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Support for pet shop owner charged with arson evaporates


Friends of Gloria Eun Hye Lee, the pet shop owner accused to attempting to burn down her business with 27 live caged puppies inside, are hastily distancing themselves from her and the man accused of being her accomplice.

Lee, 35, and Kirk Bills face charges of conspiring to torch her Prince and Princess Pet Boutique on Jan. 27.

Sources in the boxing community said Lee was godmother to a child of ex-welterweight champion Zab Judah. Lee reportedly has been in a relationship with Bills, a boxer for Judah’s Super Judah Productions.

Lee also befriended Luxor headliner Criss Angel, who in January 2013 offered a $5,000 reward for the recovery of four puppies stolen from her pet store at 6870 S. Rainbow Blvd. One of puppies was Angel’s teacup Yorkshire terrier.

Neither Judah nor Angel could be reached for comment.

Bills, 27, was arrested Friday in Crown Point, Ind., 50 miles south of Chicago, his hometown. Lee was put in solitary confinement, reportedly for her own protection.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Janiece Marshall on Tuesday refused to reduce Lee’s $310,000 bail.

Her next court date is a Feb. 27 preliminary hearing to determine whether she should go to trial on arson, conspiracy, burglary and attempted animal cruelty charges.

Bills faces the same charges, which could send them to prison for decades.

A friend of Lee’s called the pet owner’s arrest shocking. Lee owns several dogs and said they are like family because she doesn’t have kids.

“Something devastating must have happened in her life,” the friend said.

The dogs were saved when an automatic sprinkler system doused the flames.

FAREWELL TO VEGAS

Longtime Las Vegas gaming executive Felix Rappaport has returned to his East Coast roots to help turn around the Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Rappaport, who left MGM Resorts International in late 2012 after 21 years here, took a year off before joining Foxwoods as chief operating officer. Rappaport is teaming with Scott Butera, Foxwoods’ president and CEO, who previously ran Carl Icahn’s Las Vegas-based Tropicana Entertainment Inc.

A Philadelphia native, Rappaport ran hotels there before getting his Las Vegas start as general manager at Boulder Station in 1991. While moving up the corporate ladder, he became one of more popular senior executives in Las Vegas.

In an email, Rappaport cited his work with “legendary leaders and top executives such as Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Terry Lanni, the Fertitta family, Blake Sartini, Marc Schorr, Jim Murren, Bobby Baldwin, Bill Hornbuckle, Corey Sanders and many others.”

He said he’s excited about new challenges at Foxwoods.

“I think the property is poised to improve every facet of its operation.” He added, “I love NYC. I love Boston. Both are close by, and I hope to catch more Philadelphia Eagles’ home games as well.”

He will be missed.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Caesars Palace headliner Matt Goss released his “I Do” EP on Tuesday, timing it for Valentine’s week. Next up: his album “Life You Imagine” comes out this spring. It will include “I Do” and all the songs on the EP. It was produced by Ron Fair, who has worked with Lady Gaga, U2, among others. …

The wife of former Las Vegas headliner and “Partridge Family” star David Cassidy has filed for divorce. Sue Cassidy said she was “truly heartbroken.” They have been married for 23 years and were together for 28. His Las Vegas headliner deals included replacing Michael Crawford of “Phantom of the Opera” fame in “EFX” at MGM Grand in 1996. He created “The Rat Pack is Back” and co-starred with Sheena Easton in “At the Copa,” which had a run at the Rio. …

The Mrs. Nevada-America pageant will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Sam’s Town. Judges include Jeanette Lee, Mrs. Utah-America 2004; PR and marketing pro Jennifer Bradley; Las Vegas Woman magazine publisher Tammy Grabel; and Robey Taute, a beauty and figure technology leader. Ruth Gray won the title a year ago. …

Mirage headliner Terry Fator finished singing “Heroes,” his nightly salute to the military, when two men walked on stage on Thursday. It was retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Jones of Las Vegas and retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely of Kalispell, Mont., carrying a plaque of appreciation and a limited-edition painting of the U.S. flag. Jones said it was time Fator and his wife, Taylor Makakoa, were recognized for their years of recognizing U.S. troops and wounded warriors.

THE PUNCH LINE

“Today at the Winter Olympics, temperatures reached almost up to 60 degrees. In other words, the only thing higher than the temperature were the U.S. snowboarders.” — Conan O’Brien

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.