The Entertainment Capital of the World
Sheriff Lombardo SUPPORTERS “BELIEVE” SHERIFF
WILL BE THE NEXT NEVADA GOVERNOR
Practitioner Profile Amanda Laub, Esq.
2022 Income Tax Planning Volume 8 Issue 3
EDITOR IN CHIEF PRESTON P. REZAEE, ESQ.
ADVERTISING INFO@VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM CALL 702-222-3476
PUBLISHER TYLER MORGAN, ESQ.
CONTRIBUTORS NEDDA GHANDI, ESQ. STAN SMITH, PH. D. MARK FIERRO ADAM KEMPER, ESQ. VALERIE MILLER MARK MARTIAK DONOVAN THIESSEN, CPA DON LOGAY MYRON MARTIN ANDREW CASH, M.D. DAVID DENK
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS JEFFRY COLLINS, ESQ. MARKETING DIANA COLLINS CREATIVE DIRECTOR BRANDON PIERCE
COVER STORY: SHERIFF JOE LOMBARDO
Contents LAW 12 | FOR THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’ 16 | COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION 20 | LAS VEGAS ICON: John Moran Jr. 27 | PRACTITIONER PROFILE: AMANDA LAUB 32 | QUARTERLY ECONOMIC COMMENTATOR 35 | COVER STORY: SHERIFF JOE LOMBARDO
BUSINESS 42 | VLM’S BLACK BOOK 44 | STATE OF THE MARKET 48 | RISING RATE ECONOMY 52 | INTERESTING TIME 58 | 2022 INCOME TAX PLANNING 66 | CANNABUSINESS
LIFESTYLE 72 | BARRY’S DOWNTOWN PRIME 74 | BEING EVLIS 80 | THE SMITH CENTER 82 | VEGASWOOD 88 | VEGAS VACATIONS 91 | HUMOR
FOR THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’
STATE OF THE MARKET
72 BARRY’S DOWNTOWN PRIME
Remember back in March 2020, when COVID-19 first hit the United States? We were told, “We are all in this together.” Sadly, that message was soon lost as the shutdown turned into an eternity. It was quickly every man – and woman – for themselves as people turned to hoarding food and toilet paper. But, two years later, we really are “all in this together.” No matter what our political beliefs, or party affiliations, we all live in the United States of America. We all pay more – a lot more – for gas. We all pay a lot more for everything, for that matter. Crime is on the rise nationwide, as is inflation. Russia’s war in Ukraine could have worldwide nuclear ramifications. All this is enough to make anyone nervous. Regardless, we need to focus on what we can control. We all get a say in who will represent us in Nevada. One of our biggest races is for governor. This issue’s cover features Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo. As the front-runner, Lombardo is favored to win the Republican primary and has the coveted endorsement of former President Donald Trump. If Lombardo wins the primary, he will take on Gov. Steve Sisolak in November. This takes us full circle to the COVID shutdowns of 2020. If you agree with Sisolak that shutting down Nevada was necessary to save lives, you will probably vote to give the Democratic governor a second term. On the other hand, if you think Sisolak was just following the lead of California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsome -- and thus unnecessarily destroyed the livelihoods of many Nevadans – your vote will probably go to his Republican opponent. Here at Vegas Legal Magazine, we don’t try to tell you how to vote. Instead, we try to give you the information you need to make the best decision possible. So, educate yourself on the issues and the candidates before casting your ballot. And remember, what you choose impacts all of us. So, please choose wisely!
- Preston P. Rezaee, Esq.
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 5
In some ways, judging the Las Vegas housing market is like gambling at a casino. Timing is everything. You want to sell at the top of the market. But when is the market ripe? How do you know when the housing market is cooling off? In many markets, that is a simpler question. The Las Vegas valley, though, is unlike other markets. Home prices in Las Vegas have skyrocketed, and a lot of people have been priced out of the market. Cash buyers are gobbling up homes in Nevada. Many buyers are out-of-state investors. COVID-19, and the resulting shutdowns, only worsened the problem. As California suffered through some of the most-Draconian shutdowns in 2020 (and going into 2021), Golden States residents fled to Nevada in droves. Unfortunately, this migration from California has helped cause our once-affordable home prices to go through the roof. Of course, there are other recent contributing factors – such as working remotely. Now, we also have a rising interest-rate environment. How high will rates go? And, will this cool the local housing market? There are too many variables to accurately predict at the moment. To give some idea of what the local market is like, by the numbers, Vegas Legal Magazine notes some recent statistics from the Las Vegas Realtors trade association. In April, the median price of an existing single-family home in Southern Nevada was a record $475,000. Let that number sink in for a moment. This is a previously-owned home – not a new home. The sales price was 3.3 percent higher than March of this year, and up 26.7 percent from April of 2021. Be sure to look at our real estate column in Vegas Legal Magazine, to learn more about our red-hot local real estate market. And, don’t miss our cover story about Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo – the odds-on favorite to be the Republican nominee for Nevada governor. We get the insight from some of Lombardo’s prominent local supporters on why they believe he is the right man to lead the Silver State. This issue of Vegas Legal Magazine, like every issue, is jam packed with stories that you will both inform and entertain you. So, don’t skip a single page!
- Tyler J. Morgan, Esq.
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 7
LITIGATION SUPPORT YOU CAN TRUST! ABOUT US
FILE THRU TRIAL™
First Legal is the first
First Legal simplifies the
comprehensive File Thru Trial™
litigation process from
solutions firm. For over 30
File Thru Trial™.
years, we have offered a streamlined experience with
From the beginning to end
of the litigation process or at any point in between, we are
Our five divisions work
COURT & PROCESS Court Filing Research Service of Process
INVESTIGATIONS Skip Trace Surveillance & Sub Rosa Difficult Service of Process
Subpoena & Authorization Services Document Management Deposition Officer Services
here for you.
together to tackle every assignment with precision
Our broad range of services help
simplify your workload.
Scanning & Copying eDiscovery Data Processing & Review
DEPOSITIONS Court Reporting Legal Videography Trial Services
Get in touch
CA PI: 24171, AZ PI: 1551710, NV LICENSE: NV PI-PS: 1452, FIRM NO: 094F
“Law without justice is a wound without a cure.” – William Scott Downey
FOR THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’
How the Practice of Law Will Change Following the Pandemic
Writtten By Nedda Ghandi, Esq. “Come gather ‘round people, wherever you roam And admit that the waters around you have grown And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone If your time to you is worth saving Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone For the times, they are a changin’.”
ob Dylan has been warning us all for over half a century – change with the times or “you’ll sink like a stone.” But attorneys are a stubborn and constant lot. We cling to traditions and so-called “best
12 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
practices” even when newer and better alternatives present themselves. We are often criticized for being resistant to change. The Covid pandemic forced our industry to move forward into the future in ways that many had doggedly resisted for years. Much of our lives, our offices, the court-room, the client-market, our day-to-day interactions, and thus, the practice of law itself – may never be the same. Let’s walk through some of the more important and visibly impacted changes that may just be here to stay.
Innovation is no longer seen as a threat. It is no secret that the legal profession has been
thought of as having a protectionist mindset that sees innovation as a threat. Like a game of whack-a-mole, wherever alternative forms of legal services delivery popped up, the organized bar or the “old guild” would be at the ready to pound them down. Even before the pandemic, attorneys were being challenged on its stance against new methods for delivering service and models for practicing in the modern world. However, the pandemic highlighted, in ways no studies or committees ever could, the fundamental shortcomings of the legal system as it was. A rigidly structured guild system of courts and services delivery, designed by lawyers for lawyers as their exclusive domain. The old system simply was not up to meeting the challenges of a world that demanded agility and flexibility. The pandemic forced the embrace of innovation on an accelerated scale and there is no going back. For years prior to the pandemic, in part because of the access-to-justice crisis and the growing numbers of self-represented litigants, courts have been overwhelmed by demand and underfunded to deal with it. Consumed
with the struggle to keep up with this demand, courts were unable to formulate the innovations that would help them keep up. But with the pandemic, there was a fundamental rethinking and restructuring of the courts. We found ourselves in a moment when the Courts could no longer function as the world paused even while the need for the service did not abate. Court adapted in the short-term allowing for telephonic and video appearances, offering more online services. And as the shortterm adaptations took root, the courts and practitioners realized that the adaptations were not only solving problems but were increasing efficiency and reducing costs. These shortterm adaptations will inevitably lead to long term changes. More legal services will be offered remotely and online. Many in the legal profession are learning for the first time what it means to deliver legal services remotely. Many others have been doing it to one extent or another for years. Others still are scrambling to come up with the capability. Turns out, Zoom (or BlueJeans or whatever your videoconferencing app of choice) is a perfectly
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 13
is considerable debate about the expanded use of remote telephonic and video technologies in the long term. Many have serious concerns regarding client access to necessary technology and connectivity, the potential impact on the attorney-client relationship, the effect on the perceived credibility of witnesses, and disengagement with the process. However, remote proceedings implemented well can offer substantial benefits to clients by offering expanded access to justice to indigent clients, avoiding the costs of travel, and allowing for shorter periods of missed employment. Remote participation in court proceedings will no doubt continue to be a vital tool. But the use of remote hearings will have to continue to be balanced against impacts, both positive and negative, on the rights of litigants. Law firms will change their structures and footprints. good way to meet with clients and colleagues. More to the point, in many cases, it is a superior way to meet. For busy clients running businesses or working a job, having to travel and set aside time to meet with a lawyer was incredibly inconvenient. For those struggling to find money to pay for an attorney, having to take time off of work to travel across town for a 30-minute meeting only exacerbated the issues of obtaining access to justice. The requirement of face-to-face lawyering was a detriment to many clients without many attorneys even realizing it. Legal professionals can serve more clients by meeting with them remotely, and do it at greater convenience and lower cost. The pandemic forced society to communicate in a different way and now that we all understand the benefits, remote meetings will become more the norm and less the exception. Remote court hearings also became common in most areas of practice during the pandemic. And even as we “return to normal,” many courts are continuing telephonic or video hearings particularly for motion practice. However, there 14 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
Because of the pandemic, almost every law firm had to develop processes for working remotely. For lawyers who firms were already more technologically adept, the ability to work from home was already in place. In fact, in recent years prior to the pandemic, many firms were already encouraging flexible, remote working arrangements for their employees. The driver of this trend was not just convenience, but economics. The more a firm could reduce its physical footprint, the more it could save on real estate, maintenance, and overhead costs. The pandemic forced this realization on the profession. Now, firms are seeing that they can go remote on a scale they never anticipated and still function quite efficiently. This has led many to question to what extent a firm’s physical offices are essential to the services it provides? While an office provides camaraderie, collaboration, and convenience, there can be no doubt that physical downsizing will be a lasting impact of this crisis. Many law firms in Nevada are not only continuing the remote practice but are also integrating office sharing and flexible
workspaces. are becoming environments. gave the legal future.
Flexible work arrangements the new normal in many legal In many ways, the pandemic profession a swift push into the
We have to work harder to connect and develop relationships. All of this innovation, remoting in, videoconferencing, and lack of in-person appearances provides the benefits of efficiency, reduced cost, and ease of access. However, it is not without obvious drawbacks. A critical component to the practice of law is the development of relationships with other attorneys and the building of a reputation with the Court. Without personal interactions, it can be difficult to foster positive relationships. We have lost the ability to discuss a case in person
before or after a hearing in order to try to resolve ongoing issues or reach a resolution. Remote practice will inevitably translate into a possible slide towards being inflammatory, inconsiderate and indifferent to attorneys who we can keep at a distance. When we do not have to look each other in the eye as we walk out of the courtroom, advocacy can take a turn towards admonishment and insults. Now, more than ever, we have to be proactive in communication with each other. We have to put ourselves out there. We will have to recommit ourselves to professional courtesies and ethical practice. All told, the pandemic has thrust innovations upon the practice of law that were past due. These innovations were not gradually made and come at the expense of personal connections. We will need to collectively be mindful of the impact of these innovations and learn the ebb and flow of the changing tide. As Bob said, “We better start swimmin’ or we’ll sink like a stone for the times, they are a changing’.” Nedda Ghandi, Esq., is the founding partner of Ghandi Deeter Blackham Law Offices. A Nevada native, Ghandi is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law and has practiced law in Las Vegas for 9 years. Ghandi has written numerous articles for publications concerning interesting developments in the law, and has been selected as a member of Nevada’s Legal Elite and as a Super Lawyer every year since 2013. Ghandi Deeter Blackham specializes in family law, bankruptcy, guardianship, and probate. Consultations may be scheduled by calling 702.878.1115 or visiting www.ghandilaw.com Nedda Ghandi, Esq., is the founding partner of Ghandi Deeter Blackham Law Offices. A Nevada native, Ghandi is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law and has practiced law in Las Vegas for 9 years. Ghandi has written numerous articles for publications concerning interesting developments in the law, and has been selected as a member of Nevada’s Legal Elite and as a Super Lawyer every year since 2013. Ghandi Deeter Blackham specializes in family law, bankruptcy, guardianship, and probate. Consultations may be scheduled by calling 702.878.1115 or visiting www. ghandilaw.com
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 15
COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION Written By Mark Fierro
He almost got away with it.
n the early morning hours of Jan. 3, 2015, psychologist Dr. Brent Dennis made a call to 911 from his Henderson home with the news that his wife, Susan Winters, was not breathing. Dennis told authorities that Susan, an attorney, had gone to bed shortly after 9 p.m. and that when he awoke, he found his wife unresponsive. Dennis said that his wife had been despondent and speculated that she may have ingested pain pills and antifreeze in order to commit suicide. After being rushed to the hospital, Susan Winters died at age 48 with a lethal amount of antifreeze and oxycodone in her system. (Full disclosure: Fierro Communications, Inc., worked on the case providing litigation support services.) After an initial cursory review of the matter that lasted approximately 88 minutes, according to Winters family attorney Tony Sgro, it appeared as if authorities had an easily closed case on their hands — a straightforward case of suicide, according to Henderson law enforcement officials. If you ever do find yourself accused of a
nefarious deed, Tony Sgro would have to be at the top of the list of attorneys you would want to contact to mount a defense. How ironic, then, that Sgro’s efforts ultimately aided the prosecution in this case. “When we first met, the family was very suspicious of the investigation that resulted in a ruling that Susan had committed suicide,” Sgro told Vegas Legal Magazine. “Susan’s parents, Avis and Danny Winters, simply did not believe that their daughter would ever commit suicide. They wanted to see an investigation that was done more thoughtfully and more thoroughly.” Sgro and his partner David Roger launched a private investigation into the death, revealing glaring inconsistencies with the story Brent Dennis was attempting to sell to the authorities. The probe drew a pinpoint focus on the search history and location data from Dennis’ cell phone. A crucial maneuver in the investigation, according to Sgro, entailed allowing Dennis to claim funds from Susan Winters’ insurance and stock holdings and subsequently suing to obtain Dennis’ cell phone records and location data. These records ultimately played a key role in the case.
One of the major factors to examine in determining if someone took her own life or if it was a homicide, according to Sgro, is whether the person was making plans for the future. “And Susan was making all kinds of plans for the next stage of her life,” Sgro said. “Some of the plans were things her husband did not even know about. For instance, one of the last text messages she ever sent was to a close friend of hers in which she essentially said, hey, I’m about ready to go on that double date we were talking about now. I think Brent and I are finally over. “She was ready to leave him.” Susan Winters was also planning to take the couple’s two daughters on trips to tour college campuses as well as making arrangements to open a family office in Oklahoma, where her parents are successful owners of multiple fast food franchises. The questions were adding up in the minds of Susan’s parents. If she was so despondent, why would she be making all these plans? Why was she planning to set up a new life? If it wasn’t a suicide, all indications pointed to Brent Dennis. “The night when she was incapacitated, the night before she would die, Brent Dennis was on the phone with her bank, transferring approximately $180,000 from her private account to his own account,” Sgro said. “The next thing he did was, on the first hour of the next business day, he called her life insurance carrier and said he wanted to claim the life insurance proceeds. After that, he began the negotiation process with the Winters family so he could obtain Susan’s interest in the stock that she possessed in their company. All told, within a very short period of time, he amassed approximately $2 million as a result of her death.” Sgro’s investigation also focused on Dennis’ cell
phone records, including call and text history, internet searches and location data. “We realized that although Brent Dennis told the police he was at home with Susan all night, his cell phone records made it clear that he was lying to police,” Sgro said. “His phone records showed that he was making telephone calls through that entire night and early morning. Not only was he on the phone literally all night long, but he was traveling. He was leaving his home. We were able to trace his travel from his home to the Orleans casino, which clearly meant he lied to the police on at least two fronts. Not only was he not home sleeping with his wife, but he was on the phone all night and as we learned, he had gone to meet his drug dealer at the Orleans.” The cell phone records along with an emerging timeline of the night in question made it increasingly clear that Dennis was involved in his wife’s death as opposed to it being a suicide, according to Sgro. “Susan was in bed by 9:30 or 10:00 at night. He called her bank about 10:00 or 10:30 to verify her account balances so he could begin making withdrawals,” Sgro said. “Around 2 in the morning, a bunch of telephone calls begin to his drug dealer. Not only is he speaking with his drug dealer, but you can see his travel path over to the Orleans to meet with his drug dealer.” While communicating and meeting with his drug dealer, Dennis also conducted a damning internet search, according to Sgro. “The search was something to the effect of: How long does it take somebody to die once they ingest antifreeze?” Sgro said. “You have to realize that at the time this search is done, approximately 5:30 a.m., Susan Winters is absolutely not ambulatory. She is literally dying. Someone else did the search, not her. So he’s online doing this research and he doesn’t call paramedics until about 45 minutes later.” Sgro noted that doctors at the hospital
commented on Dennis’ unusual behavior. “The doctors said it was very strange that Brent Dennis had approached them, as opposed to the doctors approaching him, to talk about orders related to a DNR, or do not resuscitate, order,” Sgro said. “So that timeline is very incriminating. You have a completely different version of events compared to what he told police.” Sgro credits KLAS-TV Channel 8 investigative reporter George Knapp for helping to drive awareness of the case. “It was an uphill struggle for the Winters family to get this case reopened,” Sgro said. “Law enforcement was not receptive at all. Even though the original investigation was only 88
minutes, which is woefully inadequate, it is very difficult to get law enforcement to reassess, reevaluate or reconsider their original opinion. It took a year and a half to two years to get the police to finally recognize that there was something there. Having said that, to their credit they did ultimately conclude that he needed to be arrested for murder. “Early in the process, the Winters family was able to get the attention of George Knapp at Channel 8. He met with them, he heard them out, and under his own volition he started making his own inquiries. In George Knapp, the Winters family had someone who was willing to hear their story and broadcast it, saying here is what is going on, and someone should be paying attention to this.” The investigation led Henderson police to reopen the case, and in February 2017 Dennis was arrested on a murder charge. Ultimately, Dennis pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in January 2022 through an Alford plea, meaning he admitted only that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him if the case went to trial. In May 2022, Dennis, age 59, was sentenced to 3-10 years in prison by District Judge Michelle Leavitt. Sgro described the Winters family’s reaction to Dennis’ sentencing as bittersweet. “You’re not happy to be reminded of the death of your loved one, but coupled with that is a sense of relief that the case is finally concluding,” Sgro said. “It was an interesting dynamic that the defense tried to portray. They tried to portray Brent Dennis as the victim of the overreach of Susan’s parents. Clearly there’s never going to be any remorse, because in the defendant’s opinion there was nothing to be remorseful about. But the Winters family was very close and very adamant. They never believed their daughter
would commit suicide, and they were right.”
on national TV news programs.
Mark Fierro began his career as a reporter/ anchor at KLAS-TV, the CBS television station in Las Vegas. He worked at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. He served as communications consultant on IPO road shows on Wall Street. He provided litigation support for the Michael Jackson death trial. He is president of Fierro Communications, Inc., which conducts mock juries and focus groups in addition to public relations and marketing. Fierro is the author of several books including “Road Rage: The Senseless Murder of Tammy Meyers.” He has made numerous appearances
Jeff Haney serves as Executive Vice President of Operations for Fierro Communications, where he works closely with Mark Fierro in developing and directing all media, marketing, research, consulting and public relations strategies for Fierro Communications’ clients including those in business, government, the legal field and cutting-edge high technology.
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 19
LAS VEGAS ICON JOHN MORAN, JR. By Mark Fierro and Jeff Haney
hen he retired as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission in September as the longest-serving gaming commissioner in state history, John Moran Jr. left behind one of the most extraordinary legacies in Nevada public service, only to embark upon the next chapter of his distinguished career in the legal arena. A Las Vegan through and through, Moran was 6 weeks old when he arrived here with his parents in 1946. A graduate of Fifth Street Elementary School and Western High School, Moran served his country in Vietnam with the Navy before returning to earn his degree at UNLV in 1971 and his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles in 1975. Before entering public service, Moran established the Moran Law Firm. In private practice, Moran represented many of the original players who made Las Vegas what it is today.
Moran never lost the common touch. Whenever he was asked about what type of law he practiced or who he preferred to represent, Moran would invariably answer: “Anyone who comes up the stairs.” A son of late Clark County Sheriff John Moran Sr., Moran met his wife Marilyn, daughter of Stardust hotel-casino president Herb Tobman, when she was working in the cage at the Stardust and Moran was a lifeguard at the hotel’s pool. Married in 1970, the couple have four married children and seven grandchildren. In addition to serving a record 14 years on the Gaming Commission, Moran served as a member and chairman of both the Colorado River Commission and the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners. He was appointed to the three state commissions, and as chairman, by five different Nevada governors, two Democrats and three Republicans: Govs. Bob Miller, Kenny Guinn, Jim Gibbons, Brian Sandoval and Steve
Sisolak. After resigning from the Nevada Gaming Commission, Moran joined the Clark Hill law firm this year as senior counsel of the Government & Regulatory Affairs Business Unit in Las Vegas. A colleague of Moran’s at Clark Hill is his son, John “J.T.” Moran, who focuses on legislation and regulatory projects at the firm and represents clients with gaming matters in the U.S. as well as international jurisdictions. “I was in law school and J.T. was in diapers,” Moran says. “We were living in a little apartment at the time and we had two baby cribs, J.T.’s and his sister’s. Every morning without fail I’d hear a loud thump on the old wooden floor of these apartments that were built in the 1940s. It was J.T. who would pull himself up in the crib, swing his leg over, hang off and then drop. It would go thump. I’d tell Marilyn he’s going to come sliding in here any moment. And here he would come. So I go way back to my law school days with J.T. “Now, I’m very fortunate to have an office next to my son’s.” Vegas Legal Magazine recently sat down with John Moran Jr. for a wide-ranging conversation about his remarkable life and career in public service, the gaming industry and the legal field. Vegas Legal Magazine: Even with your long and storied career in law and public service, you still have affectionate memories of your early jobs in Las Vegas. John Moran Jr.: When I was about 14 we were living on a little street called Santa Paula just off what was then called San Francisco, the old name for Sahara Avenue. My dad knew I wanted to go to work. I had seven lawns I cut in the neighborhood but I wanted to feel like I had a real job. My dad took me down to juvenile to get me a card to work underage, and he got me a job working for Jackie Gaughan at the El Cortez. I worked the showroom there as a busboy. When I would get off, my dad told
[longtime police officer] Julie Goldberg to pull up at the El Cortez to pick me up after my shift. So every night after I got off, I walked out the side door of the El Cortez and I’d get right into Julie Goldberg’s patrol car. He would say, “Johnny, get in the back seat so nobody sees you.” As soon as we got off Fremont he’d say, “Johnny, climb over and sit up here with me.” So I went home every night in a patrol car. VLM: Your father, John Moran, was a pioneer in Las Vegas in his own right. Moran: He joined the Marines in 1941 as an enlisted man and fought in virtually all the major battles including Iwo Jima. He ended up having two battlefield commissions and came out of the service as an officer. He was going over the side of a landing ship for the last big invasion, which was Okinawa, one of the deadliest battles of World War II. His foot got caught in the net and he broke his ankle so he ended up not going through with it. If it wasn’t for that, we may not be even sitting here talking today. Isn’t that incredible? VLM: You were originally appointed to the Nevada Gaming Commission, which oversees the state’s gaming industry, by Gov. Guinn in 2004. What was your relationship with Guinn like? Moran: He was respected by everyone, not just Republicans or not just Democrats. He was a clear thinker, he was honest, he was highly intelligent and a very accomplished man. I used to love being able to go to lunch with him. He always had a smile on his face and a zip in his step. People would come up to him and he would just love to talk to everyone. Kenny Guinn was very centered and professional, direct, never told lies about anyone. He reminded me a lot of my dad in that way. VLM: Moving forward a bit, another major figure you dealt with closely was Sheldon Adelson. What were the dynamics of working with Adelson?
Moran: Adelson was incredible. He understood the politics of the Clark County Commission very well, and he always worked very hard to make sure he had the right arrows in his quiver when dealing with the commission. At that point he was building the Venetian on the site of the Sands, which I represented in the old days, and he had a little tiny fly in the ointment — the LeWinter brothers, who owned the Rosewood Grille, which was famous for the giant lobsters. Their place was dead center in the middle of Adelson’s plans to build the Venetian right there. The LeWinter brothers came to me and said, “Everything we’re trying to do, Adelson is putting up roadblocks. He built a garage so now we look like we’re at the bottom of a well. He built a big sign that obscures our entranceway. He’s trying to force us out.” They said to me, “Will you go up against Adelson at the County Commission?” I said, “My pleasure.” I went to the first meeting, and Adelson is there. I beat him. I walk out. They put it back on for another date in another month. Adelson shows up and he has a different attorney. I beat
him again. The third meeting I show up, and by now Adelson and I respect each other. This time I said, “Sheldon, who do you have for an attorney this time? I beat your last two.” He says, “John, I’m doing this one myself.’ I said, “That is music to my ears. I will see you at the microphone.” I beat him yet again. VLM: During your career, you were able to view the expansion of gambling not only internationally, but in the U.S., as it spread from Nevada to New Jersey to tribal casinos and riverboats through today, when full-fledged casinos can be found all over the country. Moran: As I watched that happen, I was thinking: How long was it going to take for all the good things gaming brings to become evident in all those different states? How long was it going to take for the lightbulbs to go on over the heads of the leaders in those states? Because when the lightbulb goes on, we in Nevada now have more serious competitors. It’s like with the expansion of sports betting more recently. But overall, I liked to see it because there’s still
only one Las Vegas. There is no place like Las Vegas and there never will be. There is no place that offers the kind of energy and excitement that Las Vegas does. All those people in other states, when they want to vacation and have a good time, they’re not going to do it in their own back yard. They’re going to want to come to Las Vegas. VLM: Clark Hill, your destination after retiring as chairman of the Gaming Commission, is a high-profile law firm with a major international presence. Moran: When I ask myself how I arrived here, I just think that any kind of a relationship in law is based on a foundation that has trust, honesty, hard work and fair dealing at its core. Having a good organization and a good name is of the utmost importance to me. Other firms reached out to me but I wasn’t really interested. When I was considering Clark Hill, my son was speaking highly of them and I wanted to know the kind of people who were there. And names like Dominic Gentile, Paola Armeni, John Hunt and many others were the kind of exceptional lawyers and fine people I wanted to be involved with.
Mark Fierro began his career as a reporter/ anchor at KLAS-TV, the CBS television station in Las Vegas. He worked at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. He served as communications consultant on IPO road shows on Wall Street. He provided litigation support for the Michael Jackson death trial. He is president of Fierro Communications, Inc., which conducts mock juries and focus groups in addition to public relations and marketing. Fierro is the author of several books including “Road Rage: The Senseless Murder of Tammy Meyers.” He has made numerous appearances on national TV news programs. Jeff Haney serves as Executive Vice President of Operations for Fierro Communications, where he works closely with Mark Fierro in developing and directing all media, marketing, research, consulting and public relations strategies for Fierro Communications’ clients including those in business, government, the legal field and cutting-edge high technology.
VLM: With the Gaming Commission behind you, what are your next goals? Moran: I want to be a good team player at Clark Hill. I think their goals are phenomenal. I think we can be a powerful team. I think if we look at gaming from an attorney and law firm standpoint, there’s a lot of things that can be accomplished by getting universally involved in all of the firm’s locations in places that already have gaming or may be getting gaming. More states are really opening up. I think that’s very fertile ground. How valuable would that be for casino owners in our neck of the woods, as they expand, to have a law firm in their corner that can help them not only where they started, but also in other locations where they want to go next? VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 23
Practitioner Profile Amanda Laub, Esq., of Laub Law A
manda has spent her career fighting for plaintiffs in personal injury cases since she first arrived in Las Vegas in 2014. With a background in psychology, Amanda realized early on that her compassion for clients and her ability to empathize gave her an edge—making her an outstanding advocate.
me to take their hand and walk them through it. My clients come from all different backgrounds, so their struggles are all unique to them. Being able to provide them a service that is tailored to their individual needs is a core value of my firm that I get to continue to develop each and every day I practice.
Throughout her legal career she has prided herself on her ability to truly listen to her clients, coming up with solutions that are legally savvy and personally tailored. Further, Amanda’s trial experience allows her to fully analyze each case with a deep understanding of the process. Amanda uses her unique background and talent to aggressively pursue justice for her clients. In her spare time, she gives back to the community by practicing pro bono through the Nevada Legal Aid Center’s Children’s Attorney Project.
VLM: What was your most memorable case?
Amanda’s dedication to strengthening the personal injury litigation community is exemplified in her work cofounding the Nevada Justice Association’s Annual Mock Trial Competition. Through this competition, students now have the rare opportunity to practice their advocacy abilities in a trial setting before leaving law school. This endeavor not only demonstrates Amanda’s dedication to becoming an excellent trial attorney, but also shows her commitment to bettering Nevada’s legal community. Amanda sat down with us to share a little more about herself and her practice. VLM: What does being an attorney mean to you? AL: Being an attorney is a privilege I simply don’t take lightly. The gift I get to have as an attorney is the positive impact I can have on my clients’ lives through my work. There’s that old proverb that says to choose a career you enjoy, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Sure, some days it feels like work – a lot of work – but seeing a client’s excitement at the time of resolution is so worth it. My heart feels whole when I can make someone’s day better, and a lot of my clients are coming to me during the most difficult times in their life. It’s such an honor that they trust
AL: The most memorable case I’ve had so far was helping serve a brother and sister through the Pro Bono Children’s Attorney Project of the Southern Nevada Legal Aid Center. The siblings had lost both parents and were in separate group homes. I spent two years helping the siblings navigate the family law courts to help set them up for their futures. Throughout the case, I grew an attachment to them as if they were my own and took every failure of the state personally. It gave me an inside look of how child protective services works, tries to work, and their deficiencies. This was all very difficult on my clients who, despite their cognitive disabilities, knew what they were entitled to, they just didn’t know how to assert those rights. The younger sibling was very hard to win over because of the trauma he endured growing up. When he finally started talking to me after months of me trying, I was able to hear how much he appreciated me helping him and his sister. By far, it has been my most memorable case as it was deeply rewarding. I continue to help children in need by working of counsel for a firm that does special education law, empowering parents to assert their rights in pursuing free appropriate public education for their children. The work I do with my own firm is very rewarding – helping those who are injured or otherwise at the lowest points in their lives – but helping children holds a special place in my heart. It’s simply wonderful that I am able to do both. VLM: Have you ever experienced a situation where you had to support a legal position that conflicted with your personal beliefs? If so, how did you handle it? AL: Luckily, there have not been many. One experience
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 27
that stands out is when I worked at a firm where I was directed by the supervising attorney to do things that I did not agree with, such as file certain motions or hold certain positions. In those situations, I do what I can to get my client the best outcome. Specifically, I will spend hours researching the law to ensure that we have the best chance for success. Once I feel like I know the legal argument in and out, I have an honest conversation with the client about what I think and the different outcomes we can anticipate. For me, honesty and clarity with my clients is crucial. Most of my clients have never had to go through the legal process before, so I make sure that when I speak with them, I try to keep out as much legalese as possible and take the time explain the legal words that they need to know. This helps my clients come to informed decisions in moving forward. One of the reasons I decided to start my own law firm was to be able to work directly with my clients in coming to informed decisions on their cases without another attorney dictating what should be done or which position to hold. Some clients are very determined in their positions, so I rely on my knowledge and experience to try to guide them to reasonable positions. At the end of the day, I work for my clients and will do whatever I can to ensure that they are making decisions on their case that are at the very least informed. I look at those situations as learning opportunities instead of obstacles, which really helps my approach. VLM: Has there ever been a situation that tested the limits of your patience? Do you have any advice for handling those moments? AL: I feel that everyone has moments that test their patience. For me, something that I have found recently with the backlog of litigation and criminal cases, is that there are some hearings that will take up to four hours to be called. Having the option to have some virtual hearings help, but not all criminal hearings can be virtual. It’s difficult because that is four hours during the workday I can’t get to my other cases. During these instances, I try to have my email available to check, and most importantly, my main office line can receive texts. I highly encourage my clients to text that line if there is an urgent need and they can’t get a hold of me because I can answer those texts while I’m waiting for my case to be called. Fortunately, the judges who have longer hearings tend to be understanding and don’t mind if you must step out and come back in, as long as you notify the bailiff. Another instance that happens more in my civil litigation practice than in my criminal practice is having an unyielding opposing counsel. What I mean, is when there is an opposing attorney who either comes to conclusions not supported by law or chooses to hold a position that negates compromise and refuses to be reasonable. With those instances, the only thing you really can do is know the law and file a motion. Sometimes motion work is the only way you can keep a case moving. Earlier in my practice,
this behavior from opposing counsel used to frustrate me and get under my skin much more, but I’ve found that the more you give into it, the more you will be arguing with emotion rather than fact and law. When an argument is not centered in fact and law, it is more likely to be a losing argument. Now, I look at it and when I file my motion or opposition, I try to stay as concise and law-centered as possible to make it easier on the judge or whomever is deciding the issue to understand and apply which rules/ laws are appropriate. VLM: What is your best piece of advice for new attorneys looking to start their own firm? AL: The number one thing I would say is to make sure you are starting to cultivate relationships now. I don’t know what I would have done without the support of my colleagues. In law school, I was very active in going to events and participating in organizations. That’s really helped me create friendships in our community. Those friends have sent me referrals, as well as given me much needed advice and support. During this process, humility is important. I’m the type of person that sometimes feels weak when I need to ask for help, but there are so many people out there who get fulfillment (like myself) out of helping others. I have to remind myself that I, myself, get joy out of helping and mentoring others, so I shouldn’t deprive others of that joy in helping or mentoring me. There have been so many people in our legal community who have reached out or have made themselves available for a lunch where I can ask them questions. It’s probably the best thing about the Las Vegas legal community. If you don’t feel like you know anyone who would be there for you, then join an organization. Many of our legal organizations have special resources for new solos. I personally belong to the Nevada Justice Association and the American Inns of Court. Both of those organizations value mentorship and have been incredible resources for me. Before starting on my own, I hadn’t taken any business classes, but I knew that there are resources out there for new businesses. The Small Business Association (SBA) is incredible and has many branches. The SBA has a wealth of information, even an online course that you can take in your own time. There are also mentors through their branches who will give you 15 minutes to an hour of their time and walk you through wherever you are at in your business planning process. I was pleasantly surprised with just how many resources there are. I’m also participating in the State Bar’s Incubator Program, which has been extremely helpful. Also, practice listening. Every person I meet now, I make sure to really listen to what they are saying because there are many people who may not have your exact experiences or goals that gives you that golden piece advice that you needed right then. It’s all a process, so remembering that being patient with not just yourself but with client acquisition and income will take you far. It’s hard work and emotionally taxing, but most attorneys I know are highly
other when someone was in need, without question or judgment. It was this that encouraged my deep desire to help others. On the contrary, my dad’s side of the family valued educational and career success. They cared about others in our family, but valued autonomy. That means that they would help someone just enough so that the person in need would need to problem solve and find sustainable solutions for themselves so they could grow. This perspective instilled a competitive drive in me, while giving me the courage to believe in myself. Thanks to this dichotomy, I was able to put myself through school so that I could help others. Originally, I pursued psychology degree in my undergrad. I loved learning and was fascinated by the neuroscience component of my studies. While working two jobs and going to school fulltime, I interned at the Carter Lab helping with fMRI research on schizophrenia. My goal was to graduate and go on to a PhD program to continue researching to help those with mental disorders.
resilient. VLM: What made you decide to start your own law firm? AL: My decision to start my own law firm was based on my limitations working for a law firm. In my experience, working for another law firm, you must follow the lead of the owners and the only decisions you can really make are day to day decisions you come to with a client. There’s so much more freedom in working for myself when it comes to hours I work, which clients I work with, and the image I want to portray to the community. It’s really an investment in myself and my clients. I get to work with my clients in a way that I can control now. The attorneyclient relationship truly is a “relationship” in that I learn their style of communication and their personality, which will allow for me to bring the same level of experience to them next time they need legal assistance. VLM: What made you decide to be an attorney? AL: I’ve been lucky in growing up with many attorneys on my dad’s side of the family, so I got to see at a really young age how much difference attorneys can make in the lives around them. While my parents raised me with modest means, I was given the gift of having successful lawyers around who constantly told me that I could become anyone I wanted to be. On my mom’s side of family, I was the first one to graduate any sort of college. Since her family were also of modest means and approached life with a communal spirit, they taught me that our relationships and resilience are two of the most important values in life. They took care of each
In my final year at UC Davis, I met the former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, at my uncle Arnie Laub’s birthday party. There, Mr. Brown spoke to me about his journey going through law school – that he couldn’t even afford the bus and would have to hitchhike to get to class. We continued to talk about all the great things he was able to accomplish in his pursuit to help others. This was beyond inspiring and deeply moving. That conversation was the catalyst to my legal career. I realized the profound impact a legal career could have on one community, and the fire in me to make a change in other’s lives was fueled. Becoming a lawyer is one of my great accomplishments for my personal life, and I hope to continue use my license to make positive changes in my clients’ lives. VLM: What is your favorite and least favorite part of being an attorney? AL: The best part of being an attorney is helping those in need. I get to wake up and share my talents in a way that can positively change someone’s life – what can be better than that? My least favorite part of being an attorney is probably taking the calls where the potential clients are really injured and not only is there no avenue of recovery, there’s also no support for them outside of the law. For example, one of my former traffic citation clients is an older woman here in town. She just kept causing car crashes. One crash she got into was very serious and sent her to the hospital. The crash was very clearly her fault. My heart aches for her as is now in debt for her medical expenses but, most importantly, is injured without any family members around to take care of her. This career for me is not all about getting justice for clients, it’s about the people who are involved. I have found that to be a great advocate for my clients, it’s more than just the legal battles they are up
against; a lot of it has to do with having the compassion to meet clients where they are to really understand their needs. There are so many examples where clients are in similar situations to this, yet there just isn’t much an attorney can do. VLM: What is your passion outside of law? AL: This is a good question. The thing is, I have many passions. I remember a time when I was in my early 20s that I got upset that all my friends had a “thing” they were passionate about and I didn’t, but my best friend told me that my “thing” is “things”. Her statement really opened my eyes in that I have many passions and dive deeply into all of them. I’m passionate about my beliefs, learning, being in nature, and my pets. I have two cats and a dog. They are my world. Being so busy all the time can be isolating and exhausting, but they keep me grounded. I have had my oldest cat (fourteen years old) since he was so little, his eyes were not even open. Meanwhile, I got my pup in the middle of Covid, which is why I named him Keshet; Keshet means rainbow in Hebrew. He was my quarantine rainbow. Being able to go home and take my dog on a walk or to the park is literally a breath of fresh air; it’s refreshing after being in an office all day.
When I go to visit him, we usually go hiking, snowboarding, or out on the boat in the summer. It’s so much fun. VLM: Finally…what do you love most about Vegas? AL: The food! I’m a big foodie. Cooking is another passion I forgot to mention but being able to go out and taste someone else’s creation is such a delight. Getting to try something new, whether it is a new type of food, or a new combination of ingredients is so enjoyable. There’s so much creativity out there and Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the world to explore. Sometimes when I try something new in a restaurant, I will try to replicate it at home. It may not always be as good as the restaurant’s version, but it’s just another opportunity to learn and grow my culinary skills. Most importantly, I love the community. I’ve been in Las Vegas for eight years now, and I have found a home in the community here. Most everyone I’ve met is so supportive
Throughout law school and bar study, weightlifting and meditation were huge passions of mine that I made sure to do both at least five times a week. I also love hiking and camping, which I would go hiking at least once a month and camping maybe once a season. That all changed about four years ago when my mom passed away. My mom used to be my biggest cheerleader and best friend, so when she passed away, I threw myself even more into my work and neglected my passions. In the last year, I’ve started rediscovering myself and what I’m passionate about. Right now, I have a morning ritual where I spend some time with my dog, drink hot lemon water, and watch the news. After that, I go to my plants I’ve started recently growing. It’s a little exciting to watch their growth when I go to water them each day. Gardening has been such a nice reprieve. I started gardening just last October when I purchased some bonsai seeds. Only one bonsai lived through the winter, a delonix regia (flame tree). For bonsais, you can’t start wiring them and changing their shape until they are about two years old. This one is still less than a year, but it feels incredible creating life out of just a seed and nurturing it to its potential. There are also some flowers I planted, including sunflowers in my backyard. I’m not sure if the flowers will make it through winter yet since I just recently planted them, but it’s still exciting to see how big they are getting. Now that it’s summer it’s time for boating! I love all things boating, watersports, picnics on the beach, swimming, etc. I grew up in Sacramento and most of my dad’s family are in Tahoe, so I basically grew up on the lake. My grandpa has always been very physically active and encouraged us to go out and try watersports until we got the hang of it.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident or has been arrested, Amanda can be reached at (702) 329-LAUB (5282) or email@example.com.
ECONOMIC EXPERT CURRENT ECONOMIC QUARTERLY COMMENTARY
By Kyle Lauterhahn and Stan V. Smith, Ph.D.
he price of a muffin at my favorite convenience store is up 30 percent in recent months. But this muffin is not 30 percent larger, the blueberries are not 30 percent fresher, and the convenience store is not 30 percent more convenient. So why am I paying 30 percent more money? This price increase is the result of a reduction in the value of money, also known as inflation. Each reader has surely seen similar increases in prices at the grocery store, on restaurant menus, at the gas pump, or at the car dealership. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index During 2021 average consumer prices nationwide increased by 7 percent. With prices rising by that amount, if you did not receive a pay raise of 7 percent or more from the last year you are actually getting pay cut - not fun. Some readers of this magazine may remember the high inflation of the 1970s, where inflation was in excess of 5 percent per year every year from 1973 to 1982. Due to the force of compounding, a $100 bill printed in January 1973 had only the buying power of $43.56 by January 1983. Fortunately, a host of policies and factors has kept inflation below 5 percent in each year but one from 1983 to 2020, including not exceeding 4 percent in any year from 1992 to 2020. Inflation is by no means a problem limited to the pandemic recovery era - or the disco era. In the 14th century, the King of Mali, Mansa Musa (possibly the richest single person to ever live), made the hajj trek from his kingdom in western Africa to Mecca in modern Saudi Arabia.
When the king’s caravan passed through Egypt, he added so much gold to the local economy through spending and gifts that the value of gold was depressed for a decade. A similar depression in the value of precious metals occurred in the 16th century as Spanish galleons brought gold and silver plundered from the Americas back to Europe. In both instances from centuries ago the value of money fell as the supply of money (gold and silver at the time) increased. In our modern era the culprit for inflation is likely also an increase in the supply of money. Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize winner and a professor of Dr. Smith’s at the University of Chicago, once said that “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” Dr. Friedman is notable for contributions to the economic school of “Monetarism” and the quantity theory of money. In the formula for the quantity theory of money, inflation across the economy is a function of the quantity of money and the speed at which money is spent. From March 2020 through March 2022 the Federal Reserve made purchases of mortgage-backed bonds of over $2.5 trillion. In 2020 President Trump signed three separate pandemic-related stimulus spending bills totaling $3.6 trillion. In March 2021 President Biden signed pandemic-related spending a bill totaling $1.9 trillion. A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon we’re talking about real money. The inflation impact of these infusions of money have only been compounded by constricted global supply chains as a result of the pandemic.
Setting aside the cause of inflation, it is very valuable to look at the impact of inflation. Inflation is often borne by those who can least afford it - people with lower incomes spend a greater proportion of their money on food and fuel, which can be more variable in price. Another concern is when a dollar amount is fixed, and the buying power of this dollar amount erodes year over year. A common example of this is retirement savings – an individual works his or her whole career, building up a “nest egg” for retirement, only to have the value of that fund eroded by inflation. For readers of the magazine a noteworthy concern of inflation is the impact on fixed caps on damages in lawsuits. In November 2004 the voters of the Silver State approved the “Keep Our Doctors in Nevada” referendum, limiting non-economic damages to $350,000 in medical malpractice matters. As a result of 18 years of inflation, the $350,000 cap approved by voters of November 2004 is now only equal to $235,000 in year 2004 dollars – a $115,000 haircut for medical malpractice plaintiffs. Would a majority of Nevada voters approve a $235,000 cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice today? If injured parties in medical malpractice cases were protected against inflation with regular increases to the cap on damages, as of 2022 plaintiffs could argue for $520,000 in compensation for non-economic elements of damage. Regular increases related inflation are commonplace in both the public and private sectors – minimum wage in Nevada has increased 89 percent from $5.15 per hour in 2004 to $9.75 per hour in 2022; the NFL team salary cap has increased 126 percent from $80.582 million for the 2004 season to $182.5 million for the 2021 season. The state of Maryland provides for annual increases on the caps on non-economic damages, which has increased by 42 percent from 2004 to 2022.
individuals may be far greater than what damage caps allow. Considering the inherent lack of justice and the compounding effect of inflation on caps for non-economic damages, Nevada lawmakers need to re-examine such caps on damages. Stan V. Smith, Ph.D., is VLM’s Quarterly Economics Columnist and president of Smith Economics Group, Ltd., headquartered in Chicago. Trained at the University of Chicago (one of the world’s pre-eminent institutions for the study of economics and the home of the law and economics movement), Smith has also taught at the university and co-authored the first textbook on the subject of economic damages. A nationally-renowned expert in economics who has testified nationwide in personal injury, wrongful death and commercial damages cases, Smith has assisted thousands of law firms in successful results for both plaintiffs and defendants, including the U.S. Department of Justice. To that end, Smith also developed the first course in forensic economics at DePaul University, and pioneered the concept of “hedonic damages,” testifying about the topic in landmark cases. His work has been featured in the ABA Journal, National Law Journal, and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Kyle Lauterhahn is a Senior Economic Analyst at Smith Economics Group in Chicago. Smith Economics Group, Ltd., is located at 1165 N. Clark Street, Suite 600, Chicago, IL, 60610. Dr. Smith may be reached at 312-943-1551, and at Stan@SmithEconomics. com.
The concern for inflation eating away at the value of capped medical malpractice damages sets aside the many other concerns for damage caps. These include the arbitrary application to caps only in medical malpractice; the lack of accountability for reckless medical providers; the imbalance of incentives for plaintiff’s and defense attorneys; and the fact that the damages suffered by
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 33
LOMBARDO SUPPORTERS “BELIEVE” SHERIFF WILL BE THE NEXT NEVADA GOVERNOR
By: Valerie Miller
oe Lombardo seems quite at ease on a Sunday afternoon in May, as he does a remote radio interview. Seated at a booth inside a local Henderson casino restaurant, the Clark County sheriff answers a variety of questions about his candidacy for Nevada governor. Lombardo, who was the odds-on favorite to be the Republican nominee for governor going into the June primary, was in an enviable position of having a largesse of campaign funds, and a sizeable lead against the other Republican contenders. Things only got better for the two-term sheriff when he won the Republican party’s mostcoveted endorsement: the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. It was an endorsement that was undoubtedly desired by all of his major Republican opponents. Trump’s formal support of Lombardo meant that it was far less likely that one of his opponents
could make a last-minute charge at his lead. While many of Lombardo’s challengers were aligning themselves with Trump-style conservatism, it was the sheriff who got the 45th president’s formal blessing. Soon, television ads for Lombardo would tout the Trump endorsement. The still-popular former president has a mind-boggling track record of picking winners in the primaries over the last year. “This Primary is Over” While the Republican primary was not until June 14th, the frontrunner for governor was already eyeing the general election in November. During a televised May 25th Republican primary debate, Lombardo voiced his confidence that the race to be the GOP’s nominee was wrapped up.
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 35
After withstanding almost non-stop criticism from challengers (including being called “Sanctuary Joe” for his immigration policies as sheriff), Lombardo made his closing remarks: “For all practical purposes, this primary is over.” Citing his large lead and his Trump endorsement, Lombardo called on his opponents on the debate stage – which included former Sen. Dean Heller, attorney Joey Gilbert, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee and businessman Guy Nohra – to “come together” and now aim their criticism at Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Whether that unity happens or not, remains to be seen. But, on a recent Sunday afternoon in Henderson, Lombardo looked confident as he sat at a large corner booth at the Emerald Island Casino. The sheriff is surrounded by supporters, including the radio show’s host – Alan Stock. The KXNT radio personality, and political commentator, is enthusiastic about Lombardo’s
36 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
chances of ultimately beating Sisolak in the November general election. “He’s a popular figure from Clark County and, despite the misrepresentations about his accomplishments, he has helped to keep this county safe,” Stock praises. Some of Stock’s highest praise of Lombardo comes from those tumultuous days in the summer of 2020, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “When riots of 2020 were destroying city after city across the country, Sheriff Joe Lombardo made sure that we would remain a safe tourist destination while upholding the constitutional rights of those who wanted to protest,” Stock maintains. “When individual accusations were made against Metro, (Lombardo) dispelled those accusations point by point with documented videos to support his claims.”
The frontrunner is often challenged on whether he is conservative enough. Apparently, Lombardo was conservative enough to earn Trump’s endorsement. Stock also defends Lombardo’s conservative credentials. “Contrary to what some people might try to portray him as, he is a conservative,” the radio host contends. “My many discussions with (Joe Lombardo) over the years have borne that out. He’s even-keeled and will take the time to assess whatever the needs happen to be -- and (he) will implement the actions that would best address those needs.”
sponsored the recent radio show featuring Lombardo. Brooks, who prefers not to identify with one political party, is nevertheless open about his support for Lombardo. While Brooks says he considers Gov. Sisolak “a friend,” the casino owner disagrees with Sisolak’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, he points to the governor’s lack of effective communication with residents during the 2020 shutdown of the Silver State. Sisolak’s labeling of some businesses – and workers -- as “nonessential” also bothered Brooks.
“I believe that all jobs are essential to those who have those jobs,” the casino owner counters.
Lombardo also has a staunch supporter in Emerald Island Casino owner Tim Brooks, who
“Jobs are essential to the people who use them to support their families.”
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 37
Brooks also considers Lombardo as a probusiness candidate who “will not raise taxes” as governor. A Rise through the Ranks Joe Lombardo is a longtime resident of Las Vegas. Lombardo, who is also an Army veteran, lives in Las Vegas with his wife Donna. The couple’s two grown daughters also live in Las Vegas. The family of Joe Lombardo’s moved to Las Vegas in 1976, when Joe was in his early teens. He would go on to get his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (Lombardo would also later earn his master’s degree from UNLV, in 2006). But after completing his undergraduate degree from the university, Lombardo came to the conclusion that a traditional 9-to-5 job was just not for him. “After graduating from UNLV, I took my first steps into the business world and I quickly realized that I did not want to work behind a 38 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
desk all my life; I wanted something that was more exciting and adventurous,” Lombardo recalled in a 2018 interview with Vegas Legal Magazine. After joining Metro in 1988, the young Joe Lombardo craved the excitement of being a cop on the beat, fighting crime. “Early in my police career, I found that I loved the action, being on the streets, and the rush of adrenaline that comes with responding to crimes. I was hooked,” he reminisced in that same 2018 Vegas Legal interview. “There was nothing more gratifying than putting handcuffs on a violent criminal, who had been preying upon the community.” Lombardo was rising through the ranks at Metro, and gaining recognition. He was promoted to police sergeant in 1996. During that time as sergeant, Lombardo would be awarded the Meritorious Service Award for outstanding service to the Las Vegas community. A promotion to lieutenant would follow in 2001,
and by 2006, Lombardo was named captain. He would serve as bureau commander for the Southwest Area Command before becoming the bureau commander for homeland security. The rise of Joe Lombardo continued in 2008, when he was appointed deputy chief, and served as division commander of support operations. Lombardo would climb to division commander of the patrol division, where he oversaw Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), among other divisions. In 2011, Lombardo was appointed assistant sheriff. In 2014, Lombardo retired from Metro after 26 years and was elected sheriff of Clark County.
Casino owner says. “I do believe Joe Lombardo will be the next governor of Nevada,” Brook predicts. “And, I believe having Joe as governor will be a positive step forward for all businesses – both small and large – in the state of Nevada.” Valerie Miller is a Las Vegas Valley-based journalist. She can be reached at (702) 6833986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2018, Lombardo bested a handful of opponents in the race for sheriff and was reelected to a second term as sheriff. Winning Streak Lombardo was two-for-two in big political races going into the 2022 elections. If polling – and the Trump endorsement – are any indications, Joe Lombardo is poised to go three-for-three with a Republican primary win in June. Perhaps the bigger question now is: Can Joe Lombardo keep his undefeated streak going in November, by unseating the incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak? Tim Brooks and Alan Stock certainly seem to think so. Following the radio show’s conclusion, the two men put on “Lombardo” baseball caps and posed for a picture with the sheriff-turnedcandidate for governor. Brooks, who makes his living in a business revolving around winners and losers, contends he is backing a winner in Lombardo. “While the other contenders – as well as Sisolak -- are good candidates, Joe is head and shoulders above the rest,” the Emerald Island
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 39
Business BUSINESS Report
“People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to love the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not.” – Mark Manson
Business Spotlight REAL ESTATE AGENTS BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: (702) 496-9302 MITCH FULFER, REALTOR ADG REALTY: (702) 315-6100 KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY: (702) 212-2222 FOSTER REALTY, LLC: (702) 552-0120 XTREME REALTY: (702) 384-7253
PRESTON P. REZAEE, ESQ.: (702) 222-3476 ROSS GOODMAN, ESQ.: (702) 383-5088 DALLAS HORTON, ESQ.: (702) 380-3100 J. MALCOLM DEVOY, ESQ.: (702) 669-4636 NEDDA GHANDI, ESQ.: (702) 878-1115 AMANDA LAUB, ESQ.: (702) 329- 5282
MORTGAGE COMPANIES RED ROCK MORTGAGE: (702) 320-9595 ALDERUS MORTGAGE: (702) 255-5783 VALLEY VIEW HOME LOANS: (702) 710-5626 FIRST OPTION MORTGAGE: (702) 669-5400 FAMILY MORTGAGE INC.: (702) 216-3000
GARDEN COSMETIC & FAMILY: (702) 869-5700 GENTLE DENTAL RANCHO: (702) 680-1009 AFFORDABLE DENTAL: (702) 794-0304 DISCOUNT DENTAL: (702) 386-8811 PEARLY WHITES FAMILY DENTISTRY: (702) 605-7814
Business Spotlight DOCTORS
DENNIS YUN, M.D.: (702)-386-0882 TEDDY SIM, D.C.: (702) 277-1371 MICHELLE HYLA, D.O.: (702) 386-0882 DR. NEVILLE CAMPBELL, M.D./M.B.A: (702) 476-9700 ANDREW M. CASH, M.D.: (702) 630-3472
THE ACCOUNTANT, LLC: (702) 389-2727 DONOVAN THIESSEN, CPA ELLSWORTH & STOUT: (702) 202-0272 MARK SHERMAN: (702) 645-6318 HALL & ASSOCIATES: (702) 629-1886 SANFORD & COMPANY: (702) 382-1141 LARRY L. BERTSCH: (702) 471-7223
REDROCK WEALTH MANAGEMENT: (702) 987-1607 SPARROW WEALTH MANAGEMENT: (877) 330-9191 ARISTA WEALTH MANAGEMENT: (702) 309-9970 CORNERSTONE WEALTH MANAGEMENT: (702) 878-4742 MORGAN STANLEY: (702) 792-2000
KAYA BEAUTY: (702) 898-5292 NY HAIR COMPANY: (702) 432-3333 TRUE AVEDA LIFESTYLE SALON & SPA: (702) 364-8783 BOULEVARD BARBER SHOP: (702) 384-1453 MYSTIQUE HAIR STUDIO: (702) 432-6006
STATE OF THE MARKET Written By Mark Martiak
tock Market declines have investors wondering what their next moves should be. The main questions this year for many is how much volatility remains and at what cost to their investment portfolios. The numbers aren’t pleasant. As of May 27, the S&P 500 is down 13.3 percent from its January 3rd peak, and on May 20 it briefly fell below the 20 percent threshold that defines a bear market on Wall Street.
Stocks closed higher by 6.6 percent the week ending May 27, 2002, ending a seven-week slide. More upbeat corporate news and favorable economic data helped quell investor angst, at least temporarily. The S&P 500 posted its best week since November 2020 and is headed for a positive month in May. A few factors may have helped increase investor confidence. Several large retailers released quarterly earnings results that largely exceeded Wall Street estimates. The personal consumption expenditures price index (the Fed’s preferred inflation indicator)
rose 0.2% in April after increasing 0.9% in March, signaling those inflationary pressures may be subsiding. Nevertheless, to put the latest drought into perspective, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hadn’t suffered seven consecutive weekly declines since the dot.com bubble burst in early 2000. And the Dow’s eight-week slide was the longest since 1932. Wall Street did something unusual on Monday, May 23rd: It opened the week on an uptick. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted solid gains, led by the Dow and the Global Dow (2.0%), followed by the S&P 500 (1.9%), the Nasdaq (1.6%), and the Russell 2000 (1.1%). Tenyear Treasury yields jumped 7.2 basis points to 2.85%. Crude oil prices climbed to $110.66 per barrel. The dollar slid lower, while gold prices advanced. The financial sector made the biggest gains as several major banks saw their stocks record notable gains. Stocks ended higher on Wednesday May 25th following a choppy day of trading. Investors gained some solace following the release of the minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting. The Fed gave no indication that a more hawkish course of action is in the offing, lending credence to the expectation that the next two rate hikes will be no more than 50 basis points each. Economic News • The second estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product showed that the economy contracted at an annualized rate of -1.5%. The decrease in GDP reflected decreases in private inventory investment, exports, federal government spending, and state and local government spending; imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased. However, consumer spending, as measured by personal consumption expenditures, increased 3.1% in the first quarter. On the other hand, exports fell 5.4%, while imports increased 18.3%. The personal consumption expenditures price
index (a measure of price inflation) increased 7.0% in the first quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 5.1% (revised). • According to the latest report on personal income and outlays, inflationary pressures waned in April as the personal consumption expenditures price index rose 0.2% after increasing 0.9% in March. Since April 2021, consumer prices have risen 6.3%. Personal consumption expenditures, a measure of consumer spending, increased 0.9% following a 1.4% advance in March. Personal income increased 0.4% in April, and disposable (aftertax) personal income rose 0.3%. • The international trade in goods deficit was $105.9 billion in April, a decrease of 15.9% from March. Exports rose 3.1%, while imports fell 5.0%. • The housing sector has slowed considerably from the pace set last year as rising home prices and mortgage rates have impacted the market. New single-family home sales fell 16.6% in April. Since April 2021, sales of new single-family homes are down 26.9%. The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2022 was $450,600 ($435,000 in March). The average sales price was $570,300 ($522,500 in March). Inventory of new single-family homes for sale sits at a supply of 9.0 months at the current sales rate, well off the April 2021 pace of 4.7 months. • New durable goods orders increased 0.4% in April following a 0.6% advance in March. Durable goods orders have increased in six of the last seven months. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.3%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.3%. Transportation equipment, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the April increase after advancing 0.6%. Since April 2021, new orders for durable goods have risen 10.5%. New VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 45
orders for nondefense capital goods used in the production of final products rose 0.4% in April. New orders for defense capital goods jumped 2.5% last month. • While traveling in LA, it cost me $7.50 per gallon of gas on May 25. On May 30, that same gallon of gas cost me $6.05 in Southampton on Eastern Long Island. The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $4.593 per gallon on May 23, $0.102 per gallon above the prior week’s price and $1.573 higher than a year ago. Also as of May 25, the East Coast price increased $0.10 to $4.53 per gallon; the Gulf Coast price rose $0.10 to $4.26 per gallon; the Midwest price climbed $0.10 to $4.40 per gallon; the West Coast price increased $0.13 to $5.49 per gallon; and the Rocky Mountain price increased $0.05 to $4.33 per gallon. Residential heating oil prices averaged $3.74 per gallon on May 20, about $0.18 per gallon less than the prior week’s price. According to the U.S. Energy
Information Administration, the average retail price of regular gasoline is the highest inflationadjusted price since 2012 and the fourth highest price on record. The high price of gasoline is currently driven by several factors, including the price of crude oil, the effects of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and U.S. gasoline demand growth outpacing refinery runs, resulting in large gasoline inventory draws. Eyes on Employment and Inflation The employment figures for May are out on June 3. April saw over 400,000 new jobs added and the unemployment rate dipped to 3.6%. It will be interesting to see whether the labor sector remains strong in the face of the anticipated slowdown in the economy due to rising interest rates. It will also be interesting to see whether global inflation trends lower this summer. With supplies constrained and demand still strong, inflation concerns have reached multi-decade
highs. Near-term risk remains to the upside as scarcity can ignite additional demand. While a number of these impulses should revert in 2022, inflation expectations are likely to stay elevated as shelter, wages and the impact of the climate transition appear less transitory. Expect the unexpected over the second half of 2022. The markets dictate the economy, not the other way around. Plan and be disciplined about your asset allocation strategies. When you need to be defensive, cash can be your friend. Mark Martiak is a New York-based Investment Adviser Representative and Accredited Investment Fiduciary® for AGP/Alliance Global Partners, a registered investment adviser and broker-dealer, Member FINRA | SIPC . Mark is a regular Contributor to VEGAS LEGAL MAGAZINE and has appeared on CNBC’s CLOSING BELL, YAHOO! FINANCE MIDDAY MARKET MOVERS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK and has been quoted in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Check out the Martiak Market Update Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts. Such forward-looking statements are subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and actual results could be materially different. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time and are the opinion of the individual strategist. Data is taken from sources generally believed to be reliable, but no guarantee is given to its accuracy. Indexes are unmanaged, and investors are not able to invest directly into any index. Past performance is no guarantee of future result Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields);
U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg. com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI, Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e., wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Forecasts are based on current conditions, subject to change, and may not come to pass. U.S. Treasury securities are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. The principal value of Treasury securities and other bonds fluctuates with market conditions. Bonds are subject to inflation, interest-rate, and credit risks. As interest rates rise, bond prices typically fall. A bond sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a priceweighted index composed of 30 widely traded bluechip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a marketcap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 largest, publicly traded companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded bluechip common stocks worldwide. The U.S. Dollar Index is a geometrically weighted index of the value of the U.S. dollar relative to six foreign currencies. Market indexes listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 47
THE RISING RATE ECONOMY IN AN ALREADY HOT HOUSING MARKET By Daniel Herrera
nterest rates have steadily gone up since the end of 2021. With the current lack of control on America’s inflation, The United States Federal Reserve Bank (FED) has recently increased rates by half a point, the second consecutive rate increase and biggest rise in borrowing cost since 2000. Current economist forecasting predicts that rates will continue to increase and eventually stabilize; but when will that happen? The continual increase in the cost of money has substantially decreased the consumers ability to
48 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
purchase in an already hot real estate market. The burning question every buyer has is: When is the BEST time to buy a home? The Simple answer is: YESTERDAY. Unfortunately, no one has full capacity to predict the uncertainty and volatility of the Housing Market and throw in the government’s fiscal policy along with the FED’s decision making, its impossible to determine the right moment. What a buyer can control is their capacity to purchase.
Over the past two quarters, a buyer’s purchasing capacity has decreased due to the nature of the rising rates market. A 3.00% mortgage on a loan of $400,000 would cost a buyer $1,686.42 monthly. Today, the same loan amount hits the bank account for $2,271.16 if you secure a 5.5% interest rate. The price on “waiting” six months to purchase a home can be quantified at the amount of $584.74 monthly.
a buyer will truly feel that they are ready to Buy a Home. As a consumer, we shouldn’t wait. If we have the capacity to buy our own home, the right time will always be; Yesterday.
Over the past year, the typical home in Las Vegas has appreciated approximately 33% bringing the average home cost to around $431,500. If a qualified buyer waited for a “Market Slowdown” or “Bubble to Pop” over the past couple of years, that wait potentially costed them over $100,000 in home equity appreciation. A home loan is amortized over 30 years and should be treated as a 30-year investment. Mortgage rates will continue to fluctuate up and down and a consumer should ALWAYS take advantage of lower interest rates. The Average American resides in their home for 13 years and a lot can change over that time. The home loan a consumer establishes at the purchase of their property is almost never the same loan they have once they payoff or sell their home. If throughout the duration of your home ownership interest rates drop, a refinance of the current loan might make sense. Although cost will be incurred and terms will change, the refinance transaction is a tool that can save you a substantial amount monthly. As a consumer, one can simply Stay Ready. Multiple factors go into the qualification process of a home loan and we are only in control of a few. As a consumer, its our obligation to ensure that when the time comes, all controllable factors are where they need to be. Maintaining good credit and capacity to repay borrowed money is simply the beginning. Understanding the comfort level of maximum monthly expenditures also helps a consumer fully understand their own capacity. When all the numbers make sense, that is when
Daniel Herrera is the Branch Operations Manager at Residential Bancorp. He can be reached at 714.878.3112 or email@example.com.
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 49
Our Audience • • • • • • • • •
100,000+ website visitors each month 10,000+ digital audience Distributed to every law firm in Southern Nevada 4,300+ active attorneys Median income of reader: $84,000/year Average age of reader: 47 Judges • Nevada Legislators • Attorneys Medical Professionals • Business Elite Fashion Industry
Visibility in Local Law Firms
Readers in Legal Industry
Readers in Medical Community
Readers in General Public
Launch Parties Over 400 guests on average at each launch party.
The Court of Last Resort What is Next for the Supreme Court?
+PƃWGPEGT /CTMGVKPI / i ÕÃ iÃÃ v yÕi V } Spring 2021
Quality and Status What’s Hot, What’s Not
How To Avoid A Workplace Lawsuit, Audit Or Investigation During This “Interesting Time” Midway Through 2022 By: Adam D. Kemper, Managing Partner of The Workplace Law Firm, PLLC
as prices are at historically high levels, inflation is impacting pricing in many areas and industries, people are still getting sick from COVID-19, and many products are noticeably unavailable due to supply chain and product shortages. Welcome to the midway point of 2022. When coupled with all of the adjustments made to recruit and retain workers during a time noted for historic levels of employee resignations (also known as “The Great Resignation”), employers are left with tremendous challenges to overcome in the coming days.
52 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
Employees feel that they have leverage in this climate as they can simply bounce around from companies who offer them the “better deal.” Many such employees also see no perceived downside to pursuing a claim against their employers after they speak to lawyers who offer to take a case for them against their employers for no up-front fee. Additionally, during this political regime, governmental agencies have been active with the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) having increased resources to address “worker protection” activities and also having
information sharing arrangements with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) when, for example, one of the two agencies finds an issue with worker misclassification (which has an impact on payroll withholdings and wage and hour obligations). The fact of the matter is workplace lawsuits and/or penalties from workplace audits can effectively put a company out of business or at the very least, set a business back substantially financially. When faced with going out of business or significant financial setbacks, it pays to take the time and spend some resources working with appropriate subject matter experts to become properly informed on legal obligations (which also contemplates employee retention). Here are ten considerations which may help your business avoid a workplace lawsuit, audit or investigation (and very likely result in employees sticking around a bit longer): 1. Stay informed on changes to workplace laws that may impact your business by regularly consulting with trusted employment law counsel. Note that laws (especially in the area of labor
and employment law) are subject to change and as such, it is incumbent on employers to stay abreast of all legal changes and to make adjustments accordingly. 2. Ensure you have adequate and accurate timekeeping and payroll records to track employee time worked and to show how employees are paid. Proper records can make or break a wage and hour audit and/or a wage and hour lawsuit. 3. Don’t “hire” independent contractors (i.e. 1099s) unless they are true “independent contractors” as recognized by applicable federal and state law and based on the advice of counsel. Misclassification is a major point of emphasis by a number of governmental agencies. 4. Pay your (non-exempt) employees (at least) minimum wage and overtime. Remember, the rule is that all employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime as a matter of law. The exception to that rule is if employees fall within a legally recognized exemption. Consult with counsel before you rely on a minimum wage and/or overtime exception to ensure you
are paying employees properly. 5. Audit your pay practices to ensure you are compensating people fairly. Equal Pay Act (and other discriminatory pay practice) claims have been on the rise over the last few years and if similarly-situated employees who perform the same work under similar conditions are paid differently, it could at the very least appear to be discrimination (which may lead to a lawsuit). 6. Be open to flexible working arrangements and other workplace accommodations, especially for those individuals who suffer from disabilities and/or medical conditions. If your business previously allowed employees to work from home during the height of the pandemic, it should be open to such opportunities moving forward, especially for those individuals who are in need due to accommodations due to medical reasons.
7. Focus on keeping your employees happy and retained in your organization. Remember, the fewer employees who depart unhappy, the fewer potential plaintiffs. 8. Update your workplace policies and remind employees about such policies, especially those policies on anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, anti-retaliation, time-keeping, and all of your company’s methods for employees to voice their concerns (free from retaliation). 9. Be mindful of your company’s reaction to an employee raising a concern or complaint. Retaliation claims continue to be one of the most common claims received by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). 10. Continue to be proactive with workplace safety, including the handling of illnesses in the
workplace even if it seems like “the pandemic is over.” OSHA is also making its rounds to workplaces around the country who fail to follow their safety standards. Of course, there are many other important considerations for business owners to take into account in order to be compliant with applicable workplace laws. Take the time to consult with subject matter experts who can assist your business with not only understanding its legal obligations, but also to assist in implementing appropriate workplace policies and procedures. Adam Kemper can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone 561-805-3529.
Personal Injury AND
Criminal Defense With a background in psychology, Amanda Laub, realized early on that that her compassion for clients and her ability to empathize gave her an edge – making her an outstanding advocate. Laub Law’s mission is to deliver a service that empowers clients by imparting the knowledge they need to make informed decisions, while addressing each of our client’s concerns.
www.Laub.Law | Amanda@Laub.Law
Now Offering Pain Management Meet Our Doctors Michelle Hyla, D.O. Board Certified Physician
Peter Catlett, D.C. Chiropractic Physician
Dennis Yun, M.D. Pain Management Physician
What We Offer
1485 E Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89119
Medical Evaluations Chiropractic Therapy Massage Therapy Pain Management
Don’t complicate your client’s recovery. Send them to one source for all their care.
Health Centered. Patient Focused. (702) 386-0882 | SouthernNevadaMedical.com
All Email Inquiries: Tyler@SouthernNevadaMedical.com
2022 Income Tax Planning
Written By Donovan Thiessen, CPA
axpayers and their tax advisors have faced a myriad of law changes since the Trump administration passed the 2017 tax reform. Many of the law changes that went into effect on January 1, 2018, will sunset after 2025. Suppose the laws are not extended or changed. In that case, Corporations’ maximum tax rate will increase from 21% to 35%, and the 20% qualified business income deduction available to other business income will expire. Many other tax provisions will sunset and revert to the laws in effect before 2018. This means in 2026, your Raiders and Vegas Golden Knights season tickets will once again be 50% tax-deductible if you purchase the tickets by your business and utilize them for business purposes. This article will inform you of a few other popular tax breaks and tax planning opportunities that you should consider before year-end.
58 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
For those of you still on the fence regarding the purchase of solar panels, the tax credit will decrease from 26% to 23% after 2022. To qualify for 2022, the panels must be installed and operational before December 31, 2022. The credit works for solar-powered water heaters and home battery storage. The system must be purchased, not leased. If your system cost is $20,000, you may qualify for a tax credit of $20,000 x 26% = $5,200. If you otherwise have an income tax liability of $10,000, this credit will reduce it by $5,200. If you don’t use all of your credit in 2022, it will be carried forward to 2023. Business owners have been utilizing bonus depreciation on new and used business assets, such as vehicles, office equipment, and other assets with a useful life of 20 years or less. In 2022 you can still take 100% bonus depreciation
on qualifying purchases, meaning that the entire cost of the equipment placed in service this year can be expensed. This is particularly popular for SUVs and business-use passenger automobiles that weigh more than 6,000 lbs. After 2022, bonus depreciation will decrease from 100% to 80%. If you have qualifying assets that you are considering for your business, you should consider purchasing and placing them in service before year-end. Business meals have been allowed a 100% tax deduction in 2021 and 2022, provided they aren’t extravagant and are consumed at the restaurant. This was enacted to prop up the struggling restaurant industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. After 2022, these meals will revert to being 50% deductible. Note that in 2022, meals that are take-out or for delivery are still subject to 50% deductibility. If you have a health savings account (“HSA”), you can contribute up to $7,300 in 2022 if you have family coverage. If you have a solo plan, that amount is $3,650. These contributions reduce taxable income, and they do not have to be used within a calendar year, unlike its cousin, the Flex Savings Account. You can elect to apply contributions to 2022 until April 15, 2023. This account generates many questions and answers with our clients during tax season. The gift tax exclusion is up to $16,000 in 2022. You can give your son, your neighbor, and/or your neighbor’s son $16,000 in 2022. If you are married, you and your spouse can each give $16,000 to these individuals without filing a gift tax return to the IRS. You may have an IRS Form 709 gift tax return filing requirement if you give more than that amount. This can be in the form of cash, stock, the FMV of a vehicle, gold, silver, a discounted price on the sale of a home, or a discount on rent if you are charging them less than fair market value. These are just a few examples. If you pay for another person’s education or medical expenses, you can get around this limit by paying the costs directly to the school or the medical provider.
If you are at least 70 ½ and give to nonprofit organizations, you may consider utilizing your IRA with a Qualified Charitable Deduction (“QCD”). Taxpayers commonly report charitable giving on Schedule A, but we’ve noticed that the tax benefits can be tricky now that the standard deduction is $25,900 for married filing joint and $12,950 for single filers in 2022. With a QCD, you can have the IRA trustee issue a check directly to the charitable organization (you can not receive funds from the IRA and then remit them to the organization yourself; it must go from the IRA trustee directly to the organization). This will satisfy your required minimum distribution from the IRA, and amounts contributed to the organization will be nontaxable on your tax return. This will directly reduce your adjusted gross income and taxable income. In contrast, contributions reported on Schedule A may not qualify you for itemized deductions so you would get the standard deduction in either case. With the QCD, however, you may get the standard deduction and the reduction in adjusted gross income. The annual QCD limit is
$100,000. This must be done before year-end, and I highly recommend you consult with your tax adviser before completing this transaction. If Congress fails to extend the current tax law set to expire in 2025, tax rates will go back up. Biden has also touted higher income tax rates for higher-income earners. With the ongoing budget deficits and massive debt, it is reasonable to brace for higher income tax rates in the future unless you think there will be a massive reduction in government spending. A popular and politically controversial tax strategy is the Roth IRA conversion. This is when you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA and pay income tax in the current year on converted amounts. There are several good reasons to consider this right now. If you have depressed asset values, the taxable amount will be lower than if you convert it with a higher value. Prior IRA contributions can be withdrawn at any time, and earnings after the conversion grow tax-free and can be distributed tax-free as long as you
are 59 ½ or older and five years have passed since the conversion. There are no required minimum distributions for Roth IRA owners. You can convert a portion of the IRA this year and in subsequent years, provided it is still allowed in the future. As with any tax advice, you should consult your tax advisor for details on any items included in this article. Many details are impractical to include in this article and other intersecting income items that would affect your tax planning. Be mindful of the deadlines to act as well. Donovan Thiessen, CPA is the founder and owner of The Accountant, LLC. Our mission is to help business owners make better decisions by providing timely and accurate financial and tax analysis. You may reach Donovan at donovan@ theaccounantcpa.com, www.theaccountantcpa. com, and 702.389.2727.
Mark Your Calendars! Here are some upcoming events we are sure you won’t want to miss!
Election Day June 14
Happy Together Tour The Smith Center July 15
The Jazz Republic The Smith Center August 9
Barrett Jackson Auction Las Vegas Convention Center June 30 - July 2
FC Series: Chelsea FC Vs. Club America Allegiant Stadium July 16
Raiders Vs. Vikings Preseason Week 1 Allegiant Stadium August 14
Check us out on social for even more Las Vegas events and news! @VegasLegalMagazine
Something here is critical to winning your client’s personal injury case. Can you spot it? You can with more time. That’s exactly what we give you. Waiting for the courts to re-open to settle your client’s case, but need cash now? USClaims can help. We simplify litigation funding so you get funds in 24 hours with no credit check, no risk, and no payments until their case is settled. We’ll work with you to find the best funding options for your client, so call (888) 645-3049 today.
Litigation Funding Simplified™ Licensed in Nevada
Jazz Republic SEPTEMBER 17 . 2022 SPRINGS PRESERVE AMPHITHEATER
Tomorrow’s Radiology Imaging Today...
PRESENTS YOU CAN NOW ORDER PRE-OP CLEARANCES CHEST X-RAY EKG ECHOCARDIOGRAM STRESS TEST Lexiscan Myoview Treadmill Myoview Dobutamine Myoview
3D MRI RENDERINGS AVAILABLE RENDERINGS Knees Shoulders Spine - Cervical - Thoracic - Lumbar BENEFITS FOR ATTORNEYS No upfront cost Clear demonstration of the injury Can be used to assist in settling claims with adjusters, arbitrators, mediators, or juries Settle faster & more efficiently Client satisfaction
(702) 254-5004 Fax: (702) 432-4005 www.lvradiology.com
3D MRI RENDERINGS
(702) 489.9000 Fax: (702) 489.9001 www.lvcardiology.net
NEVADA LEADS THE WAY IN SALES GROWTH
Written By Haitham A.
ver the last two years, the Las Vegas cannabis industry witnessed record-breaking growth numbers. In fact, the state of Nevada, particularly Clark County, is outperforming most of the other legal marijuana markets, and this trend should continue in the summer. Even though the U.S. cannabis industry, at large, enjoyed substantial sales during the pandemic, proceeds began to decline in the latter part of 2021 as the country lifted Covid-19 restrictions and consumers readjusted their spending habits.
was no exception, and Clark County, home to Las Vegas, accounted for the majority of the state’s sales. Equally as important, while cannabis revenues began to decline in mid 2021 in most states’ markets (apart from the ones that only recently legalized its usage), Nevada’s sales figures remained strong.
Cannabis Sales and the Covid-19 Pandemic
For example, Colorado’s cannabis sales went up by nearly 25% from July 2020 to June 2021 in comparison to the previous 12 months. In March 2021, marijuana dispensaries in the Centennial State surpassed $200 million in monthly proceeds, which is close to a 30% year-overyear (YoY) increase from March 2020. In spite of that, in March 2022, revenues declined by 22% YoY and went back to their pre-pandemic levels. In the same vein, taxable cannabis sales in California climbed by about 25% from the third quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021 in comparison to the equivalent 12-months period from 2019 to 2020. Yet, since the end of June 2021, proceeds have declined during each quarter.
Between July 2020 and June 2021, U.S. cannabis proceeds skyrocketed to record highs. Nevada
In fact, this is the case in almost every state that legalized recreational marijuana consumption. A
However, Las Vegas is an exception. The local cannabis market benefited from the returning tourists and reopening of the hospitality sector, which kept its sales numbers strong throughout the second half of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. As we head into quarters two and three of this year, many businesses are partnering with out-of-state investors, expanding their product lines, and unveiling new facilities that include a smoking lounge on the Strip.
66 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
lot of analysts believe that this was driven by the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions, which meant that many people are spending their money at restaurants and on traveling. Additionally, the lack of stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits further decreased the disposable income that consumers can spend on marijuana products and other leisurely activities. Having said that, the state of the cannabis industry in Nevada, particularly in Las Vegas and Clark County, is entirely different. A Sustained Growth in Las Vegas Marijuana businesses in Sin City are continuing to thrive for two main reasons. First of all, the removal of most pandemic-era rules in mid2021 was accompanied by swaths of returning out-of-state tourists. Many of them were looking to spend their money on legal cannabis, which sustained the industry’s ballooning revenues. The influx of international visitors boosted these figures even more after the U.S. reopened its borders in the fall of 2021. From July 2020 to June 2021, Nevada’s cannabis sales surpassed $1 billion. Just over
$790 million (or about 80% of the state’s sales) came from Clark County, alone. However, as other marijuana markets began to witness a decline in proceeds during the second half of last year, dispensaries throughout Nevada witnessed a YoY monthly increase in each of October, November, and December of 2021. To add to that, the figures for the first three months of 2022 remain steady and close to their 2021 levels. Heading into the tourist-heavy summer months, there are many reasons to expect that the Las Vegas cannabis industry is going to keep thriving. Expansions, Investments, and Jobs This year, the Sin City’s visitors will be welcomed by a host of new attractions. For a start, Thrive, one of the largest dispensaries on the Strip, is expecting to open a smoking lounge this summer. In an interview with FOX5, Thrive’s Director of Retail Operations Makinzey Marracco said that the smoking lounge “is going to be really great for the tourists especially to have somewhere safe and legal to consume”. Similarly, an Arizona company recently acquired the Artisan hotel, which is located by the Strip. The firm, Pro Hospitality, is planning on turning it into a “cannabis-friendly” facility, according to MJBizDaily. Already, Pro Hospitality owns a hotel in Arizona that has a smoking lounge and allows visitors to smoke in certain rooms. Furthemore, publicly-traded company Mystic Holdings Inc (OTC:MSTH), which already has a presence in the Las Vegas cannabis industry, is working with local partners on launching a new brand that offers a variety of products. Not only are these developments bringing outof-state investments into the city, but they will probably help create local jobs in the cannabis VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 67
sector, one that currently employs over 10,000 people both directly and indirectly. Some of these positions come with generous salaries and benefits. As an example, Cultivate Las Vegas, a dispensary, began paying subsidies towards their employees’ childcare costs so that they could better cope with inflation and rising prices. What the Future Might Hold As we look beyond the summer and into the fall, local sales may cool down alongside tourist and travel activities. A new wave of Covid-19 cases (and subsequent restrictions) could redirect consumer spending from restaurants and in-person leisurely activities towards dispensaries, just as it did during the first year of the pandemic. In short, the picture is still unclear. In any case, the Las Vegas cannabis market,
as a whole, is almost certainly going to retain its post-pandemic gains, and the majority of its jobs are likely here to stay. Existing businesses and upcoming establishments will have the chance to capture a sizable share of the tourist market in the next few months, especially with the Strip’s latest additions of smoking lounges and hotel rooms. Las Vegas’s local businesses are also in a much better position - both sales and growth wise - than their competitors in nearby states like California and Colorado. In turn, this is allowing them to attract out-of-town investors and partners. To put it another way, even though the industry outlook in six months is uncertain, the immediate and long-term futures point towards a path of more growth and expansion.
DR. ENRICO FAZZINI 702-570-8600/516-371-2225 DRENRICOFAZZINI@GMAIL.COM 291 NORTH PECOS ROAD HENDERSON, NEVADA 89074
NEUROLOGIST Dr. Enrico Fazzini is a board certified neurologist with specialty training from Columbia University in Movement Disorders (tremor, dystonia, parkinsons) and a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience (neuropsychology, cognitive disorder following brain injury) from Boston University. He enjoys diagnosing and treating injuries to the brain and spine. He performs Emg/Ncvs to diagnose radiculopathies and neuropathies and has developed a state of the art protocol for detecting brain injury through MRI and MRSPECT scans. He has 37 years of experience as a neurologist and has been an expert witness for forensic cases for over 20 years. He is well qualified and credentialed to assess patients with brain and spine injuries.
“You can’t live a perfect day until you do something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” - John Wooden
BARRY’S DOWNTOWN PRIME AN OLD-SCHOOL LAS VEGAS STEAK HOUSE WITH MODERN FLAIR Written By: David Denk
f you’re in the mood for a quality meal and a delicious cocktail in a setting that feels like stepping through a time machine, Barry’s Downtown Prime has you covered. Nestled on the bottom floor of the Circa Resort and Casino, and beneath the restored Vegas Vickie neon sign, lies Barry’s Downtown Prime. But don’t be fooled by the discreet placement, Barry’s Prime is an enormous restaurant that will accommodate everything from date nights, to private parties. An ode to tradition, Barry’s has all the vintage flair one would expect of a classic Las Vegas steakhouse. Low lighting, golden marble, and tall circular booths all culminate to create an intimate and upscale dining experience. Menu offerings include the quintessential steakhouse staples one would expect, from Chef Barry Dakake’s favorite, a 12-ounce rib cap that’s marinated before being charred over assorted fruitwoods and Mexican charcoal at 900 degrees, to surf-and-turf, and more. For dessert, guests can expect truly decadent offerings, from a classic creme brulee to a
72 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
Tahitian baked Alaska, that is prepared tableside. Even plant-based dieters can indulge at Barry’s, which offers a full vegan menu. The drink menu expands on the era-appropriate setting with an original cocktail menu featuring drinks that showcase movie and pop culture Americana from the 60s and 70s. I myself have gone just for that. If something lighter is desired, Barry’s certainly doesn’t skimp on their wine list. A beautifully curated selection of hundreds of wines will surely have something for even the pickiest of connoisseurs. If the decor and delicious menu offerings aren’t enough, a visit to Barry’s will ensure you’re in good company. The star-studded list of athletes and celebrities visiting the downtown staple is vast. A cursory scroll through their Instagram or website showcases guests from UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannnu, to reggaeton star J Balvin. A beautifully designed, classic establishment, Barry’s Prime leaves no stone unturned when it comes to providing the quality one would expect in a Vegas steakhouse.
1,875 MILES TO CLARKSVILLE Written by Don Logay
hen Vernon and Gladys Presley had a child in their small, two-room home in Tupelo, Mississippi, they never could have dreamed that their newborn son – given the father’s middle name (a rare choice for that day and time... said to be of Scandinavian origin meaning “all wise”) – would one day be heralded as “The Best-Selling Solo Music Artist of All Time” by the Guinness Book of World Records. Nor could they have ever imagined that, in just 42 short years, their child would sell over 500 million records worldwide, or that he would become the undisputed most often imitated entertainer in history or that eventually half a million people a year would come to Memphis, Tennessee just to visit the Graceland Mansion he called home. 74 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
On Tuesday, January 8, 1935... a fitting announcement could have been, (drumroll) “Ladies and Gentlemen... Elvis has entered the world!” Reinventing Las Vegas The 1950s and 60s were the heydays of vintage Las Vegas. It was the newly created neon mecca in the desert that beckoned 8 million people a year to spend $200 million annually on 24-hour gambling and great entertainment, along with quickie weddings and even faster divorces. In an era when tuxedoed mega-stars like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the “Rat Pack” owned the town and big names like Tony Bennett and
Unidentified Elvis tribute artist in concert Queensland Australia.
Wayne Newton crooned hits like “San Francisco” and “Danke Schoen” at famous Casino Hotels like the Sands, Dunes and Riviera... a new kid came on the scene. A 21-year old singer, named Elvis Presley, made his first appearance at the New Frontier Hotel and while Vegas regulars didn’t really “get” this new Rock ‘n Roll upstart – gyrating around in a sports coat and loafers – he still packed them in nightly with sell-out shows. Soon, some of the biggest names of the day began to take notice. One notable – that also greatly influenced Elvis – was Liberace. In 1956, he came to see Elvis Perform. Shortly afterward, Elvis reciprocated and went to see Liberace’s show at the Riviera. It is reported that, at one of these two visits, they talked backstage
and Liberace told Elvis, “You’re a great singer... really good... but you need some glitz.” Genesis of “The Look” For a period of time, Elvis came and went, doing concerts and shows in other locations along with a two-year stint in the Army. After also appearing in a number of less-than-stellar movies, both Elvis and Colonel Tom Parker – who managed Elvis’s career – were ready for something big and new to re-energize their drive toward major stardom. During the “making movies” era (33 films between 1956 and 1972), the Colonel took Liberace’s advice and contacted Nudie Cohen – a Rodeo Tailor in North Hollywood – for some “glitz” ideas. Nudie designed a flashy gold lame’ tuxedo.
Unfortunately, the delicate fabric did not hold up well for the famed Elvis knee-slides and other signature stage moves. It also didn’t really look “cool” and after a few performances, Elvis ditched the gold suit idea for good. Onward and Upward A big break came on December 3, 1968 with the highly-promoted televised NBC Christmas Special, “Singer Presents... Elvis” – more commonly known as the “Comeback Special” and the first of his most notable historic shows. Recorded earlier in the year at the NBC Studios in Burbank, California, Elvis took the stage in a striking, tight black leather outfit – created by Hollywood designer Bill Belew – and rather than performing Christmas songs as one would expect, he sang his greatest hits along with all of the famous shakes, gyrations, knee-drops and facial expressions he was known for. At the end, wearing a striking white three-piece suit – also specially designed by Belew – he closed with his signature soft-spoken “Thank you. Thank you very much.” The show topped the week’s Neilson ratings and – while it both re-launched his singing career and marked a return to live performances – the dramatic outfits also served to recall Liberace’s comment about the need for “glitz.” His earlier suggestion launched a second effort – this time for mega-costuming – that ultimately succeeded in creating the famous trademark jumpsuits that would forever set Elvis apart from all others. Upping the Game Elvis returned to Las Vegas in 1969 to perform in the International Hotel’s 2,000 seat Showroom – the biggest venue in Vegas at the time – and over the next five years and 837 shows, he entertained 2.5 million people.
76 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
I was among those who saw Elvis perform live at the International. In late 1972, I sat at the edge of the stage and watched as he sang for over an hour accompanied by his TCB Band, a 30-piece orchestra and chorus of girl singers. It was an incredible show and life experience I will never forget. During the International show years, from 1969 to 1973, Elvis also experimented with various costume ideas... turning again to NBC designer, Bill Belew. The eventual famous jumpsuits evolved in stages by trial and error. After a few two-piece designs and some this-or-that, Belew began incorporating his favorite design elements one at a time. The Iconic Elvis Jumpsuit The first key element was choosing the best fabric. Bill Belew contacted a friend who worked for the Ice Capades and learned of a unique material worn by the skaters – a heavy stretch gaberdine called “Ski Cloth” – that was only made by one company in Milan, Italy. Belew’s friend made the contact and this fabric became the basis for all future Elvis jumpsuits. Distinctive design elements included a highneck collar (a Belew favorite influenced by Napoleon’s military uniform), Edwardian-era slit cuffs for the sleeves and flared bell bottoms with contrasting color fabric in the kick-pleat. Plunging neck lines and super-wide belts with big square buckles completed the look. As Belew’s designs evolved, he also brought in another talent from New York for ideas and suggestions. Gene Doucette was a young designer gaining recognition for his artistic use of studs, grommets and jewels to create amazing “bling” for costumes. Together, and through experimentation, they created the sought-after “glitz” that Liberace
suggested. Elaborate designs eventually included lavish embroidery. They even tested fabric colors to see which worked best with stage lighting. It was white. Over the years, Elvis had hundreds of jumpsuits made with incredible designs. His favorites were the Peacock, the Pinwheel and the Sunburst. But his absolute most favorite was the iconic red, blue and gold American Eagle white jumpsuit that Elvis wore for the 1973 “Aloha from Hawaii” TV concert... the second of his most historic shows. Tribute to the King From the International “Comeback Special” in Las Vegas (January 31, 1969) to his final concert in Indianapolis, Indiana (June 26, 1977), over these eight-years, he performed 1,128 concerts... and every one was 100% sold out. Just 51 day later, Elvis Presley passed away at his Graceland home in Memphis. At the time of his death, there were only a handful of Elvis tribute artists in and around Las Vegas. Today, and some 45-years later, there are an estimated 250,000 to 400,000 Elvis impersonators found in virtually every country around the world. Some are good performers, with looks and voices that approximate that of Elvis, while others defy both reason and imagination.
Design sketch of the white American Eagle “Aloha From Hawaii” Elvis jumpsuit (above) and one of today’s many Elvis tribute artists (below) wearing a detailed recreation.
He is the undisputed most imitated performer of all time. My Second Brush with Elvis Rick Mars – a close friend who was the drummer and creator of the famous drum solo on the original recording of “Wipeout” – contacted me and said he was in possession of the Elvis jumpsuit that Kevin Costner wore in the movie, “3,000 Miles to Graceland.” He acquired it while shooting a movie at the VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 77
Photo courtesy of Don Logay
same studio where the film was made. It was one of two jumpsuits on display in their lobby and he requested it as part of his fee. He had only performed in it a few times and thought I might be able to offer it to one of the many Elvis tribute artists here in Las Vegas. I said “sure.” A few weeks later, a black jumpsuit and cape with gold lining arrived, totally bedazzled with studs and jewels weighing about 40 pounds. I wondered if it really was Kevin Costner’s outfit from the movie. Time for a little research. The label said “B&K Costumes” and you would think the number one company for making totally authentic Elvis jumpsuits would be in Hollywood or Vegas... but no. I soon discovered the world’s foremost company for these outfits is actually located in Clarksville, Indiana – 1,875 miles away from Las Vegas! B&K Enterprises Costume Company, Inc. 78 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
(www.b-k-enterprises.com) is a small shop located in Charleston, Indiana... with a mailing address in nearby Clarksville. It was started in 1980 by Butch and Kim Polston, a young couple that were simply devoted Elvis fans. Shortly after Elvis’s death, Kim asked Butch, “If you could have anything that belonged to Elvis, what would it be?” Expecting his answer to be one of his cars, he surprised her with, “One of his jumpsuits.” On a whim, they decided to attempt making a jumpsuit. They studied photos of those made for Elvis and – with no tailoring or sewing skills – crafted four surprisingly good look-alikes. As die-hard Elvis fans, they soon headed off to Memphis to attend an annual Elvis Convention at Graceland. Being Elvis 2.0 The couple’s four Elvis jumpsuits were a smash hit at the Graceland meet-up and one attendee insisted on purchasing them for
$500 apiece – big money for a young couple in 1980. Returning home, they paid some bills and decided there was money to be made in making these jumpsuits. In 1980, they created B&K Enterprises and set out to begin making jumpsuits. While other start-ups were creating unauthorized knock-offs of varying quality, Butch and Kim wanted to do it right... and took the time to actually find, and contact, both Bell Belew and Gene Doucette – the original designers and fabricators of jumpsuits for Elvis. They received a surprisingly warm welcome when they asked for permission to recreate their jumpsuits and – as they were the only ones to do so – were given the actual copyrighted patterns and designs, as well their cooperation and participation in producing authentic recreations. They also became lifelong friends, and while Bill Belew passed away in 2008, Gene Doucette still works directly with B&K and to this day still does the authentic embroidery work on all of their jumpsuits.
So... is it Really Costner’s? Kim and Butch were extremely helpful and quite cooperative in helping me verify that the jumpsuit I had in my possession was really made for, and worn, by Kevin Costner. Without going into a lot of detail, we used both photos and garment measurements to determine that it was indeed Costner’s ... and not one made for his stunt double. Once confirmed, they also graciously provided a letter of authenticity. Rick Mars initially suggested contacting some of the many Elvis tribute artists in Vegas, to see if they might be interested. However, after many expressed interest, it eventually went to an avid Elvis fan and memorabilia collector in Irvine, California. I felt a little sad as I carefully packed the cape and jumpsuit. I was saying goodbye to a bit of Elvis connection that I was sure to miss. As I walked out the door, headed for the FedEx office with the package under my arm, I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “Ladies and Gentlemen... Elvis has left the building.”
THE SMITH CENTER Thank You Las Vegas
By Myron G. Martin, President and CEO, The Smith Center
s we celebrate the return of live entertainment, The Smith Center is also celebrating our 10th anniversary. What was once called the dream in the desert is now an enduring and meaningful reality. As far as I am concerned, the reality is better than anything we dreamed possible. Nearly three million tickets have been sold since our opening, and we are especially proud that almost a million students have participated in our education outreach initiatives to date. I call this anniversary miraculous because a team of visionaries overcame daunting obstacles to make The Smith Center a reality more than twenty years ago. Truly a community effort, 80 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
this process included crucial support from generous donors and our city, county and state governments. Our stage lights, which were dark for nearly two years, are now lit again. The ghost light that kept our stage safe during the pandemic has returned to its typical role of only being rolled out after a show, and just long enough for the next production to begin. It got quite a workout during the pandemic- being lit for months and months in a row without ever being turned off. I am thrilled to see houses filled with enthusiastic theater goers, and I am humbled to see all of our stagehands, musicians, dancers and ushers returning to work.
The 2022-2023 Broadway season has been announced, and it will be our biggest season yet. Thank you to all of our season ticket holders for making it the most subscribed season we have ever had. Eleven big titles - The Prom, Hadestown, Jagged Little Pill, Six, Frozen, To Kill a Mockingbird, Mean Girls, Moulin Rouge, Annie, Tina! The Tina Turner Musical and Hamilton – will grace our stage and make Las Vegas part of their national tours. Single tickets for some of these hit shows are already on sale via our website. Other single ticket on-sale dates will be announced soon. When it comes to music and dance, I guess you could say that our dance card is full because there is something for everyone at The Smith Center. Praised as one of the top ten venues in the world by POLLSTAR Magazine, our performing arts center is not to be missed. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do. There is truly something to suit everyone here, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. The Entertainment Capital of the World is finally back, so get out, take in a show and celebrate our great city. The Smith Center and the entire entertainment community thanks you.
VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 81
The Entertainment Capital of the World Written by Don Logay
as Vegas is a cultural phenomenon and a city like no other. It began pretty much by accident – maybe even a fluke – when early explorer, John Charles Fremont, who was charting the Wild West for the U.S. Government in the mid-1800’s camped one night by a spring the natives called “Las Vegas.” He noted it on his map of the area and in the years that followed, pioneering settlers heading West purchased these government maps and, in turn, always included “Las Vegas” as a place to stop and camp when going through this desolate region. Today and about 180-years later, millions of tourists from all over the world continue to seek 82 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
out Fremont’s famous “watering hole” for fun, relaxation and entertainment. Las Vegas is a prime example of the classic bandwagon effect, whereby “vast numbers of individuals continue to increase exponentially, behaving in a certain way just because other individuals are doing that same certain something,” resulting in soaring popularity and yes – a cultural phenomenon. “What Happens Here, Stays Here” The opening of Bugsy Siegal’s fabulous Flamingo Hotel and Casino in late 1946 was an acknowledged “turning point” that ushered in today’s 4.2 miles of spectacular properties offering the world’s absolute best in lavish
accommodations surrounded by limitless 24hour gambling, renown five-star restaurants and famous big-name entertainment. For decades however, Vegas vacillated with uncertainty between the place to go for adult “fun, fun, fun” and as a welcoming place for “family entertainment” (yawn). That lackluster imagery came to a resounding end in 2003, when the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) teamed up with the local brand innovation agency of R&R Partners to highlight Las Vegas as “the” place to stay and play... without reservation, repercussion and/or remorse. The result was a somewhat catchy tag line – “What Happens Here, Stays Here” – that helped to position Vegas as the undisputed place for adult entertainment and also served to underscore the town’s secondary not-sosecret identity as “Sin City.” In short order, this slogan became a cultural phenomenon as well, morphing into the iconic legacy phrase we all know and love – “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas!” Oops – Maybe not Such a unique venue also attracted the storytellers of the world. More than 80-years ago, Hollywood filmmakers discovered Vegas as a city like no other, with unparalleled potential to weave amazing tales in a neon wonderland that simply could not be told elsewhere. Storylines exposed Vegas to the world with engaging voyeurism that ranged from the perils of dealing with the mob, the lure of big monetary windfalls and incredibly tense casino heist capers to poignant stories of finding love, or dealing with hilarious quickie marriages and the raucous adventures of insane days and wild nights on the town –starring the biggest superstar names of the day.
Some of the earliest major motion pictures filmed in Las Vegas were “Las Vegas Nights,” a 1941 comedy that was Frank Sinatra’s movie debut (singing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra) and “Heldorado,” a 1946 musical Western featuring Sheriff Roy Rogers fighting organized crime and money laundering during the city’s Heldorado Days celebrations. Since that time, some of the biggest and most iconic movies of all time have been filmed in Las Vegas or it was featured predominantly in telling the tale. Vegas-Centric Blockbusters Las Vegas films we all know and love include the original “Oceans 11” (1960) with the famed Rat Pack seen at the Rivera, Sands, Desert Inn, Sahara and Flamingo Casinos, “Viva Las Vegas” (1964) starring Elvis and Ann Margaret in a musical love romp, “Diamonds are Forever” (1971) with Sean Connery as 007 James Bond all around town, “The Godfather” (1972) with Michael Corleone at the Tropicana, “History of the World-Part 1” (1981) a Mel Brooks comedy featuring Caesars Palace, “Starman” (1984) romance drama featuring alien Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen winning big money in Vegas, ”Rocky IV” (1985) with Sylvester Stallone slugging it out at the MGM Grand, “Rain Man” (1988) with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman at Caesars Palace, and “Honeymoon in Vegas” (1992) pairing James Caan, Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker at Bally’s along with skydiving flying Elvis impersonators. More all-time greatest hits include the iconic “Casino” (1995) a gritty tale filmed at the Riviera, Landmark and famous Atomic Liquors, “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995) an alcoholdrenched tale filmed on the Strip and at the Excalibur, “Vegas Vacation” (1997) featuring the Griswold family’s misadventures all around town, “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997) with Mike Myers fighting evil at the Stardust, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM | 83
(1998) filmed at the Stardust and Riviera, “3,000 Miles to Graceland” (2001) an off-beat casino heist caper and a number of big name remakes that include “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001), “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004) and “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007) and the “Jason Bourne” (2016) chase on the Vegas Strip along with a few more “Rocky” sequels and the mega-hit “The Hangover” series I (2009), II (2011) and III (2013). Added to this list of notables, is the oddlycaptivating “Army of the Dead” (2021) with legions of zombies that literally destroy Las Vegas. Movies, Movies, Movies The IMDb (Internet Movie Database) – the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content (containing over 10 million titles) – states there are thousands of movies, TV Shows, Events and Award Shows with locations matching Las Vegas. Yes thousands... 5,327 to be exact. In addition, there are many other locations throughout Nevada where major movies, TV shows and various productions have been
filmed and Las Vegas was featured. Reno boasts over 400 titles that include “The Misfits” (1961) with Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, “Sister Act” (1992) with Whoopi G. in a Reno Nightclub and “Austin Powers in Goldmember” (2002) to name but a few. Lake Tahoe has over 200 titles that include “The Godfather: Part II” (1974) with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro at the Thunderbird Lodge, “The Body Guard” (1992) with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston and most recently, today’s new “Top Gun: Maverick” (2022) with Tom Cruise, again to name but a few. All-in-all, and considering other sites like Sparks, Carson City and the surrounding photogenic deserts... there are an astounding 7,000pus titles with locations in Nevada – and that number continues to grow daily. “Las Vegas film permitting includes the City of Las Vegas, Henderson and all of Clark County,” notes Eric Preiss, Director of the Nevada Film Office. “Permits issued now typically exceed 500 a year for all types of filming.”
Phenomenon Ad Infinitum “While our destination is very popular with all types of content creators,” notes Preiss, he also observes another trend that is furthering the phenomenon of Las Vegas. Today, there is a growing number of Studio Heads rethinking Hollywood as a home base and that are considering moving their production facilities to other more welcoming cities and states – such as Atlanta, Georgia... Austin, Texas... and yes, Las Vegas, Nevada. A typical sentiment is that of Roland Cañamar, Founder and Studio Chief of Silver Dream Factory Studios – one of the leading boutique facilities in the Los Angeles area. “Running a motion picture studio requires a lot of overhead and today, it’s a lot more difficult in California,” he notes. “Regulations and high taxes have chased out most feature films to more businessfriendly states.” “Out-of-state incentives have really made the difference in the last 10-years in courting feature films to relocate and to follow the money,” he adds, “and, for us...like many... what better
place to go than the famous 24-hour town of Las Vegas? It is certainly on our radar.” The Nevada Film Commission notes a number of new Studio production facilities that are now in Las Vegas. The first was Caesars Entertainment Studios, a 48,000 square foot full-scale production location for motion picture, TV and e-Sports that opened in 2017 on 5-acres just behind Bally’s on the Strip. “Caesars Studio is booked solid with TV Shows, like ‘Battle Bots’ that airs on Discovery Channel and has been home to shows like ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ and Gordon Ramsey’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ for multiple seasons as well as other game shows, commercials and movie productions,” notes Eric Preiss. Other major Las Vegas facilities include Worre Studios, that opened in 2021, with a state-ofthe-art 25,000 square foot sound stage featuring a 360-degree 4k LED screen that allows hosts and presenters to interact with up to 250,000 attendees on video in real-time. Another brand new cutting-edge production
facility in Las Vegas is the $7 million 43,000 square foot Vü Studio utilizing expansive stateof-the-art “green screen” technologies as realtime virtual backgrounds for greater flexibility in filming. “Logistically,” states Jason Soto, Vice President of Vü Studios, “it’s a lot easier to re-create a scene in our studio with a virtual background and physical props... than it is to film a scene on location, considering the multiple variables that could interfere with filming.” “Look West, Young Man” There was a popular catch-phrase of the 19th Century that encouraged pioneering individuals to “Go West, Young Man” for an exciting future. Today, regarding Las Vegas and its burgeoning film industry – for those pioneering writers, directors, producers and studio heads considering relocating – that phrase might better encourage them to first, head North on Valley View Blvd. to the Springs Preserve... and
86 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
to then stand at the spot where John Charles Fremont found the original Springs that put Las Vegas “on the map.” They should then “Look West, Young Man” to the towering 11,916 foot-high Mount Charleston off in the distance, where – with a little imagination and as the sun sets behind and the lights of Las Vegas come to life – they just may foresee another “American landmark” in the making. Off in the distance, one can envision a row of nine 45-foot high white capital letters poised high on the mountainside that proclaim another emerging cultural phenomenon of “today’s” Entertainment Capital of the World... V-E-G-A-S-W-O-O-D.
VEGAS VACATIONS Written by Haitham A.
hether you’re going on vacation by yourself, with the love of your life, or alongside your family, Las Vegas has plenty of getaways that can accommodate you. In fact, this even extends to you and your fellow travelers’ preferences, including those who like the outdoors, are enthusiastic about local restaurants, and/or simply want to relax at the spa. Without further ado, here are three vacation getaways that are suitable for each of individual travelers, couples, and families. Amangiri This secluded, yet amenity-rich, resort is a perfect romantic getaway for couples who appreciate the outdoors and, at the same time, want to enjoy luxury-style facilities. 88 | VEGASLEGALMAGAZINE.COM
Located in Canyon Point, Utah, you can get to Amangiri by car or plane. It takes just over 4 hours to drive there from the Las Vegas Strip, and the route is filled with beautiful scenes and views. You may also fly into the Page Municipal Airport, which is half an hour away from Amangiri by car. What makes this luxury facility a great vacation getaway is that it’s suitable for couples with all types of preferences. Those who are enthusiastic about the outdoors can access 12 miles of designated hiking trails either by themselves or alongside an experienced guide. The Grand Canyon and Zion National Park are nearby, as well. Moreover, visitors may ride jet-skis, kayaks, and boats on Lake Powell and discover the scenic Colorado plateau on a horse. Looking for fine dining, instead? Amangiri
offers a lot of options and menu choices, too. The Amangiri dining room, which specializes in Native American flavors, is open for lunch, breakfast, and dinner. At the Camp Sarika restaurant, couples can pick from a selection of local and seasonal meals. For romantic meals in the outdoors, consider the scenic Desert Lounge for a quiet dinner with your significant other. If you prefer to eat while you enjoy music and entertainment, Amangiri’s Chinle Site is the place to be. Lastly, but certainly not least, are the resort’s spa and wellness facilities. At the Amana Spa, you may engage in Hózhó healing, yoga on the rocks, and/or grounding rituals while you admire the breathtaking view of the American Canyon Country.
could even relax and grab some food at one of the hotels that surround it. Bootleg Canyon is a great vacation getaway because it’s only a 30-minute drive away from the Strip. Additionally, several hotels that are right by the area have very affordable prices. If you want to hike or ride your bike, you may access more than 36 miles of designated trails. The elevated routes are designed for seasoned bike riders, while the lower ones are suitable for beginners.
In short, whether you appreciate local dining, connecting with mother nature, or improving your wellness, Amangiri is a perfect romantic getaway.
Do you prefer gazing at natural views instead of riding a bike? Bootleg Canyon is still a great choice for a vacation getaway. At the top of the mountain, you may grab a spot and take in the scenes of the Las Vegas Valley and Lake Mead. To get there, you could either hike your way up the mountain or, alternatively, hop on a shuttle. To top it all off, you can join a ziplining tour group. This allows you to both go on an adventure and admire the beautiful Bootleg Canyon.
The LINQ Promenade
Traveling solo this summer? In that case, Bootleg Canyon might be the place to be. In this natural area, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and adventures, ranging from biking routes to zip lines. For that matter, you
Looking for some family-friendly fun on the Las Vegas Strip? Look no further than the LINQ Promenade. This all-in-one facility has everything, including a hotel, restaurants, shopping centers, and even ziplines.
As long as they bring their jackets with them, your kids will certainly have a great time visiting the Ice Bar. This area’s walls, seats, and even glasses are made out of ice. You can have a cold alcoholic drink while your kids play with 100 tons of ice and sip on one of the juices from the children’s mocktail menu. Alternatively, you could bring the entire family along for a ride on the 500-feet tall High Roller wheel. For a more daring adventure, hop on the FLY LINQ zipline and take in an aerial view of the Strip while you’re 1,080 feet in the air. If high elevations isn’t your thing, put on some goggles and virtually zipline your way around the strip through the LINQ’s VR Adventures, which also offers other virtual video games. Apart from that, you can find all that you and your family need at the LINQ Promenade’s shopping area. For a start, the kids will certainly
get blown away by the LINQ’s two-floor sweets and candy shop, I LOVE SUGAR. Moreover, you may shop for clothing and accessories, buy gifts for your loved ones at home, and pick between various restaurants. Simply put, there’s something for everyone in the family at the LINQ Promenade. Similarly, solo travelers and couples can find a variety of outdoors adventures, relaxing activities, and scenic spots at Bootleg Canyon and the Amangiri, respectively. In short, regardless of who you’re traveling with and what you like to do, these three vacation getaways are worth visiting this summer.