Phil Ruffin’s $172 million(!) IRS tax payment … and a street-side Strip cafe?

Phil Ruffin, shown in a 2003 Las Vegas Sun file photo.
Photo: Marsh Starks

My colleague Steve Freiss walked away with some tasty tidbits from his sit-down with Treasure Island’s new owner, Phil Ruffin. You can hear the entire interview at, but Steve emailed me the highlights!

Phil says that because there is no street-side cafe along the Strip between Circus Circus and Caesars Palace, he’s thinking of carving some space out of the Sirens lagoon at T.I. for a Buccaneer Cafe!

Leach Blog Photo

AnnaLynn McCord in action with The Sirens of T.I.

Phil, who was at one time going to build a luxury Swiss-themed resort on his Frontier land called the Montreux, says he had everything ready to go, including the financing, but backed out at the last moment solely because he suddenly felt he could never match up to Steve Wynn’s levels of luxury and room rates!

When my writer pal asked Phil about the framed check for $171,953,438 hanging on the wall behind his desk, the hotelier and investor said: “That was my check to the IRS last year. Don’t let anyone ever tell you the rich don’t pay taxes!”


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