Monday, May 17, 2010 | 3:42 p.m.
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Pageants, admits that Las Vegas is turning into his beauty pageant central and said he’s committed to at least three more years here in Las Vegas. The Miss Universe Pageant will be here this August for the first time, and he’s in discussions for where Miss USA will take place through 2013.
Donald told me yesterday: “The girls competing are really beautiful, and the show is fantastic. It’s why we’ve been extended for three more years by NBC. We’ve had great ratings, so Las Vegas will be our home -- but now every hotel in town wants us.
“I can’t tell you if we’ll stay at Planet Hollywood, though. So we have to make that decision to see where we will go. But Las Vegas is the home for the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants.”
The real estate mogul dodged my queries about his three meetings with Steve Wynn while here. Steve attended the 2010 Miss USA Pageant solo last night as Donald’s guest in the front row of Planet Hollywood’s Theater for the Performing Arts.
“Robin, we had lunch, we had breakfast, we had dinner. We love Steve. I’ve always loved him, and we’ve had a great relationship over the years. I wanted him to come here and see it for himself.”
I asked Donald if he still wanted to own a casino property here.
“Based on what I read, you already have enough casinos in Las Vegas. I don’t really need one because I have a lot of wonderful buildings already -- in Manhattan. I also have a very beautiful building here (Trump International Hotel). I’m really proud of it. It’s a terrific building, and we’re doing very well now with it.
“I visited it yesterday and today. I sense the economy is picking up. Las Vegas will be fine again -- especially with guys like Steve Wynn and Phil Ruffin (Treasure Island owner and his partner here.)”
After the pageant last night, he told me onstage of winner Miss Michigan Rima Fakih: “She’s a sensational pick. The judges did a great job and picked a very beautiful girl. She’s a perfect Miss USA, and I think we’ve got a great shot now at Miss Universe when we come back this summer.”
Yesterday, I used Twitter to break the story of Donald looking at other hotel choices for his next three pageants in a possible move from Planet Hollywood. Executives there shrugged their shoulders when I asked about them saying farewell to the Miss Universe Organization, and my gossip colleague Norm Clarke followed up this morning with his report that Miss Universe will be held at Mandalay Bay.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.