Strip club kingpin Jack Galardi dies

Jack Galardi, who started his strip club empire in Las Vegas in the 1970s, died at his Georgia ranch on Saturday, close friends confirmed.

Galardi, 80, was one of the country’s most successful strip club owners, owning nearly 50 over the years, according to longtime business partner Ron Stevens.

Galardi had spent the last two decades of his life living near Atlanta. He owned a 60,000-square-foot mansion on a 400-acre ranch outside Jackson, Ga.

He became entangled in headlines in 2003 when his adopted son, Michael Galardi, was targeted in a sweeping federal political corruption investigation dubbed Operation G-Sting.

Three former Clark County commissioners were convicted and Michael Galardi ended up losing his strip clubs Cheetah’s and Jaguars and was imprisoned.

Jack Galardi was not part of the investigation. A rift that had developed a few years before the probe widened after it and the Galardis were not on good terms for more than a decade.

"Jack left Las Vegas because people kept saying he was associated with the mob. He was not," said Stevens, a business partner and close friend since the 1960s. The strip club empire includes operations in Florida and Atlanta.

Stevens said Jack Galardi was "close to a billionaire," with private airplanes, a helicopter and mansions.

One of his mansions, now vacant near the Scotch 80s, was built in the mid-1990s after Galardi purchased comedian Shecky Greene’s home, bulldozed it and built a 15,500-square-foot residence on the site.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Few shows I’ve seen over the years close as strongly as Shania Twain’s "Still the One" at Caesars Palace on Saturday night. The scene with the white horse, in which she sings "You’re Still the One," and the finale are epic. But there’s work to be done, starting with low energy early on (after the aerial entry on a motorcycle), a too-long campfire scene and, at times, overdone video. Tighten it up and add more lighter moments.

‘WHAT A SWEETHEART’

Las Vegas cabby Cathy Reap couldn’t resist asking for a favor while giving a lift to comedian Brad Garrett. Her 82-year-old mother is a big fan, she told him. Would he have a minute to chat with her on a cellphone? Of course, said the big guy. "What a sweetheart," Reap said. Garrett has been building a ton of good will around town with his community contributions since making Las Vegas a priority after his 10-year run on "Everybody Loves Raymond."

SIGHTINGS

UFC star Jon "Bones" Jones and rapper Coolio, hanging out at a bar at The Rumor Boutique Hotel on Saturday. … Jason Derulo, dining at Yellowtail (Bellagio) on Saturday. … Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler at 1OAK and Stack on Friday. … NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, at a VIP table in the main room at Marquee (Cosmopolitan) on Saturday night. … Jamie Spears, father of pop princess Britney Spears, dining at the Meatball Spot at Town Square on Saturday. … Twain, taking a break from rehearsal to check out David Copperfield’s magic show Tuesday at the MGM Grand.

THE PUNCH LINE

"List of winning lottery numbers followed by list of losing lottery numbers." – From David Letterman’s "Top Ten Signs It’s a Slow News Day"

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. His weekly segment, "Norm Clarke’s Vegas," airs during the "Morning Blend" on KTNV-TV, Channel 13 every Thursday.

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