Wicked Whispers + Racy Rumors: MGM Resorts to buy The Cosmopolitan?

Gossip has begun anew that MGM Resorts International is looking at acquiring The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas from investment group Blackstone headquartered in New York. Deutsche Bank took over The Cosmopolitan after foreclosing on its developers in 2008, and although it represented a $4 billion investment for the German Bank, it was sold to Blackstone for only $1.74 billion in cash.

I reported this rumor two months ago, but it has resurfaced after MGM officials were spotted on a lengthy tour of the garage parking facilities there. It has been well-discussed in Las Vegas hotel circles that MGM should acquire Cosmo, as it would complete the missing puzzle piece of its CityCenter project with Aria, Vdara and Veer.

* Parking fees have become an integral part of Las Vegas hotels’ balance sheets since being instituted in December. Now less than a year since MGM Resorts became the first Strip group to abolish free parking with fee levels, the company plans to increase rates Wednesday. Expect to see an additional $2 and $7 charges, so valet is $10 for up to 4 hours and $15 for the overnight 24-hour rate.

At Bellagio, Aria and Vdara, it is up now to $20 for 4 hours and $25 for overnight valet. Self-parking fees increase, too, with the original charges now only for half the previous time and the additional $2 for charges past 2 hours. Whether or not MGM makes a bid for Cosmo remains to be seen, but parking charges start at Cosmo in May.

* Las Vegas regular entertainer Engelbert Humperdinck, recently here at The Orleans, flies home to England today for lunch with The Queen of England on Thursday after she attends the Maundy Thursday service in Leicester Cathedral. The diocese is honoring local heroes with a lunch for Queen Elizabeth II, and Engelbert was invited since he grew up in Leicester.

Engelbert, a Freeman of the city who said he met his wife under the cathedral’s clock tower 60 years ago, added: “It’s a regal touch to our Easter Weekend parade. I’m thrilled to be able to share the viewing of the Maundy Thursday service.” Eng and The Queen first met at Buckingham Palace in 2014:

“I still remember it like a fairy tale when I bowed as deeply and as respectfully as possible. I didn’t have a photograph of that then, but this time definitely.” The luncheon will be at St. Martin’s House next to the Cathedral after The Queen has handed out traditional Maundy coins marking The Last Supper on what has become the first holy day of Easter Weekend.

* The late insult comic Don Rickles, aka “Mr. Warmth” and “The Sultan of Insult” who died last week at age 90, had been scheduled to appear at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on April 21, but it was rescheduled shortly before his death to Feb. 23 because of travel routing issues with his tour schedule.

Now I’m hearing that there may be a special tribute planned with his Las Vegas pals and comedians, including Steve Lawrence and Rich Little, instead to mark the “The Merchant of Venom’s” every-year appearances here since debuting with Steve in the early 1980s.

* Lisa Marie Presley’s divorce from her husband drummer Michael Lockwood, 55, gets uglier by the minute when it comes to her finances. Although she says that she’s deeply in debt, Lisa Marie, 49, has been ordered to pay $10,000 a month for five months to her ex for his legal fees as she divorces him. His request for additional spousal support was rejected. They filed for divorce in June after more than 10 years of marriage.

Lisa Marie, who was once married to Las Vegas-based actor Nicolas Cage, is Elvis’s only child. The couple’s 8-year-old twin daughters are in the care of California child-protective services, according to documents filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles in connection with the messy divorce. Lisa Marie has claimed that her estranged husband spent more than $1 million on her credit cards that she didn’t authorize. He has denied her accusations.

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