Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | 3:57 p.m.
Nightclub operators and Metro vice cops are keeping an eagle eye on warring party promoters who have been linked to accusations of pimping out glamour girls as hookers. The indictments began after the Feb. 21 shooting on the Strip that resulted in the deaths of a taxi driver and his female passenger after aspiring rapper Kenneth Cherry was shot dead and his Maserati crashed into the cab that became an instant fireball.
Ammar Harris, 27, a self-described pimp and nightclub party regular, was captured in a California manhunt and is now behind bars accused of killing the three people. Our colleagues at the Las Vegas Sun have reported that District Attorney Steve Wolfson plans to seek the death penalty against Harris, who reportedly got into a fight with Cherry at a CityCenter nightclub.
Ammar Asim Faruq Harris appeared Monday in Clark County District Court on murder and attempted-murder charges. He is being held without bail and says he has no money and needs a public defender. Trial is set for Sept 9.
Meantime, 28-year-old Arman Izadi was arrested at his luxury condo on April 24 and charged with 20 counts of kidnapping, robbery, pandering and battery with the use of a deadly weapon and remains in jail until next Tuesday for his first court appearance.
Alleged prostitutes who worked for him at various Strip nightclubs say they were beaten and tortured. Izadi was well known as a Las Vegas club promoter and was in the company of several party girls at nightlife venues on the Strip who say he pimped them as prostitutes.
The two arrests have led to a war among rival nightclub party promoters, one side trying to grab the “vacant territory” by accusing the other side of operating exactly like Izadi. Nik Richie, who runs TheDirty.com, has been aggressively rattling the cages of warring promoters. He’s published photos of them partying with nightclub operators at their homes.
Another has launched his own website, Strip of Sin, to identify promoters and then pass that onto The Dirty. Another has a Las Vegas TV site to defend himself. Accusations are being hurled faster than champagne bottles can be popped in a nightclub.
The battle has hotel security, Metro vice and nightclub owners taking a hard look at promoters. I have been reliably told: “Some have already been 86’d from properties, and others have been cautioned that if the slightest evidence of them pimping out party girls exists, they will be banned for life from clubs.”
One knowledgeable source told me: “Not one nightclub wants any of this going on. They don’t want it in their clubs. They don’t want their licenses yanked out from under them. They don’t want vice crawling all over the clubs. It’s one thing to be a single girl out for a night of entertainment … but it’s a whole other dangerous thing if these are girls offering to party for big bucks.”
Another source told me: “It’s become a war. Those who have been doing this are trying desperately to shift the blame onto those who haven’t been doing it. They want to be able to look clean and above board and get those who are clean into big trouble. It’s become really nasty.”
I also was told that the accusations are burning innocent people. Girls who are nightclub regulars or booked as legitimate ambiance models have been shot for websites and branded as hookers. Photos have been published of arrested promoters in pools at homes of nightclub operators partying with the girls.
We’ll learn more with Izadi’s appearance in court next Tuesday. Meantime, security and oversight are being ramped up, and vice officers are increasingly undercover looking to arrest more.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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