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Joan Whitely

Six Harrah's hotels will pay fines

26 February 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The Nevada State Contractors Board on Thursday closed its long-standing investigations into illegal remodeling at six Las Vegas hotels in the Harrah's Entertainment group, when it adopted a settlement in which the parties agree to pay the board $26,000.

Six hotels plus a shuttered construction subsidiary will each pay a $3,000 fine. To that $21,000, the parties will jointly add $5,000 for the board's investigative fees. The hotels are Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah's , Imperial Palace, Paris Las Vegas and the Rio.

The agreement notes that the seven Harrah's entities, which all were licensed contractors, "collectively performed construction or renovation ... without obtaining the necessary building permits" between 2004 and 2007.

Representing all seven parties, lawyer Dennis Haney told board members that the group has spent "well into seven figures" to identify and then remediate the portions of remodeling work that did not meet building codes.

Harrah's seven-figure sum includes the county's bill for inspections and the hiring of an outside engineering firm to verify the work, Haney said. Harrah's has hired a general contractor, W.A. Richardson Builders, he added, to supervise the repairs .

The defunct Harrah's subsidiary, called Roman Empire Development, voluntarily surrendered its contractor's license in November 2008. Five of the hotels in question also voluntarily turned in their contractor's licenses at that time.

The only two hotels before the board that still have active contractor's licenses are Harrah's two "palaces" -- Caesars Palace and the Imperial Palace.

Neither Harrah's spokeswoman Marybel Batjer nor Haney responded Thursday to requests from the Las Vegas Review-Journal for comment.

Before the board voted unanimously to accept the settlement, member Stephen Quinn verified with Haney that Harrah's would continue, after the present round of work is over, to use a licensed contractor such as Richardson instead of, in Quinn's words, "having maintenance guys doing work without permits."

Six Harrah's hotels will pay fines is republished from