Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Wynn: "I'm The Most Powerful Man In Nevada"

(UPDATE: I changed the new poll. We'll get back to the other one next go-around. Meanwhile, I'm curious your answer to the new one, which bounces off of this post. See it to your right and VOTE.)

There's an excellent piece in today's Review-Journal by Benjamin Spillman about the dealers' complaint against Steve Wynn following his decision in 2006 to redistribute tips, leading to the dealers' unionizing at Wynn as well as at Caesars Palace.

But the part that fascinated me most was a line in the labor complaint that claims Wynn told a group of 15 angry dealers, "I am the most powerful man in Nevada. ... If you guys have a problem with the way I am handling things, you can leave." Oh, and according to the story, he also showed up at the meeting wearing plastic fangs to amuse the others. Didn't work.

But the statement there is interesting and begs the question: Is it true? Or are there more powerful people in Nevada? You know, like maybe Harry Reid, the nation's top Democrat? Or the Clark County Commission, which has the power to approve or reject any development is wishes? Or, in Michael Politz' estimation, perhaps Carrot Top? And what IS power, anyhow? Hmmm... This is starting to sound like a good column for the Weekly.

Any thoughts?


mike_ch said...

It's simple: Steve Wynn is a Jedi with a design team from Tattoine. It's why he's now built THREE hotels that look oddly like Jawa sandcrawlers.

Okay, that might be a little TOO nerdy for the Weekly.

.... Does this mean Adelson gets to be Emperor Palpatine? It totally works for him.

Troy from Las Vegas said...

Or is Oscar Goodman more powerful?
"Forget about the stupid Strip," said Mayor Oscar Goodman. "The real party is downtown on Fremont Street. This is where the cool people are. All of the drunks are out there.

"I apologize, most of the drunks are over here."

Jeff In OKC said...

He's pretty close. I wonder if he didn't help make Reid, since he was a Gaming Commision member before the senate.
But why stop at Nevada, how about China (For Macau), or THE UNIVERSE? Sitting at the left hand of God.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that he was the most powerful guy in Nevada at one point, no doubt. Probably starting around the time of The Mirage and until as recently as the opening of Bellagio.

With the some of his competitors having significant muscle, it's hard to say. Adelson and Kerkorian rarely make the kinds of public examples of it that Wynn seems to try to.

Honestly, I'm not sure if Wynn even believes he's still the most powerful guy in the state but as long as he doesn't seriously push any polarizing issue, it will never have to come to a 'fight' of sorts.

He can't force Adelson to build all the parking he should be required to have. Not sure how that stacks up with the most powerful guy in the Silver State.

Hunter / RateVegas.com

Troy from Las Vegas said...

You know who certainly is NOT the most powerful person in Nevada is the guy who designed and the guy who approved the plans for that gawd awful Palazzo float in the Rose Parade. That ugly thing does not inspire me to go to the Palazzo at all. What a waste of flowers which should actually be used for the wake for the career of the designer.

Anonymous said...

Based on the poll, no doubt the choices are:

Steve Wynn
Harry Reid
Kirk Kerkorian
Sheldon Adelson

There are other powerful Nevadans (and some non-Nevadans - doesn't Guy Laliberte live in Canada?) but I think the above are clearly the power brokers - in front and behind the scenes.

Lanni is a proxy for Kerkorian. Loveman runs a major employer but lives in MA and honestly feels really detached from Nevada's politics. Bill Harrah would have been a different story.

Some contenders not mentioned: Bill Boyd, Irwin Molasky, Tom Barrack?

This would have been a more interesting poll in the 1960s, ya know? LOTS of competing influences, both behind and above board.

Hunter / RateVegas.com


Hunter: I didn't say they had to be Nevadans, altho both Laliberte and Loveman do have homes here. I was looking for people who have power in Nevada, regardless of where they actually live. Hey, it's unscientific and, truth be told, unknowable. I might've considered Molasky but few would know who he is. And Bill Boyd and Tom Barrack have fiefdoms too small to worry about, I'd think.

Mike_ch said...

I'd say Harry and Kirk. The other guys get their names tossed around a lot in gaming but don't make the kind of waves outside our fair little village the way those two do.

Oscar would be a bit of a dark horse. It depends on your meaning of "power" since he's certainly been in contact with quite a few people who practice a unique brand of, ah, persuasion. I don't think America really recognizes him as well as he and the media here think they do, though.

Wynn did have a lot of power at one point, but these days he talks loud and says little. He's a bit of an odd case now, making big public scenes every few years but swearing up and down that he's this more relaxed guy in touch with his inner Buddha or whatever.

At the end of the day though, the most powerful entity affecting Nevada is California.