Winning “America’s Got Talent” three years ago hasn’t been without some setback for former lounge singer Michael Grimm.
In a new book, “Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of ‘America’s Got Talent,’ ” Grimm discloses a series of struggles, including health issues with the grandparents who raised him and his little sister.
His grandmother, Laura Butters, has colon cancer, and his grandfather, Thomas, has been diagnosed with dementia, Grimm told the authors, Sean Daley and Ashley Majeski.
After winning the $1 million prize (he took the $400,000 immediate payout), Grimm bought a house for his grandparents, who had lost their Waveland, Miss., house during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
He bought himself a truck and got married.
“The rest I just gave away. I gave $10,000 to someone that was needing help. I gave $40,000 to someone who was helping me through the years.
“I figured I had it, I can give it away and get it again,” said Grimm, a semi-regular entertainer at Green Valley Ranch.
Since his big win, “playing in Vegas has not been easy,” he said.
“I booked a show right at AGT at the Flamingo, and we just couldn’t get the people on board. You want to talk about frustration — there it is.”
Grimm said that after his Flamingo engagement, he fired the entire management team that was assigned to him.
Australian mogul James Packer’s name surfaced again last week as a prospective member in a very exclusive club — billionaire casino operator in Las Vegas.
It was reported by a Las Vegas VIP host via Twitter, and quickly denied, that Packer had purchased The Cosmopolitan.
The credibility of the report remains to be seen, but there are many signs that Packer also inherited his late father’s passion for Las Vegas.
When Kerry Packer, a Las Vegas gambling legend, died in late 2005, then Bellagio boss Bobby Baldwin, now CEO of CityCenter, told me Packer “dwarfed the other guys (including noted whales the Sultan of Brunei and Adnan Khashoggi, the arms dealer). Kerry played higher, and he played for 40 years.”
After his father’s death, James Packer turned away from the family’s media empire to concentrate on gaming, under the umbrella of Crown Ltd.
He is well known locally for his investment plays with Las Vegas casino gaming properties, including a deal with Cannery Casino Resorts in 2009.
Other moves include holdings in Station Casinos, Fontainebleau Resort and a near-deal, I’m told, for the Sahara.
Packer’s rumored deal with The Cosmopolitan originated with a tweet from VIP host Joe Vargas, who started the website KingofNightclubs.com about a year ago.
The Cosmopolitan “comes with an approximate $3 billion dollar price tag,” he tweeted, and the announcement will be held up until next week.
The Cosmopolitan issued a statement saying, “Reports of the sale are false.”
Opened in December 2010 at the height of the recession, The Cosmopolitan was built at a reported cost of $3.9 billion.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
The Stirling Club, a chic hotspot at Turnberry Place before the recession hit, is going up for auction Oct. 10, according to auction.com, starting at $4 million. …
KTNV-TV has added a new entertainment magazine show. OK! TV launched this week at 7 p.m. with a lineup of five correspondents, including Las Vegas-based Mayleen Ramey. She is a former VJ for mtvU.
Nick Carter, Howie Dorough and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys, celebrating at Body English (Hard Rock Hotel) after their tour stop Saturday at Mandalay Bay.
THE PUNCH LINE
“Las Vegas is about to unveil what will be the world’s largest Ferris wheel. They are billing it as a new way to throw up on the streets of Las Vegas.” — Conan O’Brien