As We See It

Las Vegas needs a timeout

Mugshots: Paris Hilton and Cy Waits

You can say one thing about Las Vegas: When we say, “Everyone outta the pool!” we damn well mean it.

We’ve been through a tough patch recently, all of it unexpected. First the offspring of Michael Jordan gave new meaning to the term “double double” on the weekend of Aug. 21-22 by running up a bar and gambling tab of nearly $60,000 during visits to Haze nightclub and Liquid Pool Lounge at Aria. The sons of the NBA legend and underwear pitchman were stripped to their Hanes, metaphorically speaking.

Compounding the rather extravagant tabs was a Twitter update that Marcus Jordan sent out a announcing, “Last night was stupid. ... 35k at Haze ... Totals 50k something the whole day.. Damn!! Going to the pool again today ... Gotta relax!” The post was soon taken down. Marcus is only 20 and thus not legally old enough to drink alcohol in this state (Jeffrey Jordan is 21). Predictably, MGM Resorts International and the Nevada Gaming Control Board are reportedly investigating this incident.

Friday afternoon at MGM Grand, about 1,500 people beat a hasty but orderly retreat from the hotel’s pool area after high levels of chlorine leaked into the MGM Grand’s Lazy River water attraction. Approximately 100 guests were treated for breathing problems, and twenty-six were transported by paramedics to Las Vegas-area hospitals. The resulting photos of a half-dozen emergency units parked outside the hotel will not be used for any LVCVA-sanctioned marketing campaign.

And the high-profile event that capped this unfortunate weekend-to-weekend stretch was the arrest of Paris Hilton and her boyfriend, Vegas nightclub maven Cy Waits, on drug charges during a Friday night Strip traffic stop near Wynn Las Vegas. In a farcical scene befitting the HBO series Weeds, Hilton and Waits were stopped when a Metro officer detected the unmistakable fragrance of pot seeping out of the Cadillac Escalade being driven by Waits. The officer found a small amount of cocaine in powder form in a handbag in Hilton’s possession. Both were booked into, and released from, Clark County Jail. Hilton’s microwave-style incarceration, which lasted no more than three hours, raised questions of preferential treatment (denied by police in a story that appeared on the front page of the Review-Journal). Waits was released later Saturday.

The timing was particularly egregious for the 34-year-old Waits, who had been big news in the days leading up to the arrest. He and his twin brother, Jesse, are managing partners in Tryst at Wynn Las Vegas and XS at adjoining Encore. They run also the nightspot Drai's After Hours at Bill's Gamblin' Hall (formerly Barbary Coast), which is owned by Harrah's Entertainment. Last week the Waits brothers were left in charge of the Wynn nightclub empire established by Victor Drai when it was announced that Drai and Steve Wynn were formally ending their long business relationship. In the aftermath of the arrests, Waits has been “separated” from Wynn Las Vegas, and Ms. Hilton has been banned from both the Wynn and Encore.

We’ve had better weeks, that’s for certain. Of course, at some point Vegas will bounce back from all this turmoil. It always does. But first, we need to drain and scrub the pool.

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