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Casino magnate Allen Glick, featured in ‘Casino,’ dies at 79

Updated August 5, 2021 - 11:35 pm

The man whose company controlled the Stardust, Hacienda, Fremont and Marina hotel-casinos at the height of the mob era in Vegas has died.

Allen R. Glick, owner and founder of Argent Corporation, passed away Monday at his home in La Jolla, Calif., following a lengthy battle with cancer. Glick bought the Hacienda in 1974 and followed with the purchase of Recrion Corporation, which owned Stardust and Fremont.

Glick’s purchase was financed by a $63 million loan from the Teamsters Pension Fund. The Argent (named such for Glick’s ARG initials) thus became one of the largest casino operators in the state.

Glick then hired Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal to manage the company, a period chronicled in Martin Scorsese’s 1996 Vegas mob movie, “Casino.”

In that film, Kevin Pollack portrayed Phillip Green, based on Glick, who was suspected of being a front for the mob’s casino activities. Several million was estimated to have been skimmed from Vegas casinos in those days and sent to crime officials in Kansas City, Chicago and Milwaukee.

Though Glick’s company was forced from the casino business by the end of the 1970s, he was never charged with a crime and denied any wrongdoing. He became a cooperating witness, protected from prosecution in a criminal case in 1983 against 15 men charged in the skimming operation.

A Vietnam War veteran, Glick earned the Bronze Star, three Combat Air Medals and the Vietnamese Medal of Honor before being honorably discharged in 1969.

Glick was known as “Genius” by FBI agents who had him under surveillance as they tracked organized crime figures. He had testified in 1985 that his life was threatened in the late 1970s by reputed Kansas City mob official Carl DeLuna during a meeting in then-attorney Oscar Goodman’s office in Las Vegas.

″I entered Goodman’s office and DeLuna, in a gruff voice, using graphic terms, told me to sit down,″ Glick said in an Associated Press report. ″He said he was sent there to deliver one last, final message to me from his partners. He stated that he and his partners were finally sick of having to deal with me and having me around.″

Glick continued, “He informed me that it was their desire for me to sell Argent Corporation immediately and I was to announce the sale as soon as I left the office.”

If Glick did not announce the sale, DeLuna promised “one-by-one, would have each of my sons murdered.″

Glick wound up selling his Vegas properties in 1980. At his peak, only Howard Hughes had more hotel-casino holdings than Glick.

Goodman, who represented Glick and Rosenthal, said Thursday of Glick: “He was right in the middle of a time that will never be replicated.”

‘Warrior’ premiere

A film to watch for, “Warrior Spirit,” debuts at the Las Vegas Premiere Film Festival at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Galaxy Theaters at Boulevard Mall. The documentary details the UFC fighter Nicco Montaño’s jarring struggles with weight cutting in advance of her scheduled UFC 228 title fight with Valentina Shevchenko in September 2018. Montaño was rushed to the emergency room after failing to make weight.

The sequence was captured by “Warrior Spirit” filmmaker Landon Dyksterhouse, who had not anticipated the story turning in that direction. The “Warrior” crew’s access was authorized by the UFC, and company founder Dana White is featured in the final cut.

Subsequently, Montaño, the first female Native American UFC champ, was let go by the promotion after missing weight for her scheduled UFC Vegas 33 bantamweight fight with Wu Yanan on July 30. Montaño said of the episode on social media, “I’m learning that it’s only making me stronger and more resilient for what’s to come.”

And he sings …

In an adroit bit of stunt-casting, Aaron Carter is joining “Naked Boys Singing” at Erotic Heritage Museum’s Jewel Box Theater from Sept. 8-Nov. 28. The former teen recording star from the late ’90s (and younger brother of the Backstreet BoysNick Carter) has appeared in “Seussical” on Broadway, “The Fantasticks” off-Broadway, and “Dancing With The Stars” on ABC.

“Naked Boys” is an hourlong musical where, yes, the cast members are nude. The show is celebrating its 20th anniversary of its premiere in New York.

“We thought Vegas deserved a New York-quality version of the show,” says Tom D’Angora, who produces the show alongside Nick Padgett. “We needed a celeb who can sing, because the singing is no joke, and Nick said, ‘What about Aaron?’ We know he’s a good entertainer who loves to perform and make people happy.”

The show is toggling times at Jewel Box with another naked production, “Puppetry of the Penis,” running 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Carter is eager to start his Vegas residency, no wardrobe required. As he told Variety, “I think the naked body is a beautiful thing. We were all born naked.”

Confab with consequence

Ran into veteran Vegas producer Jeff Kutash and Liberace Museum chairman and CEO Jonathan Warren late Thursday at Starlight Lounge at Resorts World Las Vegas.

Kutash produced “Splash” at the Riviera from 1985-2006 (and “A Mob Story” at Plaza Showroom from September-December 2018). Among Warren’s Liberace projects are the 1913 Shulz Nickelodeon piano and portraits in the hotel’s Conrad Lobby. If you were to guess that these two are conjuring more Liberace-themed activity in VegasVille, you would be right.

Cool Hang Alert

Travis Cloer and The Top Shelf Players with Chris Lash groove it up at 7 p.m. (doors), 8 p.m. (show) Friday at the Space. It’s a new band with a classic vibe and hopefully more dates in the offing.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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