The husband-wife team hired to stock the Las Vegas Mob Museum with artifacts discovered a treasure trove that Mayor Oscar Goodman had squirreled away.
About 30 items from Goodman's days as a prominent mob attorney were removed from a storage unit last July for consideration, said Kathy Barrie, the museum's curator and content developer.
The biggest prize in Goodman's stash?
"I think it would have to be the lucky briefcase," Barrie said Tuesday after the first media tour of the museum.
The mayor, who was one of the tour participants, filled me in on the details.
"We called it the 'gelt' briefcase. That's Jewish for green," he said, "because it would be empty when I left Las Vegas, and when I came home, it was full of green," as in greenbacks.
"You were a courier?" I asked.
"A carrier," the mayor corrected me. "Fees," he said.
I'm still not sure if he was putting me on.
"If only it could talk," Goodman added. "It would tell the greatest stories ever told."
The lucky briefcase will be among the museum pieces, said Barrie, who with husband Dennis helped create the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., among others.
Also under consideration, she said, will be some documents and letters on loan from Goodman. The Barries have feelers out for Moe Dalitz items as well. The mobbed-up Dalitz was one of the most colorful Las Vegas casino operators.
Around 300 to 500 items will be in the Mob Museum, which is about 30 percent completed and is scheduled to open late next spring or early summer.
The museum's novelty store will have mug-shot coffee mugs, souvenir neckties, and "we're hoping to have concrete shoes," Kathy Barrie said.
I asked Goodman if his rust-colored necktie was from his mob attorney days.
"I have no mob ties," he said.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Celine Dion says she's too superstitious to go into details about the status of her pregnancy efforts. During a telephone interview Tuesday with TV talk show host Wendy Williams, Dion said, "We are crossing our fingers, hoping for the best." Her fertility doctors believed that the IVF procedure in August was successful, but they learned a few days later that it wasn't. An attempt in October also failed. Plans call for Dion to return to Caesars Palace early next year. ...
Caesars headliner Cher canceled her show last Saturday, citing leg pains related to her birthday celebration. The cancellation came minutes before showtime. She was back on stage Sunday. ...
Joe Brown, one of the most talented writers to work this city's entertainment beat, is moving on. Hired by the Las Vegas Sun two years ago, Brown confirmed Tuesday in an e-mail that he has left his writing job at the Las Vegas Weekly and Greenspun Media: "Heading for points unknown. This kind of thing felt more exciting when I was younger."
THE PUNCH LINE
"The oil spill is so bad that yesterday I checked the oil in my car and it had seawater in it." -- Jay Leno