been a very sad week for our community, losing several good people for
one reason or another, one illness or another, and I would like to
express my sentiments to each and all of those families.
Local attorney Osvaldo Fumo lost his dear father last week and it is
my understanding that the services took place last Sunday afternoon
before I got back. I know how close Ozzi was to his father and can
only imagine what he is going through at this time. My prayers today
are with the Fumo family.
Maybe it is my paranoia, but I always appear to be concerned with
people’s safety and security and always find myself recommending to
some of the judges that I like not to stand in front of the courthouse
all by themselves because it is not secure to do that after sending
someone to prison.
That person cannot do any damage while behind bars, but a family
member could take reprisal/revenge against the judge that sentenced a
family member to several years behind bars.
It’s the same with famous casino executives; the last time I ran into
a gaming pioneer, casino mogul and one of the three best men in the
history of this wonderful city, Jackie Gaughan, was a few years ago
when he used to take his morning walk by the El Cortes Hotel.
I used to have a mailbox store across the street on Fremont and
7th Street and we sometimes ran into each other, although not as often
as I would have liked.
Jackie was one of my early idols, along with Benny Binion, Sam Boyd
and others maybe less well known but equally important and part of our
gaming world, such as Carl Cohen and Charles Kendall from the old
One morning Jackie stopped to say hello and I suggested to him that
maybe it was not too safe for him to be walking alone in the downtown
I met Jackie many years before with my friend Jackie Dell, an old and
famous handicapper who was friends with the casino pioneer.
I was thinking that since he was up in age and was very wealthy and
very well known by everyone, that someone out there might hurt him,
but Jackie eased my concerns by explaining to me that “everyone around
here knows me and they would not let anything happen to me, but I
appreciate your concerns.”
Even though I had not spoken to nor seen Jackie Gaughan in a few
years, I am going to miss him; just the idea that he was at his
residence at the top of his favorite hotel was enough for me; but now
I know it will be different.
I would like to offer Jackie’s only son, Michael Gaughan, and the rest
of the Gaughan family, my respect and most sincere condolences.
* * * * *
The other day I was visiting a relative and they were watching a
Spanish television show. During the commercial break I saw one
commercial in Spanish (of course, it was Spanish TV) of Las Vegas
attorney Eric Palacios telling people that the reason that many
attorneys do not appear in their commercials is because they do not
This time I have to agree with attorney Palacios even if he doesn’t
want to remember me or return my telephone calls to invite him to Face
The Tribune radio show.
I met Eric Palacios a few years back when I was the Friday co-host for
Miguel Barrientos on his radio show on KRLV from 5 to 9 in the morning
(not to be confused with Dolly Parton’s movie, 9 to 5) and Eric
Palacios had a show at 9 a.m. following Barrientos’ show; we were
introduced several times but he never remembers me (maybe he doesn’t
want to remember Cubans).
However, my point is — and that is how I ended up agreeing with
attorney Palacios — there is nothing more ridiculous than trying to
speak a language without practicing first.
Even though those who try to speak another language should be
commended for their efforts, when one is selling a product or a
service they need to be more sympathetic to a specific audience.
The point being that the Spanish television commercial for local
attorney Jason Cook, wherein he speaks a language that he doesn’t
speak, might have been made with good intentions, but it makes him
sound and look ridiculous, and his poor control of the Spanish
language may sound like an insult to the Spanish language and to
I believe that many attorneys work hard to earn the Latino business,
not because they want to help, but maybe because they think that the
lack of the English language makes Latinos a good target with more
benefits than with any other nationality.
The word “familia” is a very common word in Spanish, Italian or
Portuguese that means family in English, but almost everyone knows how
to pronounce “familia” very easily; almost everyone but attorney Jason
Cook, who makes a fool of himself in his Spanish commercial.
When I saw the Spanish commercial of attorney Jason Cook I was not
only embarrassed by someone destroying our beautiful language, but
also furious that the Spanish-looking young ladies that stand by him
in the commercial allow him to insult us that way.
Later I realized that those ladies have nothing to say if they want or
need to keep their job to help support their families.
If anyone goes to that law office under the false impression that the
attorney speaks Spanish, they are going to find out that the
Spanish-speaking personnel are the ones who would talk to the clients
acting more as translators or interpreters than attorneys, paralegals
or legal secretaries fooling the clients.
If anyone is going to an attorney’s office to speak to the staff
instead of talking to the attorney, why go so far to the middle of
nowhere? Might as well go to any attorney in the downtown area or up
and down Eastern Avenue, Maryland Parkway or Sahara Avenue to get the
same result instead of spending all that gas to talk to an
Of course Jason Cook is not the only one who uses poor Spanish to
attract Spanish clientele; there are many others in our community and
that is why I always insist that people learn English if they are
permanent residents. After all, we all come here thinking that it is
for a short time only, but it ends up lasting a lifetime, so we might
as well learn the language so no one can take advantage of us.
There are several Spanish, Latino, Hispanic (or whatever you like to
call them) attorneys; the nationality title is not that important.
What is important is that they speak your language perfectly,
sometimes even better than you, and they will be able to help you
better, besides the fact that you will be able to understand his/her
explanation and assimilate the deep meaning of your legal situation
Just remember, when visiting with an attorney, speak to him or her —
don’t speak to “Maria.”
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
* * * * *
Rolando Larraz is Editor in Chief of the Las Vegas Tribune. His column
appears weekly in this newspaper. To contact Rolando Larraz, email him
at: Rlarraz@lasvegastribune.com or at (702) 699-8111.