visitor for a few days,” Clark recalls. “He turned out to be a very nice person.”

Longtime Northern Nevada columnist Andrew Barbano surprised himself by feeling a sense of loss when Garner died. But who didn’t admire many of the wisecracking characters the actor played during his long carer?

“I’m supposed to be too old and grouchy for such emotion, but I actually retain a feeling of personal loss about the death of the man,” he writes. “Some things, you want to last forever. Sure, the TV shows and movies will last unto perpetuity, but knowing that the nice guy who brought them to life was still around was somehow comforting, perhaps in anticipation that there was more to come.”

MR. ROGERS: The Nevada Broadcasters Association is dedicating its 19th annual Hall of Fame Scholarship Gala to honoring the late television station owner and education advocate Jim Rogers. The event is Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Four Seasons.

In keeping with Rogers’ passion for education, the association is now offering a Jim and Beverly Rogers Scholarship.

For more information on the event: 702-794-4994.

ALL ABOARD! If you’ve ever dreamed of being a train conductor, here’s your chance to fulfill a fantasy and help a worthy charity.

Opportunity Village is accepting applications for volunteer conductors for its popular train ride during its upcoming HallOVeen and Magical Forest fundraising programs.

The train rides are more popular than the Strip monorail, and proceeds go to a worthy cause. For more information, contact Jan Bjorklund at 702-880-4038.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Undersheriff Jim Dixon is said to be retiring and leaving for an executive position, vice president of security, at The Venetian and Palazzo. A veteran of nearly 30 years with the department, Dixon is a three-time Medal of Valor winner.

BOULEVARD II: Is there a bigger Beatles fan in Las Vegas than radio host Dennis Mitchell? His “Breakfast With the Beatles” program airs at 7 a.m. on Saturday on KOOL-FM, 102.3. And now he scribbles on a Facebook titled, “Las Vegas Beatles Fans.” That’s devotion.

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295.