Friday, Jan. 24, 1997 | 11:59 a.m.
State regulators have denied a gaming license to Steven Rebeil, the controversial developer of Henderson's Reserve hotel-casino, but his former attorney has won an 11th hour reprieve.
The state Gaming Commission on Thursday delayed action until February 19 on a gaming license for Dominic Magliarditi, senior vice president of Ameristar Casinos, who pleaded for more time to find a new attorney.
The latest development in the long-running saga of the construction of the $60 million Reserve on 51 acres at the southeast corner of Lake Mead Drive and U.S. 95 comes after the Gaming Control Board voted unanimously to recommend denial of Rebeil's application for licensure as an officer, director and shareholder of Ameristar Casinos, Inc., the publicly traded company that merged with Gem Gaming Co., original developer of the Reserve.
It was during that previous Control Board meeting that board members, citing "overwhelming" evidence of a credit scam at Rebeil's Gem Homes development company, urged that he be deemed unfit to hold a gaming license.
Members of the Gaming Commission wasted little time Thursday on the application before voting unanimously to deny a license for Rebeil, who was not present.
But Magliarditi, who explained that the attorney for him and Rebeil, had resigned, reluctantly was granted more time by the board.
Previously, Frank A. Schreck -- one of the state's most respected gaming attorneys -- said he had represented Rebeil in the licensing procedure until it became clear "he was absolutely lying to me and lying to everybody else."
The alleged lies involved a reputed scheme in which Rebeil's Gem Homes purportedly overbilled homebuyers at a 220-residence subdivision for an average of $2,500 per house, according to Dominic Magliarditi.
Magliarditi testified that he believed Rebeil's denials of any wrongdoing "up until the latter part of 1996 ... and then Frank hit me with the bomb."
Schreck's "bomb" was his discovery that gaming investigators had learned through what he called "some very intelligent investigative work" that the subcontractors were allegedly asked to submit two bills.
Credits from the false, inflated bills were used to build Rebeil's Spanish Trail home, Magliarditi said.
Rebeil, the subject of more than a score of lawsuits alleging improprieties in various business dealings, could not be reached for comment earlier this week.
The Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to grant Magliarditi's request for more time on his application.
"We're affording him every opportunity to bring his case before the commission," said Gordon Fink, senior deputy attorney general. "However, he has no right as an applicant to be granted this continuation."
Fink explained that state law deems such requests from applicants as privileges rather than rights.
"He (Magliarditi) doesn't have the same rights as someone who already has a license," Fink said.
If this message isn't foreboding enough to Magliarditi, Bob Lewis, the only commissioner who voted to deny the request, was more succinct.
"I felt that the information was there," Lewis said. "The board had made its recommendation (to deny the license), and I felt we had enough to move forward."
After the brief hearing, Magliarditi said he was grateful the commission had granted him more time to perfect his application.
"I'll give it my best shot," Magliarditi said.
Meanwhile, Ameristar is working to satisfy its contractual obligations to Rebeil and Magliarditi and still proceed with development of the Reserve, said Brian Katz, Ameristar vice president.
Ameristar acquired Gem Gaming and the Reserve last October and is redesigning the unfinished hotel-casino.
The resort, originally designed to contain 200 rooms and 35,000-square-feet of casino space, will employ at least 850 people.
Future amenities at the hotel-casino may include attractions such as movie theaters, and a special events arena.
Ameristar operates the Cactus Pete's and Horseshu hotel-casinos in Jackpot, and has opened casinos in Iowa and Mississippi.
The Reserve is Ameristar's first Southern Nevada project and it also represents the first of a new wave of hotel-casinos planned for the developing areas of Henderson.