County cites two men over work at hotels


The two individuals named in 18 misdemeanor citations for problematic remodeling at the Rio and Harrah's Las Vegas hotels have been identified. But prosecution of charges connected to the remodeling is not a certainty.

The name of Robert John Bruna, the chief engineer at Harrah's on the Strip, appears on 13 citations issued Friday for building, plumbing, mechanical or electrical work done without permits.

"Due to the extensive work performed in Harrah's North Carnival Tower, the occupancy is revoked for the 14-19 and 29-35 floors," read the language on one citation, referring to rooms that already were pulled from service and have been kept unoccupied.

"No comment," was Bruna's response when reached on his cell phone early Tuesday evening.

David A. Matthews is named in four citations issued for work done without permits at the Rio, but he is described as "owner/contractor."

Harrah's Entertainment did not respond before the newspaper's deadline to requests for information about the citations, including Matthews' specific job.

Matthews is named also in a single citation issued for work done without permits at a warehouse, 3665 W. Twain Ave., which was occupied by a subsidiary company, Roman Empire Development, until Harrah's Entertainment shut down the subsidiary Dec. 12.

The remodeling citations are criminal in nature, contained on a form that can be used by Las Vegas police for traffic citations.

The county removed the men's Social Security numbers but not their weight, height or hair and eye color before making public the citations, which were issued by the county's building division.

The fire department also is preparing citations in connection with the same remodeling projects, according to a Dec. 13 county statement.

The building division chose the two men because they are "representatives that would be familiar with the construction work at the hotels," county spokesman Stacey Welling said Tuesday.

The district attorney's office is "reviewing the citations and reports they received, for possible criminal prosecution," she added.

The citations came out the week before Harrah's Entertainment's appearance, scheduled for Thursday, before the Nevada Gaming Commission.

The body will consider final approval of the $17.1 billion buyout of Harrah's Entertainment by a private-equity partnership of Texas Pacific Group and Apollo Management.

State gaming regulators have said suitability of the buyout is a separate issue from the renovation problems at several local hotels.

Gary Loveman, chief executive officer and president of Harrah's Entertainment, wrote in a Dec. 12 e-mail to all employees that the improper renovations at the Rio, Harrah's Las Vegas and Flamingo Las Vegas "have been the most disturbing issues I have faced in my five years as CEO. I am troubled that in Las Vegas, they may have jeopardized our most precious asset: the confidence and trust of our guests and employees."

Areas specified in the Harrah's citations include the 35th floor of the South Carnival Tower; floors 19-23 of the North Mardi Gras Tower; odd-numbered rooms on floors 30-34 of the North Carnival Tower; floors four through 19 of the North Carnival Tower; third-floor offices; second-floor offices for human resources; a second-floor surveillance area; space for training and sewing on the second floor; a piano bar on the casino level; basement offices for risk management and security; and a basement pump room.

Inspector Rodney Mahaffey signed the batch of Harrah's documents.

Specific areas mentioned in the Rio citations are honeymoon suites in the Masquerade Tower and Carioca suites in the Ipanema Tower; all suites on the 19th floor of the Ipanema; and a portion of floors 3-18 in the Ipanema Tower.

Inspector Michael Bracy signed the Rio batch and the citation involving Roman Empire's warehouse.

Contact reporter Joan Whitely at jwhitely@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0268.

 

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