County inspects five Strip hotels


County inspectors were out in force Friday to take a first look at remodeling thought to have been done without permits at five more Strip hotels owned by Harrah's Entertainment.

The company has been researching all past projects at its local hotels, even work done by prior owners. During the past two weeks, Harrah's has voluntarily disclosed to the county all projects that company officials think are suspect, a Harrah's Entertainment executive said late Friday afternoon.

Bally's, Caesars Palace, the Imperial Palace, Paris Las Vegas and Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon are the latest properties to come under the magnifying glass of fire and building inspectors.

"We brought forward this information as soon as we completed the review, again, fully cooperating with the county," said Marybel Batjer, Harrah's vice president of public policy and communications.

After remodeling problems at the Rio came to light last fall, the gaming company embarked on a comprehensive review of past capital improvements to ferret out work that went without permits.

In addition to the five newly named hotels, Batjer said Harrah's has uncovered more questionable work at three hotels that already have received publicity for violations of building and safety codes: Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah's Las Vegas and the Rio.

She characterized the projects that the county now is assessing as "very dated and minor in nature, both in terms of ... cost and what was done."

Since some projects took place years before Harrah's acquired the properties, the company's internal research has taken a long time, Batjer said.

It still is possible, she said, that long-since-filed permits might turn up, which will legitimize what now is undocumented work.

Inspectors were expected by the end of Friday to have visited all the Strip properties in question to identify "any life-safety issue that might need to be addressed" immediately, county spokeswoman Stacey Welling said Friday.

It's too early to say whether any of the work done is defective, she added.

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

 

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