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Marrandino to rock Le Reve

Dec 24, 2002 5:55 AM

   Look for Le Reve to rock with the addition of Don Marrandino as general manager of Steve Wynn’s upcoming resort.

   In nearly a year as president and CEO of the Hard Rock Hotel, Marrandino turned the Paradise Road property into one of the hottest off-Strip gaming venues. Attracting some of the globe’s hippest entertainers and swarms of trendy celebrities, the Hard Rock became the musical epicenter for Las Vegas.

   Wynn figures Marrandino will do the same for Le Reve.

    “The Hard Rock captured a very special place on the Las Vegas scene,’’ he said. “The Hard Rock has taught us all new lessons and exposed Las Vegas to another dimension in the evolution of the entertainment industry. I am excited that Don Marrandino will infuse Wynn Resorts with some part of that energy.’’

   Insiders just hope that Wynn’s use of the term “exposed” was merely a Freudian slip because, last July, gaming regulators slapped the Hard Rock with a $100,000 fine for permitting sex acts at its Baby’s nightclub.

   In a months-long investigation, the control board uncovered “overt sexual activity” taking place in a seating area above the dance floor. An incensed Nevada Gaming Commissioner Art Marshall sought a seven-figure penalty.

    “A million dollar fine would have gotten everyone else's attention,’’ he said at the time. But the commission settled on a $100,000 fine and the Hard Rock quickly paid up.

   Marrandino, who also served as executive vice president of the Peter Morton property, pledged to retrain staff to prevent future incidents. “We want to make the Hard Rock a fun place within the rules,’’ he said.

   Entertainment sources tell GamingToday they saw Marrandino’s departure coming. Uncharacteristically, The Joint, Hard Rock’s popular concert venue, had no public events booked after New Year’s.

    “Guess he was putting all his energy into Le Reve,’’ one observer mused.

   Wrapping up what he called “one of the most spectacular years anyone has ever had,’’ Marrandino is now looking forward to moving Las Vegas’ pop entertainment epicenter up the Strip.

    “It is an honor to join the Wynn organization,’’ said Marrandino, who previously headed Station Casinos’ eastside operations. “This immense project is filled with opportunity.’’

   In another major move, Wynn rehired Arte Nathan as chief human resources officer. Nathan was Wynn’s HR chief for 17 years, hiring personnel to open a series of megaresorts, including the Mirage and Bellagio.

    “I am excited to have another opportunity to open world class properties,’’ Nathan said of Wynn’s upcoming ventures here, in Macao and elsewhere. “I plan to employ state of the art technology to make Le Reve a world class experience for employees.’’

   Wynn is equally upbeat. “In Las Vegas, we tend to pay a great deal of attention to buildings, structures and stuff. It’s always been my opinion that the one thing that really matters in business or life is people.’’

   Since Wynn sold Mirage Resorts to MGM, Nathan has been working as product development director and “thought leader’’ at Mellon HR Solutions in Fort Lee, N.J.