|ROSKI MUM ON HILTON DEAL
Thursday, January 11, 2001
By JEFF SIMPSON
lasvegas.com GAMING WIRE
LAS VEGAS - Ed Roski Jr. mused about Las Vegas' future
but the prospective Las Vegas Hilton buyer had little to say about
the city's present during a Thursday speech.
The Los Angeles real estate developer failed to mention
troubled $365 million deal with Park Place Entertainment, as he
delivered a luncheon talk to the American Gaming Summit at Bellagio.
Park Place Chief Financial Officer Scott LaPorta said last
that it's highly unlikely Roski will buy the megaresort after the
Southern Californian failed to make a scheduled $5 million payment.
Roski, who also owns the Silverton, refused to answer
questions about the deal for the Paradise Road megaresort, instead
referring all queries to his Las Vegas lawyer, John O'Reilly.
But O'Reilly said he wasn't prepared to talk about the
deal and didn't know when he would.
Casino industry lawyer Bob Faiss introduced Roski at the
conference for institutional investors, and referred to many of the
developer's business accomplishments, holdings and dealings.
He's a part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings
franchises, and he developed the Staples Center sports complex in the
But Faiss made no mention of Roski's deal for the Las
which the developer had planned to transform into an
entertainment-driven property that would target mid-market gamblers.
Roski spoke of the importance of trust for the Las Vegas
community, an apparent back-handed swipe at Park Place.
Sources say Roski decided to break-off the deal after
convinced that Park Place had damaged the property's earnings
potential by sending the Hilton's traditional high-end business to
Caesars Palace and the company's other Strip casinos.
"The town is built on trust, and that's why I've invested
Vegas," he said. "Good business is all about trust. You trust the
slot machines. You trust the blackjack dealers; you trust the
casinos; you trust the companies, and you trust the state."
Park Place executives admit they sent high-end gamblers
but deny they broke their sales agreement with Roski.
When asked before his speech if he planned legal action
Park Place, Roski said, "No Comment."
Roski said the city's favorable legal and regulatory
and the synergy of the clustered resorts are pluses for the city.
The need to diversify casino management, distinguish resorts
each other, compete against other gaming venues and diversify
Nevada's economy are Las Vegas' most important challenges.
The world's largest casino operator said Roski's failure
the payment requires him to complete the purchase by Saturday,
although Park Place Executive Vice President Mark Dodson said Tuesday
that because the deadline is a Saturday, the company considers the
deadline to be the following business day, or Monday at 5 p.m.
If Roski fails to buy the property by next week's deadline,
company believes the deal would be dead and Roski would forfeit the
$20 million he's already given Park Place.
Wall Street analysts believe the Las Vegas Hilton won't
and will be a costly asset for Park Place to keep.
Meantime, the words many were waiting to hear about the
Hilton were left unsaid.
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