Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer on Tuesday made it clear Las Vegas was merely a bit player in the roundup of 21 business executives in connection with an FBI undercover sting.
The business officials represented military and law enforcement equipment companies. They thought they were hustling business with the defense minister of an African nation when they made bribe offers, according to the indictments. They are charged with violating the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits American businesses from obtaining or retaining business through the use of bribery of government officials.
"Las Vegas, obviously, is a convention center for lots and lots of industries, and there’s nothing more that can be taken from it than that," Breuer said during a media conference call after the indictments were unsealed.
The business officials were arrested Monday after arriving in Las Vegas to attend the Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade Show at the Sands Expo & Convention Center.
The Las Vegas economy is in such rough shape, some creative marketing mind from the casino industry should put Breuer on retainer to have all government stings and arrests here.
That is, if the government’s checks are still clearing.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice’s use of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act statute continues. Breuer said 140 foreign bribery cases are under investigation.
Will any of those be focused in Las Vegas?
FREQUENT FLIER: Mayor Oscar Goodman is in Washington to meet with members of Nevada’s congressional delegation. Goodman is also expected to meet with the new executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, but I’m interested in what he might learn from a sitdown with pollster and Democratic Party strategist Celinda Lake.
ROCK ON: If some Nevada politicians were only half as popular as longtime bartender Gary Millington, they’d have no re-election fears. Some locals will remember Millington, who died Jan. 16 at age 52, as a fun-loving mixologist at Alias Smith & Jones many years ago.
Others will recall how he kept the regulars entertained at Tommy Rocker’s.
"He knew everybody," pal of 32 years and Planet Hollywood bartender Ron Goughnour says. "Everyone thinks Gary was their best friend. That’s the kind of guy he was."
Millington’s friends plan a memorial celebration and fundraiser to benefit his daughter at 2 p.m. Feb. 6 at Tommy Rocker’s at 4275 Industrial Road.
EXPERIENCED DEFINED: Veteran — and I do mean veteran — Metro Intelligence detective Mike Bunker has retired. Bunker has worked every two-bit wiseguy and bookmaker to hit town for decades. He retired recently after 40 years.
TENNEY VISION: It seems like only four ratings points ago Kendall Tenney was anchoring at Channel 3. Since leaving the station, he’s landed on his feet with his own advertising agency and clients such as the Las Vegas Hilton and "Godfather of Las Vegas" Mark Wayman.
Speaking of Wayman, this week he played host to a celebrity event at the Hugh Hefner Suite at the Palms.
VEGAS SEVEN: Ryan Doherty is putting the finishing touches on a weekly newspaper with magazine flash. It’s called Vegas Seven. The first issue hits the street Feb. 4.
With content cooperation from the New York Observer, this hybrid will offer local and national news in addition to dining, entertainment and film sections.
ON THE BOULEVARD: It’s little surprise, but it appears Carl Icahn will soon officially end up with the bankrupt Fontainebleau. That’s good news for ailing Las Vegas. Icahn knows a bargain when he sees one, and he rarely rests after cutting a deal. … Courthouse denizens are sure to enjoy R-J reporter Doug McMurdo’s lvlegalnews.com site.
John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith.