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The Week in Vegas News - July 18
July 18, 2011 5:46 pm

There was quite a bit of news coming from the Strip this week...

What a terrible week for the folks over at City Center. It started out with news that Eva Longoria's nightclub in the Crystals Mall closed after filing bankruptcy. That news was immediately followed by a report that the unfinished Harmon Hotel tower was unsafe and could collapse in the event of an earthquake. The company was given until August 15 by Clark County to come up with a plan to fix it or tear it down. To wrap up a banner 5 days, it was reported on Thursday that an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease occurred at Aria, infecting 6 patrons between late June and early July.

The nightclub closing is not a big deal, those places come and go regularly and the rent for that joint had to be through the roof. I don't know how any of those places survive in that mall. The on-going saga of the Harmon, however, just blows my mind. A half of billion dollar mistake caused by incompetence and gross mismanagement from MGM to the contractors to the county building inspectors. How does so many different groups, with such extensive experience building large structures, screw up so monumentally? I hope someone's head got lopped off for this epic failure. The Legionnaire's disease outbreak is unfortunate but at least it doesn't appear to be all that serious with everyone fully recovering but it's the kind of news Las Vegas doesn't need right now. MGM is really trying hard to get out in front of it, putting up a "facts" page to put their spin on it and even buying up a good chunk of the Vegas Google ads to advertise it. I don't think it would stop me from staying there but I'm glad I don't have a reservation right now!

In other Vegas news this week, one of the men who built the modern Las Vegas, Terry Lanni, passed away this week at the age of 68. He was the longtime head of MGM and oversaw the company's growth from 1 casino to more than 15 including the purchases of Mirage from Steve Wynn in 2000 and Mandalay Resorts in 2005. I am not at all a fan of the massive consolidation of casinos into just a few hands, something Mr. Lanni played a huge role in, but you have to admire someone who built something so large and in the process made Vegas the town it is today. His actions may have came with a price but at the end of the day, I don't believe that the Strip would be what it is without the vision of guys like Terry Lanni. R.I.P.

Lastly, there were a couple of nice fluff pieces that were interesting reads. A story in the LV Sun about some of the projects that never happened and another in the R-J about the few places still running coin operated video poker and slot machines.

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