Tuesday, Oct. 5, 1982 | 6 a.m.
Prominent Nevada gaming figure Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal was injured Monday night when an explosion ripped through and gutted his car while it was parked near Marie Calender's restaurant at 600 E. Sahara Avenue.
Rosenthal, who was transported to Sunrise Hospital, sustained minor burns on both legs, his left arm and on the left side of his face. A hospital spokesman said he was released Monday night.
Police at the scene said Rosenthal refused to sign a crime report or discuss the matter with investigators.
The only other injury reported from the explosion was sustained by a U.S. Secret Service agent who is a member of the advance party for President Ronald Reagan's Visit Thursday. He was struck in the eye by a flying piece of glass. Rosenthal had been inside the restaurant with three friends, Marty Kane, Ruby Goldstein, and Stanley Green.
The men had said goodbye, and Rosenthal got into his car. As Rosenthal started the car, the bomb exploded.
An eyewitness said Rosenthal was wearing a blue jogging suit and was able to speak when taken to the hospital.
John Rice, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas office of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency, said the bomb was of a high explosive type but instead of going "up and forward to the driver, it went up, out and back toward the restaurant."
"If I had seen the car and not known what had happened I would figure for sure anyone in the car would not have made it," Rice said.
Barbara Lawry, who lives across Sahara Avenue from the parking lot where the explosion took place, said the bomb "sounded like a train fell on my roof."
"I ran outside, and the parking lot was mobbed with cars," Lawry said. "Rosenthal's car shot right up in the air and flames went about two stories in the air."
Lori Wardle, a cashier at Marie Calender, said the blast was enormous.
"It was a huge explosion," she said. "It blew the windows out of the back of the restaurant."
A Metro Police officer theorized that the bomb was either under the car or behind the front seat. Investigators said they were attempting to obtain a vehicle similar to Rosenthal's to reconstruct the explosion.
Rosenthal. one-time entertainment director at the Stardust Hotel on the Strip during the Allen Glick regime, in 1980 was involved in a dispute with reputed mobster Anthony John Spilotro over Rosenthal's ex-wife, Geri.
In November 1980, Rosenthal filed lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Metro Police Department, alleging officers helped Geri flee to California after a violent confrontation with Rosenthal with his dispute with Spilotro.
In recent years, Rosenthal was embroiled in a continuing struggle with Nevada Gaming authorities over his suitability with a key gaming employee.
In an argument before the Nevada Supreme Court, Rosenthal claimed his constitutional rights had been violated when he was ousted from his position at the Stardust.