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Arnold M. Knightly

Hard Rock exec's death ruled suicide

11 March 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Randy Kwasniewski, the Hard Rock Hotel executive found dead in his home Tuesday, died of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the Clark County coroner's office said Wednesday.

Kwasniewski's body was found at his residence in Summerlin. Metropolitan Police were called to the home Tuesday morning.

Kwasniewski was married with two children, family friend and attorney David Chesnoff said. Chesnoff did not have other details about the death and said Kwasniewski's family is requesting privacy.

"We wish to express our appreciation for the outpouring of love we have received from people all over the country in response to the loss of our dear husband and dad," Chesnoff said on behalf of the family. "He was kind, hard-working and loyal to his family and friends. We ask that folks respect the family's privacy."

Kwasniewski, 56, had been in his current position as president and chief operating officer at the Hard Rock Hotel since New York-based boutique hotel operator Morgans Hotel Group bought the resort in February 2007.

He had been overseeing a $750 million expansion that added two hotel towers, casino space and a larger concert hall to the property.

Morgans Chief Executive Officer Fred Kleisner will oversee operations at the Hard Rock Hotel for the time being, the company said.

Morgans owns 14 percent of the hotel-casino and operates the off-Strip property.

DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, an affiliate of Credit Suisse, owns the remaining shares.

Kleisner became interim CEO in September 2007 upon the resignation of Ed Scheetz.

Scheetz resigned his position after a 23-year-old woman was found dead of a drug overdose inside a Turnberry Towers condominium leased by Scheetz and Morgans.

Scheetz was never charged with a crime in connection to the death. A wrongful death lawsuit brought by the woman's family in 2009 was settled out of court.