January 27, 2018

Another Las Vegas story

Sally Denton & Roger Morris, 2001 - The newly prominent Steve Wynn attracted unwanted publicity in August 1967 by his presence at a ghastly accident that left a Las Vegas woman dead. It started innocently enough—Wynn socializing with mobsters Friedman and Lansky courier Irving “Niggy” Devine, cruising Lake Mead on the Caesars Palace yacht with a bevy of party girls. But when one of the guests, a dark-haired, bikini-clad prostitute and, according to contemporaneous news stories, an undercover FBI informant, dove into the water for a swim, the 45-foot cabin cruiser backed over her—its propeller cutting her in half. No one saw her jump, according to the witnesses’ statements. Wynn and Friedman both claimed to have been asleep. The tragedy would dog Wynn for decades, surfacing whenever he was subjected to background investigations. With no autopsy or probe into the cause of death, and nothing beyond the boating party’s vague, terse statements, the event remained a mystery—including exactly what Steve Wynn himself was doing that day aboard the Caesars Galley yacht.

The Money and the Power. Knopf, 2001. Denton & Morris.

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