The former billionaire married to “The Queen of Versailles” is betting he can rebuild his fortune with a $170 million gamble in Las Vegas.
Known as the king of time share developments, David Siegel, 79, has reportedly purchased the LVH, formerly the Las Vegas Hilton, and plans to convert it into one of the largest time share properties in the country.
Siegel and his wife, Jackie, became infamous in the documentary, “The Queen of Versailles,” which last year aired on Bravo. It chronicled Siegel’s rise and fall as he set out to build the largest mansion in the nation near Orlando.
Construction on the 90,000-square-foot building was put on hold for four years when the recession took its toll on Siegel, who joked that it was a “riches-to-rags story.” The Siegels resumed building the 30-room mansion last fall.
The founder of Florida-based Westgate Resorts was among those hard hit by the recession in Las Vegas. He lost big when he had to sell his 1,200-unit PH Towers Westgate at Planet Hollywood.
Siegel’s political bent returned him to the headlines in 2012 when he emailed his 8,000 employees, suggesting they would be fired if President Barack Obama was re-elected.
Siegel, who is reportedly closing on the LVH deal in 30 days, is pinning his comeback hopes on plans by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to put $2 billion into expanding the convention center.
The history of Siegel’s new time share project dates to 1969, when Kirk Kerkorian built The International, the site of Elvis Presley’s comeback. It later became the Hilton. The property has almost 3,000 hotel rooms and 300 suites. A source close to Siegel said he paid about $170 million for the LVH.
Clint Holmes found a pleasant surprise in the entertainment section of Wednesday’s R-J.
A large photo of his friend actor Christopher Jackson dominated the page. Jackson, 29, has been cast as rapper Tupac Shakur in the new Broadway show “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” which opened Thursday.
Jackson played Holmes in the latter’s musical autobiography “Comfortable Shoes,” which opened at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre Center.
Holmes couldn’t play himself because he was headlining at Harrah’s at the time. Jackson flew to Las Vegas to meet Holmes and take scat lessons from him.
“Great kid,” said Holmes.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Comedian Steve Rossi was moved to a hospice Wednesday after a stay at University Medical Center. Rossi, who celebrated his 82nd birthday May 25, was recently diagnosed with cancer, according to his publicist. He and Marty Allen teamed up as legendary duo Allen and Rossi.
Nearly two dozen members of the Los Angeles Kings, celebrating with the Stanley Cup late Thursday at Crush restaurant (MGM Grand). They had plans to continue the party at Beacher’s Madhouse. The Kings will loosen their grip on the Stanley Cup long enough for it to go on display in the MGM Grand lobby from 6-7 p.m. today with the league’s other trophies, which go on display at 1 p.m. The other trophies will remain in the lobby through the weekend before moving to Wynn Las Vegas for Tuesday’s NHL Awards finale. … A contingent from Girls Rock Vegas, a nonprofit music camp for age 7 to 17, taking in “Million Dollar Quartet” (Harrah’s) on Thursday. “Quartet” star Felice Garcia is a volunteer for the camp.
THE PUNCH LINE
“Kourtney Kardashian is reportedly pregnant. Just this morning I was thinking to myself, ‘There just aren’t enough Kardashians.’ ” — Craig Ferguson
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at email@example.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.