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Director of XS, Tryst nightclubs jumps to $4B project

Australian billionaire James Packer has scored another coup against Las Vegas gaming kingpin Steve Wynn.

Jesse Waits, who has been running Wynn’s XS and Tryst nightclubs, has resigned, the Review-Journal learned, to join Packer’s $4 billion, 1,100-room Alon hotel casino being built just west of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore.

Waits joins former top Wynn execs Andrew Pascal and Rob Oseland. Asked to confirm the rumor, Michael Weaver, senior vice president of Wynn marketing, emailed the following statement:

“Jesse Waits, formerly the managing partner and director of XS and Tryst Nightclub, has left the company. Both XS and Tryst will continue under the current Wynn management teams, who have made the clubs extraordinarily successful. There will be no additional changes in our nightclub operations or programming.”

Waits and his twin brother, Cy, replaced Victor Drai when the latter left to operate Drai’s Beach Club atop The Cromwell, then Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon.

The Waits’ brothers were Drai’s top lieutenants for years.

When XS opened six years ago, it became the most profitable nightclub in the U.S., ringing up $70 million in sales.

It has been ranked as the No. 1 grossing U.S. nightclub in five of the last six years by Nightclub & Bar’s Top 100.

Pascal, former president of Wynn and Encore, is founder, CEO and co-chairman of Alon Leisure, the parent company, and Alon Las Vegas, the property being built on the New Frontier site.

Oseland, who was COO at Wynn before serving briefly as president of SLS Las Vegas, is COO of Alon Las Vegas. Packer is co-chairman of Alon Leisure and Alon Las Vegas.

Pascal is Elaine Wynn’s nephew. She was ousted from Wynn Resorts when the company accused her of several conflicts of interest, including her participation in company discussions about the potential purchase of the vacant 35-acre New Frontier site, which was later acquired by the group that included Pascal.


It was a musical moment that would have brought a rare smile to Ralph Lamb’s pursed lips.

Halfway through a celebration of life service honoring the legendary sheriff on Friday, his grand nephew Tommy Lamb went to the pulpit to sing “That Lucky Old Sun” at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Summerlin.

Steve Wynn, seated on the dais as one of speakers, smiled when he recognized the song and sang along.

The song was such a hit in 1949, when Frankie Laine took it to No. 1, that Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra quickly recorded it.

Tommy Lamb said his father, Darwin Lamb, recorded the song on an album decades ago.

“I know Ralph listened to it frequently, if not everyday. It was a song that meant something to both as they were the last members of the family.”

Darwin Lamb, the last of the 11 Lamb siblings, was in attendance. He is 83. Ralph Lamb died July 3. He was 88.

Actor Dennis Quaid, who played Ralph Lamb in the CBS drama “Vegas,” called a family representative on Saturday to pass along his condolences.

Quaid visited the famed lawman on New Year’s Day 2013.

“Dennis loved Ralph but I didn’t know much,” said Alda Lanzone, who spent the last four years as Lamb’s personal assistant and caretaker.

“He was on a tight schedule but he kept saying, ‘I don’t want to leave.’ He told Ralph three times, ‘I love you.’ ”

The pallbearers were Cliff and Clint Lamb, Steve Scholl, Bub Bowen, Kevin Buckley and Derrick Turley. Honorary pallbearers: Nick Behnen, former Sen. Richard Bryan, Angel Crosthwaite, George Knapp, Darwin Lamb, John Moran Jr., Billy Parker, Gene Perry, Sen. Harry Reid, R-J columnist John L. Smith, rodeo announcer Bob Tallman, Joey Trujillo and Morey Yeager.


There’s a job opening among the cast of Steve Wynn’s “Showstoppers.” Wanted: a replacement female vocalist. Start date: September. Weekly salary range: $4,500 to $5,500.


At Encore Beach Club (Wynn): Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar on Saturday; Christen Press, a member of the U.S. women’s world champion soccer team, with a group of 13 celebrating her sister’s bachelorette party in a bungalow on Friday. Also there: James Harden of the Houston Rockets, with teammate Trevor Ariza and six others on Friday. … Actor John Malkovich, back to see Bob Anderson’s “Frank: The Man, The Music,” for a second night in a row on Saturday before heading for the Italian American Club for dinner. They met years ago through Anderson’s producer/director Steven Eiche, who was managing director at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago when Malkovich joined the famed theater. Anderson and Malkovich were hanging out at the Luxe Café at Palazzo after Friday’s show. … Chicago Bulls star Derek Rose and Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets, making it rain with $10,000 in $1 bills while ordering Moet & Chandon champagne and Hennessy Cognac. … UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste, with her mother at Andiamo Italian Steakhouse at the D Las Vegas.


“Comic-Con has officially banned selfie sticks and e-cigarettes, which is too bad. Because now when I see someone smoking an e-cigarette, I have nothing to beat them with.” — Conan O-Brien

Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more at normclarke.com. Follow @Norm_Clarke on Twitter. See him on KTNV-Channel 13’s “Morning Blend” on Thursdays.

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