- - Monday, August 15, 2011


MGM Resorts says swank hotel tower is not worth saving

LAS VEGAS — Casino company MGM Resorts International is seeking county approval to demolish the defective Harmon hotel tower on the Las Vegas Strip, concluding that it’s not worth the time, money or effort to salvage the building and open.

Responding to calls from county officials in Sin City to come up with a plan, the Las Vegas company said Monday that it now wants to implode the stylish blue oval cylinder because structural defects prevent it from being used. A structural engineer said in a report last month that the building wouldn’t hold up in a strong earthquake.

Plans submitted to the county call for the building to be imploded in six months, with four months of cleanup afterward including clearing dust from the Las Vegas Strip, an intersecting street and at least two Las Vegas casinos, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas next door and Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino across the street.

The alternative, MGM Resorts spokesman Gordon Absher said, would be to conduct even more tests for 18 months to come up with a proper design to fix the tower, then another two to three years to rebuild the hotel.

“We have been assured by demolition experts that a properly executed implosion will not pose health or safety problems for residents, visitors and adjacent businesses,” Mr. Absher said.

The Harmon is part of CityCenter, an $8.5 billion development that opened in December 2009. The Harmon, originally planned as a boutique hotel with condominiums run by a nightlife company, faced problems throughout its construction and was topped off at half its intended height because of problems with the spacing of reinforcing steel.


Brady named editor-in-chief for Journal Register

PHILADELPHIA — Newspaper and digital media publisher the Journal Register Co. announced Monday that it had named Jim Brady to be editor-in-chief of its nationwide news-gathering operations, including print and digital.

Mr. Brady was executive editor of WashingtonPost.com from November 2004 to January 2009 and founder and general manager of local news website TBD. He joined the Journal Register in March to help lead its digital transformation initiative, dubbed Project Thunderdome, and now will orchestrate the company’s daily news coverage across all platforms.

Mr. Brady said in a statement that while the “the newspaper industry has undoubtedly suffered in the past decade, I maintain it’s an amazing time to be in journalism: We’re reinventing our relationship with our customers, embracing the exciting new tools of journalism, experimenting with new mobile platforms and exploring partnerships that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.”

He said the Journal Register intends to be at the forefront of such opportunities.

John Paton, the Journal Register’s chief executive, said journalism is key to expanding the company’s digital transformation efforts.


Summer concert tries all-mobile ticketing

NEW YORK — A recent concert featuring the dance duo LMFAO and rapper-producer Swizz Beatz seemed like a typical summer show, but the fans who attended were taking part in an experiment in mobile ticketing.

The Billboard Summer Blowout party was billed as the first event for which every ticket distributed was via mobile phones. Joshua Dziabiak, founder of ShowClix, the company behind the service, said the ticketing system was the first of its kind to be used in the United States and hopes the multimedia messaging service (MMS) will revolutionize the way ticketing works.

“It’s the ability to have your event tickets delivered to your mobile device without having to print anything out,” he said before Thursday’s free concert. “It’s a lot easier for patrons to remember their tickets.”

ShowClix has been making mobile ticketing available for concerts for the past three years. Instead of receiving a paper ticket, the purchaser has it sent to a mobile phone via a text message. Once the purchaser turns up to the venue and shows the phone, another device is used to scan the ticket.


Doctor pleads guilty in NYC securities case

NEW YORK — An Ivy League-trained doctor turned health care hedge fund manager has pleaded guilty in New York to a conspiracy charge for illegally evading $30 million in losses by obtaining inside information from a fellow doctor.

Joseph “Chip” Skowron III of Greenwich, Conn., entered the plea Monday to conspiring to commit securities fraud and obstructing justice. He has agreed to serve a five-year prison sentence.

Skowron oversaw six hedge funds related to health care when he worked at FrontPoint Partners LLC.

Authorities say he evaded millions of dollars in losses in 2007 and 2008 by paying a prominent French doctor for secrets on the progress of a liver disease drug.

Sentencing will be Nov. 18.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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