Leaving ($112 MILLION in) Las Vegas

I want to meet Terrance Watanabe.

NOT because he made a fortune selling the Oriental Trading novelty company and became a philanthropist in Nebraska.

Oh no. Nor do I want to meet him because who doesn’t like a man who can lose $112 MILLION in Vegas, $94 million at Caesar’s and $12 million at the Rio and live to defend himself in court? 

Seriously, he’s a philanthropist from Nebraska who travels to Vegas, and Harrah’s (which owns Caesar’s and the Rio) to gamble many millions of dollars. While there, the casinos allegedly ply him with lots of liquor and even deliver the painkiller Lortab to his room. Though (pre Lortab) he’s slurring and falling asleep at the table, this is the hospitality industry and we are professionals. So keep the cocktails coming!

How many multimillionaire drunk philanthropists from Nebraska can claim with a straight face that Caesar’s served them so many Mai Tais they lost $94 million, and then hired the law partners of Las Vegas’ mayor to rope a dope Harrah’s? This is not how Warren Buffet parties, my friends.

Seriously. We want to meet Watanabe because he – along with New York restructuring lawyers – are singlehandedly supporting the legal economy of Las Vegas right now. Harrah’s has hired Jenner & Block to conduct an internal investigation of charges that Caesars and Rio violated Nevada gaming law by keeping Watanabe so liquored up he kept losing. (Jenner has yet to comment on the identity of the attorneys representing Harrah’s, though the firm has done previous work for them in New York.)

A grand jury indicted Watanabe for writing bad checks to the casinos – $14.7 million worth – in an effort to cover his debt. http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2009/07/harrahs-hires-jenner-block-for-internal-high-roller-investigation.html

Watanabe is being represented by two of Vegas’ best, Mayor Oscar Goodman’s former law partners, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld of Las Vegas’ Chesnoff & Schonfeld. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/jul/25/new-attorneys-assist-harrahs-probe-high-rollers-in/ They are arguing he was too polluted to form criminal intent to rip off the casinos.

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