Las Vegas gambler Billy Walters, once the most successful sports bettor in the country, was sentenced to five years behind bars for masterminding a six-year insider-trading scheme with former Dean Foods Co. Chairman Tom Davis.
There was no mention during sentencing that Walters is costing Clark County more than $75 million because of bad political decisions and greedy elected officials.
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that politicians bypassed the oldest profession by a good margin; politicians can and will break the law in the blink of an eye for money and for getting on the good side of a wealthy person, a loose donor and a powerful ally.
Once riding an elevator at the Regional Justice Center a person was offered a copy of the Las Vegas Tribune and refused to take the free copy of the fresh-off-the-press newspaper with the unsolicited comment, “that newspaper only prints one side of the stories.”
The person who offered the copy of the Las Vegas Tribune very politely agreed with that person by having a comment of his own: “You are right that this newspaper only offers one side of the story because the daily paper offers their side” and we are all very proud offering the other side of the story.
The Walters case is a good example of what we are saying because it is obvious that the more money a person has, the more political favors he or she can put in his or her pocket or purse.
Billy Walters is a millionaire many times over and does not need charity from the county of Clark, but the County of Clark has no problem patronizing Billy Walters, even if its action may cost the taxpayers of Clark County 75 million dollars.
While the County of Clark and the Clark County Commissioners pander to Billy Walters, offering a deal so good that no one can refuse, the same county commissioners squeeze a small group of investors operating gay bars with very strict conditions, higher fees, and tight liability, leaving no room to breathe.
The pandering to Billy Walters and his Bali Hai Golf course now will cost the taxpayers of Clark County seventy five million for offering a rental so low that it becomes ridiculous.
Isn’t the Federal government aware of the quaint tradition in Clark County of charging different rates to different people?
McCarran airport charges Walters $100,000.00 for rent on 154 acres on the Strip with a ninety-nine-year lease while charging the gay bars in the Fruit Loop $1.34 per square foot per year on a maximum of 6-months’ lease.
At that rate (the gay bar rate) the annual rental of 154 acres would be nearly $9 million per year — that would be 90 times the rent actually charged by the airport/Clark County to Walters for a lease in a far superior location and for a much longer term.
The Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is hoping to collect $75,000,000 for the 99 past and future years under payment of the lease.
Even that is a bargain compared to what the airport would charge the gay bars for the same period. The DOJ’s assessment of value is approximately one-tenth the rate that the airport/Clark County charges the gay bars.
Does the county action need to be considered just blatant greed, or is it retaliation to the gay bars, which makes their action discriminatory.
More than 100 friends and supporters wrote letters seeking leniency for Walters, including tennis great Andre Agassi, ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and professional golfers including Jim Colbert and Peter Jacobsen.
Reid praised Walters’ generosity toward Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas nonprofit for people with intellectual disabilities. “I do not see how this man getting probation would, in any way, adversely affect the criminal justice system,” he wrote.
As a matter of disclaimer it is important to expose that almost fifteen years ago Las Vegas Tribune reporter Fred Cousins wrote a series not too favorable on Billy Walters and when Walters arranged a meeting with Las Vegas Tribune founder to discuss Cousins’ series, Walters offered the Las Vegas Tribune the financial help it needed to stay in business and called one of his accountants to the meeting. While waiting for the accountant the founder of the Las Vegas Tribune made it clear to Walters that Cousins was not going to stop his series, and the newspaper never heard from Walters or the accountant again.
Later the Las Vegas Review-Journal offered Fred Cousins a deal that he could not refuse and he went to work at the company newspaper in Boulder City.