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Robert "Chiri" Mendoza repost from July 24, 2009
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 10:29 pm    Post subject: Robert "Chiri" Mendoza repost from July 24, 2009 Reply with quote

Details emerged about the opening of the multi-million dollar Hotel Havana Hilton that included as partners wealthy Cuban Sugar baron Roberto "Chiri" Mendoza and other well known American gambling figures. The ownership group included "in addition to Mendoza at 75%" Nevada Lieutenant Gov. Clifford Jones "20%," and Nevada Senator Ken Johnson who held the remaining "5%."

The trio was charged a million dollar rental fee that was divided equally between the Gastronomic Workers Union, that was the actual owner of the Hotel and Hilton Hotels of Cuba, which managed the establishment. Other Nevada based gambling figures that appeared in connection with the hotels operation were Johnny Acuff from the Dunes: Walter Malone from the Thunderbird: Eddie Draper from the Sahara: Monk Shaeffer from the Flamingo: Frank Cuti from the California Club: Vernon Stone who was a Reno and Vegas operator and Cuban operator Angel Gonzales.

One intersting note that is often missed by gambling historians is the connection between Mendoza and the others to Galveston Island. The leading figures in Galveston namely the Moody family "who were to invest heavily in post-Cuba Las Vegas gambling enterprises through American National Insurance Company," and the Kempner family who'd long been involved in the Cuban sugar industry. ANICO was one of the largest investors in Vegas especially during the time when Howard Hughes began buying up desert properties in the 60s and would remain so until their dealings began to draw federal scrutiny in the 70s.
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