Literary Las Vegas: Bill Friedman

Bill Friedman tapped 47 years researching organized crime, government and police corruption to write “All Against the Law: The Criminal Activities of the Depression Era Bank Robbers, Mafia, FBI, Politicians, & Cops.” Friedman is also the author of “Designing Casinos to Dominate the Competition” and “Casino Management,” and he taught one of the earliest courses in casino management at UNLV during the ’70s. Friedman was president and general manager of the Castaways and the Silver Slipper. Now Friedman serves as president of the Friedman Management Group, which specializes in solving casino marketing, design and operation challenges in sites around the world.


They operated their establishments during the Golden Era of Strip gambling with its superstar and grand production entertainment from the late 1940s through the late 1960s. But by then these gangland owners were around 70 years old and they began retiring, selling out, or passing on. Traditional financial institutions considered Nevada’s underworld-infested casino industry to be a tainted business and refrained from investing. Civella saw the opportunity to fill this financing void by tapping into the Teamsters Pension Fund. As each Strip gambling resort went on the sale block Civella had the Pension Fund finance its purchase by people he was associated with.

Nick Civella began his new money-finder career assisting Frank Caroll who had moved from Kansas City to Las Vegas to build shopping centers. Caroll had gone busted during the early construction of the Landmark casino resort on the Strip, and Civella came to his rescue with a Teamsters Pension Fund loan for which the black-listed gangster was officially paid a finder’s fee. Later in construction Caroll sold the Landmark to tycoon Howard Hughes who opened it as one of the seven casino operations he owned in Nevada for the remainder of his life.

Three years after arranging the Landmark loan, Civella and 17 other men took a charter flight from Kansas City to Caesars Palace where Sheriff Ralph Lamb had the group arrested for vagrancy but the charges were dismissed. The Nevada gaming regulators did not want Black Book figure Civella anywhere near the state’s licensed casinos, buy they could not uncover or block his continuing behind-the -scenes influence over the Teamsters Pension Fund.

Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
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