Harrah’s reopens 501 rooms

Harrah’s Entertainment has reached a turning point in recovering from bungled remodeling projects at two of its local hotels.

A block of 501 guest rooms at Harrah’s Las Vegas returned to active use by patrons on Friday, Harrah’s Entertainment executive Jan Jones announced the same day.

Those rooms were pulled from service due to remodeling that had been performed without permits or inspections. They are located on floors four through 19 of the hotel’s Carnivale tower. Those floors no longer need a fire watch, which is round-the-clock patrolling by personnel with two-way communication to report any fire, Marybel Batjer, another Harrah’s executive, said Saturday. The rooms were out of service for 25 days.

A smaller block of 87 rooms at the Rio also returned to service earlier last week. Those rooms were shut down for less than 25 days. At that hotel, fire watches continue on floors three through 17, plus 19, of the Ipanema tower.

“There is nothing wrong with the life safety system on those floors” on fire watch at the Rio, Batjer said Saturday. “The remodel was done on those floors without a permit. Until those floors have a proper occupancy release, there will be a fire watch.”

Jones said Friday in a written statement, “We continue to make substantial progress in addressing renovation issues.” The statement included an update on counts of hotel rooms affected by the improper remodels.

Teams of investigators and inspectors from the county building division, county fire department and representing Harrah’s Entertainment are present at the two properties to explore the extent of undocumented remodeling, determine repairs for any substandard work, and inspect new work.

In a Sept. 27 statement, the county acknowledged that Clark County Development Services, which houses the building division, was prompted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal to reopen a complaint investigation into the Rio remodel. It received the original complaint in August 2006, but did not follow up until February 2007. In a single day, a supervising building inspector then visited the Rio and submitted a four-paragraph report closing the complaint.

According to his report, the work was cosmetic only “and included new (electric) receptacles, switches, switch plates, … carpet, flooring, wall paper, new sinks with countertops, and new toilets all of which requires no permits.”

To weigh claims of significant remodeling made by Fred Frazzetta, an electrician who filed the complaint, the newspaper researched building permits and plans for the Rio. It interviewed Frazzetta and five others who had worked on the Rio remodel, rented two types of rooms in the Rio’s Ipanema tower, and sought the evaluation of a construction consultant.

Spokesmen for Harrah’s Entertainment, the world’s largest gaming company, have declined to let media photograph the exploratory or repair processes at the two hotels. Clark County is taking photos during the course of work, but will not release them until the work is over, as part of a public report detailing the steps taken, county spokesman Stacey Welling has said.

This week, the Clark County Commission is expected to review and approve a contract for a process audit of how the building division handles complaints, including the one filed by Frazzetta.

Harrah’s Entertainment will not pay any county fines for defective or undocumented remodeling, despite its corporate stature and the extent of the remodel. “Our whole focus is code compliance without being punitive,” Assistant Clark County Manager Phil Rosenquist said in early October.

But Clark County recently filed three complaints against Harrah’s Entertainment with the Nevada State Contractors Board for performing construction work without permits at the two hotels, and at a warehouse it owns at 3665 W. Twain Ave.

According to Jones’ Friday statement, 1,535 guest rooms at the Rio underwent remodeling outside the safety procedures required by law, which include submitting plans, obtaining permits and passing inspections. Of the total, 1,392 rooms underwent lesser undocumented remodeling, with permits now applied for and “minor work to be done in (the) near future.” Another 56 Rio rooms that underwent more significant remodeling now either have work under way or permit applications pending.

At Harrah’s Las Vegas, 667 guest rooms were involved in improper remodeling, according to the statement. Only 166 rooms at that property are still awaiting remediation to bring them up to code.

Frazzetta was fired from Harrah’s Las Vegas in June for, in his words, “six light bulbs.” He had the bulbs in a backpack when he was leaving after his shift. He said he had verbal permission from a supervisor to borrow them, but forgot to obtain a written “backdoor pass.” He said he wanted to compare two types of bulbs in a friend’s kitchen. He also had in his backpack an unauthorized copy of an OSHA inspection report for Caesars Palace, which is another Harrah’s property.

Frazzetta said he is choosing temporarily to stay unemployed in order to pursue what he describes as a safety campaign against Harrah’s Entertainment. Last week, he voluntarily spent six hours taking questions from lawyers with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a Los Angeles law firm hired by the management of Harrah’s Entertainment to look at internal events related to the controversial remodel projects.

According to Frazzetta, he answered questions about the remodel work, remodel supervisors and the people he believes made decisions about the remodels.

He also said he talked about his theory that certain middle managers at the Rio, Harrah’s Las Vegas and the parent company took company materials or fixtures for personal use, and used company labor for improvements at managers’ homes.

Frazzetta said the lawyers were familiar with material he had passed along to a complaint hot line for Harrah’s employees, as well as discussions he had with managers during his employment about his safety concerns.

Throughout the investigation and remediation at the two hotels, Harrah’s executives have emphasized the value the company places on guest safety.

But Frazzetta has said he is waiting for the company to publicly apologize. “I’m still looking for criminal charges.”

A recent investigation revealed that required fire caulking was missing in certain penetrations of walls or concrete floors at the Rio and Harrah’s Las Vegas. The caulking is designed to prevent smoke or fumes from traveling from a fire to new areas of a building.

Also, the county recently accepted an engineering report commissioned by Harrah’s, which verified that post-tension cables, which are imbedded in concrete to strengthen it, had been exposed or cut in several locations in the Rio tower. But engineering calculations show the slab is “still adequate to support all code required loads,” according to an Oct. 15 letter from the firm, Culp & Tanner.

“What’s the difference,” Frazzetta asked, “between someone going in with a gun to a 7-Eleven … and a company that did illegal remodel work, which they broke the law, and they left behind a public fire safety issue that could have been on the same level as the MGM Grand?” The 1980 fire claimed 87 lives.

A section of Nevada law that deals with safety in public accommodations lists a criminal misdemeanor for failing to do “reconstruction of existing hotels … in accord with pertinent state laws, rules and regulations.” Each day a violation is present constitutes a separate offense.

The Rio remodeling was finished in early 2006, according to workers interviewed. Some of the Harrah’s remodeling appears to have taken place in 2006.

Contact reporter Joan Whitely at jwhitely@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0268.

Henderson police bodycam footage of officer-involved shooting
Henderson police released body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in a grocery store parking lot at 2667 Windmill Parkway on Aug. 12, 2018. (Henderson Police Department)
Bicyclist suffers major head trauma in hit-and-run
A bicyclist was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a Thursday morning hit-and-run crash near the school formerly known as Agassi Prep. Police said the bicyclist was hit by a white SUV, which fled the scene. The injured man suffered multiple injuries including major head trauma. As of 9 a.m., Lake Mead remained closed between Martin Luther King and Revere Street while police investigate.
Las Vegas artist Dave Dave dies at 42
Dave Dave talks about his art and his life in 2016. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dave Dave, whose dad set him on fire in 1983, dies
Dave Dave, a respected Las Vegas artist who was badly scarred as a boy when his father tried to burn him to death in Southern California, died at Sunrise Hospital on July 15. He was 42. When he was 6, Dave's father tried to kill him by setting him on fire. He was given a sleeping pill and his bed at a Buena Park, California, motel was doused with kerosene. “I remembered being in a lot of pain,” Dave told the Review-Journal in 2016. “When stuff happens to you at that young of an age, you tend to block it out, but I remember the pain was excruciating.” Dave, who was born David Rothenberg, became close friends with Michael Jackson, who met him after the attack, which burned more than 90 percent of his body. “I wanted to meet him, and he wanted to meet me, and that just turned into a lifelong relationship that never ended,” Dave said. “It was amazing being friends with Michael Jackson. He was an amazing person.” Dave attended ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and collaborated with various artists around Las Vegas, eventually selling his art to private collectors. Despite his challenges, he continued to live, thrive and create. Dave Dave
Homicide detectives investigate woman's death
Las Vegas police were called to Tahiti Village Resort early Wednesday after calls that someone had been shot. Police found a woman’s body between a parking garage and boiler room on the resort's property. A guest first reported hearing gunfire. There are no witnesses, but police will examine surveillance videos and look for clues. The woman was not identified, but a purse was found near the body. She did not appear to be a guest at the resort.
LVMPD Discusses Ross Dress for Less Shooting
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank discussed the 15th officer-involved shooting of the year at a press conference at Metro headquarters on Tuesday, Aug. 14. The active-shooter incident took place at the Ross Dress for Less store at the 4000 block Blue Diamond Road in the south Las Vegas Valley. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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)
Clark County School Board president Deanna Wright on travel expenses
Clark County School Board President Deanna Wright says she followed proper expense protocol in trip to Florida last year.
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
Shooting leaves 1 dead in southeast valley
A man was found fatally shot in the doorway of a squatter apartment after an argument ended in gunfire on Sunday night. Officers responded about 10:30 p.m. to the Silver Pines apartments and discovered the man in a breezeway in one of the buildings. The wounded man died at the scene, despite the efforts of another person, who tried to administer medical aid. Witnesses saw a man and a woman flee the scene, but were unable to give police a clear description.
North Las Vegas unveils new school crosswalk
North Las Vegas councilman Isaac Barron talks about the new school crosswalk in front of CP Squires Elementary School Monday, August 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
LVMPD Briefing on OIS #13
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly held a press conference to discuss details of the 13th officer-involved-shoot for the department in 2018. Video shows the moments before the suspect was shot. The shooting, which has been edited out, occurred as the suspect lunged at an officer outside the apartment. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sedan and semitrailer collide in south Las Vegas
An early Wednesday morning crash has left one person in critical condition. A sedan and semitrailer collided around 4 a.m. at the corner of Spencer Street and Serene Avenue. Police do not believe impairment is a factor in the crash. Spencer has been blocked off north of Serene while police continue their investigation.
Cybersecurity Professionals Flock to Las Vegas for Black Hat
Black Hat USA, the largest annual cybersecurity conference, is expecting a record 17,000 attendees during its six-day run at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center this week. One thing attendees have in mind is making sure they don't get hacked while they're there. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police chase ends with suspects captured in east Las Vegas
An early Tuesday morning chase ended with a car crash in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. Police were pursuing the vehicle, which they say was involved in robberies in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, when the driver crashed at Owens and Statz Street. A man was taken into custody. A woman was ejected from a vehicle and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The intersection at Mojave Road and Owens Avenue was shut down while police officers searched for the suspect and investigated. The intersection will remain closed for most of the morning.
Record number participate in Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony
Three hundred sixty-five medical students received their white coats during the Touro University Nevada White Coat Ceremony at the M Resort in Henderson Monday. The ceremony was developed to honor students in osteopathic medicine, physician assistant studies, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy as they accept the professional responsibilities inherent in their relationship with patients. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stop for school buses, urges CCSD
Clark County School District Police Department hold a mock traffic stop at Centennial High School in Las Vegas, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Work Begins at Las Vegas Community Healing Garden
Crews moved the wooden Remembrance Wall at the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden on South Casino Center Boulevard Monday. Construction on a permanent wall is set to begin within the week. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Man wounded outside Cottages apartment
Las Vegas police don't have a motive after a man was shot early Monday morning outside a northwest valley apartment. The man's mother called police to say her son had been shot. She called police around 1:15 a.m. Other people were inside the apartment but no one else was injured. Police are still looking for the shooter.
Ride new Interstate 11 segment in one minute
Interstate 11 opens to the public Thursday, providing sweeping views of Lake Mead, art deco-style bridges and a mural illustrating the construction of Hoover Dam. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Miss El Tiempo 2019
Miss Teen El Tiempo and Miss El Tiempo 2019 were crowned at Sam's Town Saturday, August 4, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Woman Raises Awareness for Anxiety and Depression
Cassi Davis was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after the birth of her second child. After seeking help and support, she felt that there wasn't enough for support for those living day in and day out for those with mood disorders. She created the Crush Run, set for Sept. 22, to raise money for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and bring together a community of people who live with the same conditions she does. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas marks the opening of Tropical Parkway connector
The City of North Las Vegas, Nevada Department of Transportation and other partners celebrated the opening of the Tropical Parkway connector to Interstate 15 and the Las Vegas Beltway. The stretch of road will make access easier for distribution centers for Amazon, Sephora and other companies moving into an 1,100-acre industrial area rising near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bighorn sheep with West Temple in background at Zion National Park
A bighorn sheep walks through Zion National Park (National Park Service)
Adult Superstore location closes after 45 years
The Adult Superstore on Main Street has closed its doors for good after 45 years. The shop, which offered a multitude of adult toys, novelty items and movies, opened in 1973. Four other locations remain open. A note on the front door tells customers, “We can’t fully express our sorrow.” Adult Superstore was awarded Best of Las Vegas adult store by the Review-Journal in 2016 and 2017 .
Funeral held for Las Vegas corrections officer
Department of Public Safety Correctional Officer Kyle Eng died July 19 after a fight with an inmate at the Las Vegas Jail. A funeral was held for Eng at Canyon Ridge Christian Church Monday, July 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What Back-To-School Shopping Is Like For a CCSD Parent and Teacher
Laura LeBowsky, a CCSD special education teacher and mother of two, set out to shop for her children's supply lists at her local Walmart and Target. She was looking for deals to try to keep the total under $150, while also allowing Chloe, 8, and Brady, 6, some choice in what they wanted. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Businesses struggle to fill food manufacturing jobs
Chelten House is a family-owned food manufacturing company from New Jersey. They created a facility in Vegas five years ago and have struggled to find experienced workers in the area. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LeBron heckler crosses line, altercation erupts
NBA superstar LeBron James, his wife, Savannah, and daughter Zhuri were at Liberty High School to watch Bronny James in action Wednesday night. But an unruly fan wearing a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey heckled the newest Los Angeles Laker. The man screamed at event security with LeBron and his family about 150 feet away. The man had to be restrained, triggering a brief altercation with security. James and his family were escorted out a side door along with Bronny's team, the North Coast Blue Chips. Event officials canceled the game between the Blue Chips and Nike Meanstreets.
Las Vegas Oddities Shop in Downtown Las Vegas
Las Vegas Oddities shop owner Vanessa VanAlstyne describes what's for sale in one of the weirder and wackier stores in Downtown Las Vegas. The store opened less than a year ago and carries everything from human bones to "rogue" taxidermy to Victorian death photography. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like