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Posted 09 Apr 2001   For week ended April 06, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 05Apr01

By Rosemary Pollock

Book Claims LDS Church Money Financed Growth of Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- In their new book, "The Money and the Power, The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, 1947-2000," Sally Denton and Roger Morris deem Las Vegas the "the American city of the 21st century." Crediting the last census with the information of 6,000 new residents a month and a casino- service oriented city that has put Las Vegas in the front ranking of a national economy, husband and wife team Denton and Morris have put together exhaustive research to support their premise of political, economic and criminal corruption.

"The city has been the quintessential crossroads and end result of the now furtive, now open collusion of government, business, and criminal commerce that has become--on so much unpalatable but undeniable evidence--a governing force in the American system," they write.

One chapter in the book details how a small group of bankers, particularly E. Parry Thomas, head of Valley Bank, funneled deposits from the Mormon Church into large loans the fueled the growth of Vegas in the 1950s.

"If a single entity, beyond the Syndicate, financed the first great expansion of modern Las was...wittingly and unwittingly...the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," Denton and Morris write. The authors shed light on the early career of Wynn, who with a loan from Thomas, bought a 25-foot-wide sliver of land adjacent to the parking lot at Caesars for $1.1 million. Months later the land was sold for $2.25 million and the profits were used to acquire the Golden Nugget from a blacklisted gangster.

The Money and the Power also tells little-known stories of FBI agent Joe Yablonsky, who in the early 1980's made an attempt to bust the syndicate's local hold, only to draw the ire of politician Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.), a confidant of Ronald Regan.

The Money and the Power is accused of too many rumors and innuendo. Its greatest failing is one of conception. The authors place their focus on the supply side of gambling economics and not enough on the growing demand. Las Vegas may be "the American city of the 21st century," but there are many who would argue as to why.


Las Vegas Confidential
Business Week pg22 2Apr01 A6
By Mark Frankel


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The Money and the Power
More about "The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, 1947-2000" by Sally Denton and Roger Morris at

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