LV Air promoter arrested for violating probation

The man who gained national publicity for his announced plan to create a Las Vegas-based luxury airline has been arrested for violating probation in a California conviction.

Eneliko Sean Smith was apprehended by Las Vegas police at 9:25 a.m. Thursday at the Signature at MGM Grand towers, 145 E. Harmon Ave., according to the declaration of arrest on file with the Las Vegas Justice Court. He is being held at the Clark County Detention Center under a no-bail warrant and will face an extradition hearing Monday morning.

According to Hans Uthe, assistant district attorney in El Dorado County, Calif., Smith had waived his right to fight extradition. Within the next month or so, the county would then send a pair of deputies to pick him up and fly him back.

Smith pleaded no contest one year ago to a felony count of grand theft by embezzlement for not paying about $130,000 in room taxes for a now-failed hotel in South Lake Tahoe, where he was the managing partner. The terms of his plea deal included making restitution to the county plus reporting his whereabouts while on probation.

However, according to Uthe, he has paid nothing and traveled throughout the country without notifying his probation officer.

"He's going to be spending some time with us," Uthe said. "It's not so much about the money at this point. He needs to understand that you can't go wherever you want when you are on probation."

The length of his incarceration will be determined by a judge upon his return to California. In addition, Uthe said he will seek at least partial repayment of the back room taxes, but insist that the money not come from investors in other Smith ventures.

People who worked with Smith on the airline, which was called LV Air, said he had run up debts of more than $100,000 locally, either by not paying people or taking it from others to obtain preferred vendor status, a part of the marketing program. Uthe said his office received a tip about Smith's location from an unidentified person who said he had been burned in dealings with Smith.

Smith began forming the concept of LV Air last year, eventually embellishing it with touches such as lie-flat seats and four-course meals in the plane plus pampering on the ground. After announcing it publicly in February, his story wound up in numerous newspapers, blogs and cable TV programs.

In addition to the California warrant, Smith was arrested on Thursday for not complying with the terms of his no contest plea in connection with a driving under the influence citation he received in Las Vegas three years ago. A Las Vegas Justice Court bench warrant was issued for his arrest one year ago after he did not appear at a hearing. He had not paid the $580 fine in the case or gone to DUI school as required.

Contact reporter Tim O'Reiley at or 702-387-5290.