No pork barrels in Lanni’s future

Jan 25, 2005 4:59 AM

How does Senator Terry Lanni or Congressman Terry Lanni sound? Basically, off-key, according to the MGM Mirage chairman.

Despite rampant speculation that Lanni is eyeing an elected post, possibly senator or representative, he says he’s not interested in getting into politics.

"I have no interest in living in Washington," says Lanni, who also dispels rumors he might consider the top spot at the American Gaming Association. "Frank Fahrenkopf is doing a wonderful job," he says, adding that he hopes Fahrenkopf remains as chairman for a long time to come.

Fahrenkopf’s contract has been extended a couple of years and, Lanni was recently elected chairman of the AGA board, possibly fueling speculation he could be in line for the top post.

Rumors flying

Rumors and speculation about job changes on the Strip have been raging like a California wildfire as the two big mergers head toward closing.

As always, the most seductive false rumors are those with a certain amount of sense to them.

For instance, "the word on the street" has Mark Juliano leaving the presidency of Caesars Palace to join Steve Wynn with whom he previously worked in Atlantic City.

Also, Lorenzo Creighton, who runs the Flamingo is supposedly leaving to take a high-level job with MGM Mirage.

Do both of these seem feasible? Yes. Are they being rumored? Yes. Will they happen? It remains to be seen since neither man is talking and has no real reason to . . . not yet, anyway. The time is not right.

Crabby cab drivers

The strong flow of business along the Las Vegas Strip has been creating some tough times for Las Vegas cab companies.

Cab operators are having trouble finding and keeping drivers. The pressures on drivers have been mounting as traffic and the number of visitors looking for cabs increase.

"People work for a week or so. They try it and quit. I’ve never seen the business burn people out so quickly," says one cabbie.

Another driver says, "It is a combination of the traffic and the pressure to work more hours."

Window shopping

Tilman Fertitta does not hide his interest in the casino business. Yes, he’s been looking. But the Houston-based chairman of Landry’s Restaurants does not like the real estate prices associated with Las Vegas Strip real estate.

"The only people I know telling us Strip acreage is worth 12-to-20 million dollars an acre," he says, "are those with something to sell."

Fertitta, the cousin of Station Casinos chairman Frank Fertitta Jr., is known to have looked at properties from Lake Tahoe to Laughlin. Most recently, he has looked closely at the Riviera, and perhaps other casino hotels in the same area. But the Riviera seems to have gotten special attention.

But Fertitta is not about to whip out the Landry’s checkbook yet. He speculates that prices and the multiples sellers are looking for will come down in the next year or so as interest rates go up. So for the time being he is content to wait and see what happens.