Remembering Las Vegas’ brand of angels, demons and classless acts

Memo to Frank Cullotta: You can stop wondering whether certain critics from your Chicago mob days have forgiven and forgotten after 27 years.

They haven’t.

Cullotta, the mob guy-turned-informant, made a lot of enemies when he went against the Chicago Outfit in the early 1980s. Two recent columns quoting him on the subject of the late and murderous Larry Neumann have generated no shortage of terse responses.

Most of the remarks fall into the category of “Cullotta’s a no good rat,” or words to that effect. Really, gentlemen, you need to work on cleaning up your language and brushing up on your B-movie tough-guy patter. This column has its standards.

But a remark from Neumann’s former attorney, veteran lawyer Cal Potter, bears repeating. Potter had the difficult task of defending Neumann, who was a career criminal and a suspect in at least six murders.

That doesn’t put him far ahead of Cullotta, Potter reminds me.

“My recollection was that he (Cullotta) admitted to four murders, but was responsible for many more,” Potter says. “I can remember his brother taking the stand and saying that he no longer had a brother.”

Potter adds, “I represented Larry Neumann during the (Tony) Spilotro trial in 1986 and successfully represented him in the 9th Circuit to enforce the terms of his plea agreement. During the trial the question that was not allowed to be asked of Cullotta was: ‘Is it easier to commit a burglary, or is it easier to commit perjury?’

“Cullotta has now become a writer of fiction attributing his crimes to those who no longer live. I knew a different Larry Neumann. He gave me two Rolls Royces and a Cadillac (made by the Franklin Mint). He wanted me to be the only attorney in Las Vegas with two Rolls Royces. He always sent cards at Christmas, usually with him sitting at the Warden’s desk.”

WHIP IT: When you’re in the business of role-playing, it’s important to remember your lines. Take the entertaining theater that takes place between Clark County Business License officials and owners of local sex clubs.

Fact is the county doesn’t license sex clubs. It prefers to issue licenses for gyms, bookstores, restaurants, juice bars and the like, then turn the other way while the businesses are operated as sex clubs. In exchange, the sex club owners generally go along with the regulatory hypocrisy in order to get along with bureaucrats who could easily shut them down.

Slap-and-tickle club operator Michael Powers forgot his lines recently. It could return to haunt him. Powers owns the Power Exchange on Highland Drive, which touts itself as “Sin City’s newest adult facility.”

The Power Exchange isn’t licensed by Clark County as a BDSM (bondage and sadomasochism) club because the county doesn’t issue such licenses. The county does, however, issue licenses for tanning salons and silk-screening shops, and Powers has licenses for such endeavors.

The fact his store also features a dungeon and private areas where customers can role-play and get their spank on is something you’d presume he wouldn’t exactly advertise. But you’d be wrong. In a recent issue of CityLife, the weekly owned by the company that also owns the Review-Journal, Powers let the cat-o’-nine-tails out of the bag.

Powers: “It’s like (the Disneyland ride) Pirates of the Caribbean, but the pirates are having sex.”

Well, shiver me timbers.

Powers: “If I’m going to have a business that makes $2 million a year off people spanking each other, they (county licensing officials) want to make sure they’re getting their cut.”

If you’re going to have a business that makes $2 million a year off people spanking each other, Mr. Powers, you’d better remember your lines.

Last June, sex club operator David Cooper ran into a county steamroller after he failed to appropriately prepare his “restaurant” called Sextasy in the sleazy Commercial Center. The county shut him down.

“I think that story represents a full-blown admission of skirting the rules,” Cooper says.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Brandon Rayner’s life was cut short by leukemia in December, but the 10-year-old’s legacy of giving continues with the upcoming Sunrise Children’s Hospital marrow donor drive in his honor. It’s scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the hospital. Joining the national registry is as simple as swabbing the inside of your cheek.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? E-mail comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith/.

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