MORNING LINE: Introducing the Bottom 20 Stories of the Year

  Nothing says excess like the holiday season, and in keeping with that uncomfortably full and indebted feeling I am introducing the Bottom 20 most embarrassing local stories of the year — an Internet exclusive!

  For the past 19 years I’ve offered my Bottom 10 to Review-Journal readers, whose responses have ranged from gentle bemusement to the kind of groaning and eye-rolling usually reserved for victims of ptomaine poisoning. What can I say”? I have a gift.

 That proud tradition continues in Sunday’s newspaper. It seems like only yesterday that my little Bottom 10 was born, and now it’s old enough to vote and serve the nation and drink beer in a couple states. Where does the time go?

  But I digress.

  The fact is, this state has outgrown the Bottom 10. It’s a bigger, stronger, and far more embarrassing community than it was nearly 20 years ago. And since in Las Vegas anything worth doing is worth overdoing, let the pillory begin:

 No. 20: ENDOSCOPY CENTER’S ‘C’ RATING. So much for that “What happens here, stays here” jingle. The accusations of inferior medical practices by Dr. Dipak Desai at his Las Vegas Endoscopy Center leads to an international news story and the discovery of cases of hepatitis C in the community.

  No. 19: LANNI’S LEARNIN’ CURVE. MGM Mirage CEO Terry Lanni’s tenure is DOA after being outed for falsely listing an MBA from USC on his impressive list of initials. He resigns immediately, presumably to join the CIA or AFL-CIO. Lanni “retired” and vanished from the Strip scene, presumably to take extension courses to finish that business degree after successfully running one of the world’s largest casino corporations.

    No. 18: JUSTICE DENIED. The Clark County Regional Justice Center, ushered into existence by the county’s top supervisors, wound up costing $185 million and was finished 44 months late. Now we know that the majority of the cost and delay issues weren’t the fault of AF Construction. And guess how many people at the county lost their jobs over that incredible lack of competence?

  No. 17: CRAZY FED TOO SALOON. Just when the U.S. attorney’s office thought it was finally rid of the Crazy Horse Too topless cabaret, it sticks to them like gum on a hot sidewalk. Now they’re trying to put together a licensing package in order to facilitate its sale.

  No. 16: NOEL’S EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT. Thanks to attorney Tom Pitaro, lawyer Noel Gage survives Round One of the thus far remarkably overrated “Medical Mafia” case in federal court. It didn’t hurt to have the government’s key witnesses look worse than the defendant.

  No. 15: LOUX RUNS OUT. Nevada’s anti-nuke guru Bob Loux, who has done more than most to fight the approach of the Yucca Mountain Project, disappears down the dark hole of this story after it’s discovered he’s handed out unauthorized pay raises to his staff.

  No. 14: GIBBONS’ NIGHT AT THE RODEO. After pitching reporters that he’s just a regular guy who happens to be getting a divorce while serving as Nevada’s Governor, Jim Gibbons is caught “comforting” a busty blonde in the parking lot of a Northern Nevada rodeo. The photographs prompt bronc fans to shout, “Ride, cowboy, ride!”

  No. 13: BUT WE LOVE MIKE DAYTON. One of the lamest moves of the year to come out of Carson City — and I realize the competition was intense — was the hilarious rallying around Gibbons’ Chief of Staff Mike Dayton, whose greatest strength appears to have been his loyalty to Team Gibbons. (The team that, of course, split the sheets in May.) Dayton’s undying loyalty went stiff in June.

  No. 12: NEVADA’S IRREGULAR REGULATORS. State regulatory agencies from such diverse areas as medicine and mortgages take a beating after being exposed as having the enforcement consistency of wet cardboard. The long tradition of state storefront operations continues.

  No. 11: FREEDOM’S WALLET EMPTIED. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s foray into national politics goes down in flames after he dumps an estimated $30 million into his “Freedom’s Watch” program. He loses watch and wallet. For Adelson, that was 2008’s good news.

Read the Bottom 10 in Sunday’s Review-Journal.

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