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
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 Vegas...it 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