New Mexico to Nevada

By: Bill Whaley
5 October, 2017

According to Wikipedia: (Adam) “Laxalt (Nevada Attorney General) is the son of the late former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Michelle Laxalt, the daughter of former Nevada Governor and U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV). Adam Laxalt, was not publicly acknowledged by Domenici until 2013.[2] At that time, Domenici acknowledged that Laxalt was his son and was a result of the affair and said: “I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior.”

Republican Paul Laxalt was governor of Nevada and a friend of California governor Ronald Reagan. Reagan and Laxalt used to ride horses together at Laxalt’s Marlette Lake hideaway in the Sierras before Laxalt became a senator and Reagan President of the U.S. My step-father and rancher used to call Paul up when he had “water” problems during irrigation season. The state only had a few hundred thousand people then. Paul’s dad was a sheepherder in northern Nevada who showed up occasionally at his wife’s Basque hotel in Carson City.

In Nevada Gov. Laxalt pushed through legislation that changed Casino ownership so that Corporations could own Casinos in lieu of single proprietorships. Some say Laxalt was doing a favor for Howard Hughes so the latter wouldn’t be required to appear in person in front of the local sheriff or Nevada Gaming Commission for a license. The change in the law allowed the Mob to become legitimate under the guise of Corporate America.

Old timers in Nevada like to talk about the genealogy of current Casino bosses whose family roots go back to ethnic neighborhoods in Chicago and New York. In this exhaustive and well-documented story about the mob, the writer Ovid Demaris says, “this book is the exact true account of the life and times of the “last Mafioso,” Jimmy Fratianno, the Cosa Nostra’s highest-ranking member ever to “turn.” (The Last Mafioso, New York, Times Books,1981). The book sits on my shelf like a guilty pleasure. I’ve only read the bits about the snitch and Billy (see below).

The writer above refers to William C. “Billy” Marchiondo about 15 times, according to the index. The Albuquerque Journal obit says, “William Marchiondo C., 87, went to be with the Lord on March 27, 2015.” Prior to Billy’s death the legendary mediator in Albuquerque negotiated a settlement between yours truly and Mayor Bobby Duran of Taos in a lawsuit.

Duran and his attorney had filed the lawsuit against Horse Fly and me for misuse of “public image” in the monthly journal. Space for the tiny image in the full-page ad amounted to about 1% of the single page advertisement for Sign Man Jeff Northrup’s “passport” photo business at Southside Copies. Mayor Bobby told me later, “It (filing the lawsuit) was the stupidest thing I ever did.”

I had heard of Billy Marchiondo, a Raton native, from my old pal Saki Karavas, who defended the Greek against wily out-of-towners in the Gately liquor license case, circa late seventies. Billy lost the battle but Saki won the war based on good karma.

During a break in the proceedings Billy and I spoke about Saki and the attorney’s own defamation cases with the Albuquerque Journal when he was accused of having Mafia connections. Marchiondo told me how crooked Nevada was back in the seventies and early eighties. He showed me signed photos and so forth of his notorious clientele. Marchiondo had filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client, whose name I’ve forgotten. The client wanted a gaming license but had been denied by first the sheriff, then the Nevada Supreme Court. My sister had worked for the one of the justices who ruled against Marchiondo.

In The Last Mafioso the author quotes from confidential affidavits referring to Marchiondo’s connections to Vegas and a scam having to do with state contracts and cleaning detergent. Sources said Marchiondo was the bagman for Gov. Jerry Apodaca. Marchiondo apparently was trying to get New Mexico contracts for his client.

But here’s the interesting part. Billy told me that he passed the torch, his clients, to Oscar Goodman, the Mafia attorney. Oscar later became the popular Mayor of Las Vegas but was term-limited. Oscar represented characters made famous in Scorsese’s movie, Casino. Today, Oscar’s wife Carolyn serves as Mayor and the face of Las Vegas in the midst of the Sin City’s response to the shooting massacre.

On television this Mayor Goodman mentioned how wonderful and how exemplary Las Vegas is in response to crisis. At 78 the Mayor appears ageless in her coiffed blond hair. Nevadans, especially from Vegas, wrote the book on public relations and marketing. Vegas began by selling sin and now it can sell if not the massacre its praiseworthy response. Despite the bad, it’s all good in Mayor Carolyn’s eyes.

Adam Laxalt, St. Pete’s son, and Paul’s grandson is preparing to run for governor of Nevada. As Attorney General he refused to implement a voter referendum that required background checks on gun buyers. Between the weekly firearm shows in Las Vegas, and their vocal supporters, we know folks love their guns in Nevada and across the nation. The “gun” has become a kind of fetish or divine object, an icon representing the soul and spirit of devotees.

As long as you’ve got a buck to spend you’re welcome in Vegas and you’re  just as good as the classy white rich guy or gal standing next to you at the Crap Table or Video Poker machine. But if you’re broke, there’s not a colder place outside the Arctic Circle at 60 degrees below zero.

What happens in Las Vegas no longer stays in Vegas. You can see how the Vegas values, money as an end in itself, has trickled up to the mainstream political parties and especially their donors, the financiers on Wall St. The super preachers urge parishioners to pray not for forgiveness but for wealth. The “Moron” in the words of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump and his golden tower (shower?) represent Vegas values writ large.


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