Tax break flap over painting dogs Elaine Wynn

Las Vegas socialite and hotel director Elaine Wynn’s impeccably crafted image took a knock this past week after an article in The New York Times tied her to an Oregon law that provides a tax shelter for wealthy art owners.

Last year, Wynn, noted locally for her philanthropy, purchased Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” for a whopping $142.4 million. Last Sunday, a front-page story reported that the paintings were hanging in the Portland Art Museum. The headline: “Buyers Find Tax Break on Art: Let It Hang Awhile in Oregon.”

Ouch.

Graham Bowley and Patricia Cohen wrote, “By shipping the painting first to Oregon, instead of her home in Las Vegas, the new owner, Elaine Wynn, may be eligible to avoid paying as much as $11 million in Nevada use taxes, though it is not clear whether she intends to take advantage of the break.”

Wynn should end the suspense and clarify this one before someone gets the idea she was seeking a tax shelter that, while legal, makes her look like she’s shorting the Silver State.

MOB, INC.: It’s closed to the public and most of the press, but this week’s International Conference on Transnational Organized Crime &Terrorism at the Red Rock has offered a variety of seminars and workshops on some of the world’s most treacherous criminal organizations.

Increasingly, even traditional organized crime elements are using the Internet to generate illicit income and create front companies.

During Wednesday’s morning session, Yakuza expert and author Jake Adelstein noted that Japanese mob elements also aren’t shy about promoting themselves in the Internet as well as with everything from playing cards to fan magazines.

OH, HENRY: On Monday, legendary forensics expert Dr. Henry Lee managed to awe and entertain hundreds of veteran organized crime and terrorism investigators in attendance at the conference with a stroll through his intriguing and at times grisly career.

After his talk, the charming doctor said he had been contacted by the defense and the prosecution in the murder investigation involving South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius.

Lee turned down both sides. The reason?

The crime scene investigation was incomplete, he said. Several basic tests were not done, and the resulting lack of evidence would make a comprehensive and accurate analysis all but impossible.

PARK FACTS: It’s too bad controversial local developer Shawn Lampman, who got lucky Thursday in a federal tax case when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, won’t grow a conscience and tell us the truth behind the sale of Craig Ranch Golf Club.

The weathered course was transformed by the city of North Las Vegas into the Craig Ranch Regional Park at an exorbitant cost of $130 million. The park costs $2 million a year to maintain at a time the city is having trouble paying its cops and firefighters.

Lampman is a former business crony of ex-NLV Mayor Michael Montandon, whose political pal Steve Wark took a felony plea on the FBI’s investigation into corruption inside Southern Nevada’s homeowners associations and construction defect industry.

Think about that as North Las Vegas teeters on the edge of the financial abyss.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: I’m not saying Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is unconcerned about his re-election, but he’s campaigning this week … in Canada. Sandoval took time out to lead a trade mission in Toronto and Ottawa.

BIG GIVE: Get ready to participate in the Big Give April 25. Proceeds from the online fundraiser go to support local charities. For more information, check out nvbiggive.razoo.com.

ON THE BOULEVARD: With all the gushing press Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy is receiving from Fox News and other conservative media megaphones, it’s a wonder some breathless network executive hasn’t produced a Sunday special called, “Here Comes the Easter Bundy.”

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295.

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