DOWN BUT NOT OUT! Former boxing great and long-time Las Vegan Willy Cohen is doing well in Humana Sunrise hospital after taking a fall that broke his jaw and left arm.
Even though Willy took a standing 8-count, he wasn’t counted out, according to well-wishers Arthur Rosson and Mike Tyson, who both recently paid a visit to the recuperating 90-year-old champ.
Tyson noted that Willy had once advised him that you "can’t put your arm around the whole world," along with the admonition, "Old too soon, smart too late!" There’s advice we can all live by!
Long-time fight fans will recall Willy’s great career in the ring, as well as his pioneering efforts in putting wedding chapels in casinos in
Las Vegas’ heyday. Here’s wishing Willy a speedy recovery.
STILL ROLLING IN DOUGH! It’s been nearly a year since Danny Wade departed from the executive suite at MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) but he’s still cashing in on his severance agreement.
According to information provided by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wade sold another 20,000 shares for $681,250 on July 29. Earlier this year, Wade made two similar sales of 20,000 shares each, generating proceeds of $808,700 and $830,720.
In his largest sale of company stock, Wade sold 400,000 shares for a return of $13 million.
TALK ABOUT CHUTZPAH: An Englishman admitted recently that he had stolen over $47,000 while working as an employee of the town council. He said he used the money to feed his alcohol and gambling addiction.
But, the day his thievery was uncovered, he took off with about $10,000 and flew to Las Vegas for a last fling at the gaming tables. Six weeks later, he returned home with barely $100 to his name. He said he spent about three weeks in Vegas and then flew to New York City where he booked himself into a detox center for treatment of his addictions.
The court was sympathetic, saying the man had showed a great deal of remorse and had attempted to get straightened out. Still, said the judge, a short prison sentence was necessary to act as a deterrent to anyone else who might be tempted to tap the till. She sentenced him to six months of incarceration.
HOW QUICKLY THEY FORGET: Hilton Group, the English company that acquired the "Hilton" trademark for international hotel use some two decades ago, has been under pressure since the World Trade Center terrorist attack on 9/11. In fact, business has been lousy, so bad that the company recently sold 10 hotels for about $465 million.
With room rates at the low end, Hilton has had trouble showing a profit. For the six month period ending on June 30, the company saw hotel operating profit falling more than 22%, prompting some shareholders to urge the company to shed its hotel operations and keep its gaming arm, Ladbroke.
Funny the critics should be supporting gaming when just a couple of years ago these same critics wanted Hilton Group to get out of the gaming business completely and concentrate on its hotel division. So strong were these anti-gaming voices that Hilton Group dumped its gaming leader, Peter George, who ultimately affiliated himself with Park Place Entertainment Corp.
Why the big support of gaming? Probably because during the same six months that the hotel division did so poorly, Ladbroke’s profits rose nearly 20%.
Fickle critics are what the company doesn’t need to establish a successful path.
A TURN FOR THE BEST: Three years after breaking ground on Turnberry Place, a third 40-story tower is now under construction. Sales at the 15-acre community, located on Paradise Road across the Las Vegas Hilton, have surpassed $400 million, with 450 units sold.
Tower three is already 60 percent sold, sources say. When complete, Turnberry Place will add 740 luxury residences to the north end of the famed Las Vegas Strip. Residents just began moving into tower two, which was completed in May. Prices of the upscale condos range from $500,000 to more than $5 million. Each tower takes about 18 months to complete.
One of the highlights of the community is the $40 million private Stirling Club with 80,000 square feet of amenities and five-star VIP service. The gated, resort-style community also features valet parking, 24-hour security, concierge service, limousine and room service.
ARE YOU READY FOR AN ITALIAN FEAST? Mark your calendar for the 22nd annual San Gennaro Feast and Las Vegas Street Fair, which will be held Sept. 11-15 in the vacant lot across the street from The Rio, Gold Coast and the Palms.
The annual event begins on Wednesday, when all moms ride the carnival rides for free (a $20 value). In addition to the amusement carnival, the festival features free live entertainment starring, among others, The Scintas, Tony Orlando, Charro and Tony Sacca.
The highlight for most visitors is the Italian food extravaganza, which manages to include Mexican and Hawaiian themes, and has been run by Anthony Palmisano’s family for the better part of a generation.
Everything from sausage and linguine to pasta and pizza is prepared by master chefs from more than 40 top name Las Vegas restaurants, including Ferraro’s and many more. There will also be a beer and wine garden, pony rides, clowns, face painting, karate demonstrations and much more.
DON’T GO ON YOUR DIET JUST YET! Not to be outdone by the San Gennaro Feast, the Greek Food Festival will stage its annual bash, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 20-22. Now in its 30th year, the festival will be held on the grounds of St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church at Hacienda and Jones Blvds.
Sponsored by St. John’s, the Greek Food Festival represents a cultural exchange within the community, but mostly it’s fun with a chance to sample tons of Greek delicacies, dancing and Hellenic music and traditions.
Some of the specialties to be showcased include dolmathes, souvlakia, loukaniko and spanikopita, stuffed grape leaves, shish-kabob, sausage and baked spinach squares. Other highlights of the Festival include the Greek Bazaar, of course the fabulous food, music dancing and the traditional circle dances.
There will also be a $2 raffle for a roundtrip to Hawaii or color TV, and a $100 raffle for a 2003 Mercedes B240.