These two actors, Mooris Shenker and Sam Landy bring back the haunting memory of the Dunes Hotel where I thought I would retire in my job as a Baccarat floorman. The job was not haunting but really a great fun job, but the incidents that brought my termination, were a nightmare. Harry Reid was the Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission at the time and his agency was smack in the middle of an investigation that secretly followed and recorded surveillance of my activity by agents disguised as normal everyday citizens following my coming and going from my home. They may have tapped my telephone line at my home and who knows what else. It is scary, especially because Nevada has no Freedom of Information Act like the United States government. The Nevada Gaming Control Board, the investigative body of Nevada Gaming, and the Gaming Commission, the five member board appointed by the Governor, are protected by Nevada Law to keep all files, investigations, reports, remarks, rumors, and anything else they have on a Gaming employee or Gaming applicant completely sealed and hidden from the person being watched.
They are completely autonomous with this power and it is comparable to a totalitarian regime. A person can be accused of something and never be told any of the facts of the accusation. In my case, I was completely unaware of this secret surveillance and have no rights under Nevada law to request exactly who were my accusers or the explanation of the secret accusations.
How this even came to the surface and I became aware of a problem was during my investigation when I applied for a Non-restricted gaming license. A Non-restricted license allows live table games with dealers and slot machines over a total of 15 machines.
Thus all began when I became interested in the Skyline Casino that was built on the Boulder Highway on the way to Hoover Dam. Frank Kish was a big bookmaker, gambler and customer of the Dunes. He and several partners built the Skyline in the 1960s, but it never took off and had to close. It originally had about 54 slots, a couple of blackjack games, a bar and a decent restaurant. Frank Kish practically lived in the Dunes poker room and I became acquainted with him through my bosses in the baccarat game. Frank was a big bookie and was rather low key in the eyes of law enforcement and did not break any laws other than sports betting without a license. He and many better-players like him were common place in Las Vegas. In those days there were no big sports books in hotels. The betting action was on the street as it always was for years. All on the up and up, with relatively few problems.
Kish would bet 20 dimes on a game without blinking an eye. A dime is a thousand dollars. There was plenty of business and the Nevada Gaming Commission had no comprehension of the size and the amount of money being wagered on a day by day basis. After the Monday Night Football game, Tuesday morning was settle up day, where bookie to bookie, bookie to player and others involved in the intricate system of sports betting would usually meet at the Castaways Hotel. The Castaways was demolished and is now the site of the Mirage.
Kish decided to reopen the Skyline, so he and a few of the old partners spruced up the outside, cleaned the inside and opened the doors. Kish told everyone at the Dunes about the casino and hoped that the dealers and cocktail waitresses would come out to visit, with them possibly having an after shift cocktail, grab a bite to eat and maybe gamble at the the slots or table games. So one night I wanted to see the little Casino, because it was my dream to own a gambling operation of my own. So I went out to the Skyline and walked around looking for Kish but he was out for a few minutes and would be back within an hour.
To kill some time I sat down and broke a $100 bill on the blackjack game and played $10 to $15 a hand. In less than 25 minutes I was betting the limit of $50 a hand and one over $800. Then in walked in Frank Kish. I was somewhat embarrassed at the money I won because I was not even trying. The cards just kept coming. My $800 win put a dent in the nights gaming win in this little “joint”.
Kish was trying to get someone to buy the place, and I was interested. It was perfect, however I didn’t have enough money to buy the place by myself, but some inheritance I had was enough to buy 30%, and eventually I was promised 30% if I came out to work in the pit and manage a shift. I talked to some of the owners at the Dunes and they liked the Skyline and said they might be interested in buying the place.
Years prior to the Skyline, I would drive to work at the Dunes and have to wait at the traffic light on the corner of the Las Vegas strip and Flamingo Road. Each day I noticed that this small little motel, Empey’s Desert Villa with 100 rooms, was prime for converting into a small casino. It eventually became the Barbary Coast and now is the Cromwell Hotel. When the Gaughan family sold the hotel to Caesars Entertainment the value of the property was over $800 million. I pitched the idea to the man who hired me at the Dunes Hotel. He is one of the great guys I have ever known in my life. He said we will buy the place and get a Teamster loan and build it out. The owner changed his mind on the selling price so out deal never went through.
So the Dunes allowed my to go out to the Skyline to take a good look at the operation and if it was the right opportunity, several of these operators would make a deal and buy the place. This deal never worked out and I am not going to digress on the story, but wanted to point out that they gave me leave to work there in a fact finding mission. The deal did not work so I came back to the Dunes. I was away from the Dunes for about 6 months and at the time I had left the Dunes I was a baccarat floorman. When I returned my job was taken and I had to work in the Dunes blackjack pit for about two weeks before I returned to the baccarat pit.
This is where the problem began, I think. I was assigned to watch four tables and just next to me was another floorman watching four tables. We sort of overlapped on the supervision. Jimmy Thacker was an experienced gaming boss and comes from a family of experienced casino employees. Incidentally this was about 1974-75. Jimmy motioned to me towards a table he was watching. I looked at the game and he walked over to me and said watch the play. The dealer broke the hand and paid the players. Instead of paying them even money, he paid two of the payers even money and then topped off their bets with an extra stack. The pay off to each was double what it should be. I started to get close to the table and take some action, but Jim mentioned that the dealer is getting off in just a minute and he would handle the situation then. Why he did not take back the payoff immediately is the fact that on the table, the recipient of the over payoff, was Lillian Shenker and her friend. Jim did not want to embarrass her in front of the guest, as she was the wife of the owner of the hotel, Morris Shenker, the infamous lawyer from St.. Louis, and former lawyer of Jimmy Hoffa. She was also a former city judge and a lawyer.
The dealer Fred Perlove was pulled to the side and Jim Thacker read him the riot act and told him to never do that again, etc. etc. Perlove remarked that he felt sorry for her and that she was not winning so he wanted to help her. Jim was furious, yet kept his voice down, reprimanding the dealer. The main shift manager, Aaron Herman, was in the adjacent pit and looked over and saw both of us in a huddle with Perlove. He came right over and inquired what happened. Herman did not tolerate this kind of activity and immediately fired the dealer, right on the spot. The dealer walked away with a grin saying, “You can’t fire me. I will be back.”
A week went by and I was transferred back to the baccarat pit. Things were back to normal. About a month later, it was announced by the new baccarat manager that Fred Perlove would be placed in the baccarat pit as a floorman. I could not believe it. I guy fired for stealing. Caught in the act and fired on the spot. Then he is brought back to the Dunes and given a promotion, the most prestigious in the casino, which was also the most profitable.
It was tough for me, but I maintained my dignity and kept cool towards Perlove, working on the same shift as me. I think that it really must of rubbed the other dealers in the Dunes the wrong way that Perlove was rehired. A signal was sent to them that said the Dunes owner rewards someone who steals for his wife’s benefit. A bad precedent and totally a moral turpitude by the Dunes management.
Then about a month later, I am on duty in baccarat and a man in a suit walks up to me and flashes a law enforcement badge and said, “Are you Geno Munari?” He then handed me a subpoena in the matter of “Fred Perlove.
After that the Dunes cadre of lawyers acted as lobbyists in the defense of Mrs. Shenker. They had every excuse that she was unaware of receiving the money illegally from the dealer, Perlove. Each one of us that was involved with the incident were called to testify and answered questions by the Gaming Control Board. I did not lie, magnify or bear false witness in the situation, and answered honestly as to what i witnessed.
I did not confer with the other witnesses and come to a common answer to the questions. A month later I was asked to resign or be fired. I was given no reason and was not give any information why I was asked to leave. I told them I would be happy to take a polygraph on anything they might want to ask. I had nothing to hide. I said I won’t resign, and the Casino Manager told me to go back to work. I worked another week in the baccarat and then told today is your last day.
Going forward to my gaming application, I was told to never mention Mrs. Shenker and the Dunes incident at the Gaming Commission meeting, and given no logical reason why.
(One day an investigator asked me to bring by a document that was needed to finalize my Non-restricted gaming application. I got to the Control Board offices a little early and the receptionist just waved me into to my investigator’s cubical area. As I came around the corner to his work area I saw Sam Landy sitting there talking to the investigator. I thought what is he doing here. He had just replaced Irwin gordon as Baccarat manger by Morris Shenker. He saw me and suddenly jumped up like a jack-rabbit and mumbled, ” I, I-I was just passing by and just happened to stop by, ah ahah see you later.”
He was one of the useless pieces of DNA that tried to frame me and bear false witness against me.)
At the hearing my application was called and Reid asked me about why I was fired at the Dunes Hotel. Then commissioner George Swarts interrupted, and took my defense and said that I was used as a smokescreen at the Dunes Hotel. Nothing more was said and I received my license unanimously. Little did I know that Reid and the commission was well aware of the accusations of Shenker et al, paying an informant $4000 to give false testimony to the Control Board and Shenker, about me. This informant was a fugitive from the law and had stolen for than $250,000 in a securities fraud.
Shenker was previously licensed by the commission. He personally took the Dunes to bankruptcy and the Dunes had to be sold. His history is really deplorable, he was corrupt, he was a thief, a bunco artist and a useless piece of DNA. A disgusting gentleman from the inside to the outside.
Reid and others knew all about his history and past, yet licensed him, and then refused to censure him for his handling of the Dunes incident and breaking Nevada law.
He was closely associated with other parties that were convicted of skimming and having hidden ownership in Nevada casinos. Incidentally, Morris Shenker has a very shady past. Just Google him. When I left, Frank Fertita Sr., founder of Stations Casinos was given my position in baccarat.
The purpose of this lengthy mini novella is that I would like to sue Morris Shenker’s estate, Senator Reid and the Control Board. If I could see my hidden dossier, I would have all the facts to allow a suit to be filed.