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Frank Sinatra's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year The Mob.
The tech billionaire, estimated to be worth over billion, was the sole bidder for the Lake Tahoe resort that straddles the Nevada and California border. Ellison hasn’t revealed his plans for the small casino and 10-story hotel tower that was once a playground for celebrities such as the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe, and Sinatra’s Rat Pack. The property has switched hands numerous times, the most recent owner being a real estate firm named Criswell Radovan. The California developer closed the resort in 2013 to make way for a million renovation, but those plans were halted three years later after the company filed for bankruptcy.
X 34 Frank Sinatra & The Rat Pack Sands Casino.
Ellison is no stranger to the Lake Tahoe community. He’s currently building an 18,000-square-foot “getaway” mansion on the North Shore according to the Sacramento Bee. With Ellison and his investment holdings company mum Cal Neva’s future, observers can only wonder whether he plans to return the resort to its old luster, or reimagine the acreage into an entire new concept.“They’ve been radio silent,” Strategic Gaming’s Regional Director Eric Dale told the Bee.
Strategic Gaming was going to operate Cal Neva’s small casino space under Criswell Radovan’s ownership. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency spokesman Tom Lotshaw added, “We haven’t heard anything.”When the resort closed, the casino space was very small at just 6,000 square feet. According to reports, the massive renovation undertook by Criswell was nearly complete when the company went under.
Nearly all of the property’s guestrooms have been refreshed, as has the resort’s main restaurant. Frank Sinatra purchased the resort in 1960 and transformed it into a retreat for his Rat Pack and A-list celebrity friends. He kept the casino and hotel open year-round, and built the Celebrity room and theater where the famed singer often performed. Sinatra’s ownership went south when his mobster friends began hanging around. Sinatra used Cal Neva’s underground tunnels, which were built during prohibition to sneak alcohol into the resort, to move the mobsters around the property.
Frank Sinatra ONE - Nevada Humanities
Chicago mobster Sam Giancana was a frequent guest, and that attracted the attention of the FBI, which began monitoring who was visiting the casino. At the urging of the federal government, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) revoked Sinatra’s casino license in 1963. That led to Sinatra selling the resort, and it would never return to similar prominence.
Though Sinatra became a key figure in the development and rise of the Las Vegas Strip, his ongoing rumored ties to organized crime kept him barred by the NGCB from holding a casino license. That changed 18 years later in 1981 when the gaming board returned his gaming permit. At the time, the NGCB praised Sinatra’s charitable works, and criticized the persistent media reports that linked him to notorious mobsters in New York, Chicago, and Las Vegas.
Frank Sinatra easily ranks among the greatest singers to grace a stage in Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas. In Nevada, he achieved this status despite an often-cantankerous demeanor, run-ins with casino executives and state officials, and onstage struggles as he played major showrooms long past his peak.
He also set a new standard in defining what was "cool," enhancing Las Vegas's image on the national entertainment scene as the de facto leader of the Rat Pack in the early 1960s with fun-loving cohorts Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. Yet when Sinatra first arrived in Las Vegas, his career was at a low point. Born in Hoboken in 1915, and a singer with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, he had been a rail-thin pop idol in the 1940s, particularly with "Bobby Soxers" (young women so-called for their low socks and saddle shoes).
Sinatra at the Sands - Wikipedia
His marriage was on the rocks and his new relationship–stormy in its own way–with screen goddess Ava Gardner was generating fodder for gossip columnists. Not only did he leave his wife and three children for her, but they also fought regularly and publicly. Gardner's career was doing far better in 1951 when Sinatra, by then considered a fallen idol, made his Las Vegas debut on September 4 at Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn. Sinatra's divorce was finalized under quickie Nevada laws and he soon wed Gardner. He played the Desert Inn once more, in July 1952, and a modest newspaper ad proclaimed him "America's foremost balladeer singing the songs you want to hear." In 1953, Sinatra returned to play the newly opened Sands Hotel's Copa Room, the town's most popular showroom, just as he was about to become the Strip's hottest star. Sands general manager Jack Entratter's progressive vision for the Copa Room generated the biggest-name headliners Las Vegas had hosted, including singer Johnny Ray, comedian and television star Danny Thomas, and the comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Sinatra respected Entratter, a former New York Copacabana nightclub executive who reportedly stood by him during his worst days. The Sands became Sinatra's personal playground, on and off stage.
If he acted as if he owned part of the place, he did: Sinatra held a two-percent interest in the hotel that increased to nine percent before he had to sell it. His career turned around, and Las Vegas both contributed to and benefited from it. He fought for and won the role of Maggio in the 1953 film, , receiving an Oscar for his performance.