Saturday, May 25 2013 12:29 PM EDT2013-05-25 16:29:57 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The Vintner Grill banquet facility inside the Fashion Show Mall has been shut down. According to the Southern Nevada Health District website, the facility was closed Friday after an inspectionMore>>
The Vintner Grill banquet facility inside the Fashion Show Mall has been shut down.More>>
Saturday, May 25 2013 12:11 AM EDT2013-05-25 04:11:44 GMT
HENDERSON, NV. -- McCarran Airport officials confirm a Piper Single Engine airplane departed from the Henderson Executive Airport then made an emergency landing on a nearby street due to mechaninical problems.More>>
McCarran Airport officials confirm a Piper Single Engine airplane departed from the Henderson Executive Airport then made an emergency landing on a nearby street due to mechaninical problems.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:34 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:34:21 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A family is in awe of how many lives their son touched. The funeral for Marcos Arenas, a 15-year-old boy apparently killed over an iPad was held Friday. Marcos was a freshman at BonanzaMore>>
The funeral for Marcos Arenas, a 15-year-old boy apparently killed over an iPad was held Friday.More>>
Saturday, May 25 2013 12:27 AM EDT2013-05-25 04:27:34 GMT
LAKE MEAD, Nev. -- Thousands of people are expected to go to Lake Mead this weekend, to cool off and relax. While there will be lots of fun on the water, the National Park Service rangers and Nevada DepartmentMore>>
Thousands of people are expected to go to Lake Mead this weekend, to cool off and relax.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:27 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:27:45 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Federal felony charges were filed against a Las Vegas man for attempting to destroy a local children's autism learning facility by fire and explosive devices, Nevada's U.S. Attorney DanielMore>>
Federal felony charges were filed against a Las Vegas man for attempting to destroy a local children's autism learning facility by fire and explosive devices, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said Friday.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:59 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:59:58 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada says the Clark County school board may have opened itself up to legal problems in appointing a new superintendent late Tuesday. A private citizenMore>>
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada says the Clark County school board may have opened itself up to legal problems in appointing a new superintendent late Tuesday.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:40 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:40:18 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital will maintain its federal funding despite not meeting some of the government's requirements. The hospital came under scrutiny for its discharging procedures.More>>
The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital will maintain its federal funding despite not meeting some of the government's requirements.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 5:05 PM EDT2013-05-24 21:05:30 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County Grand Jury has indicted Michael Smith on murder and assault charges in the shooting death of a man in January. Michael Smith is accused of killing Carlos Bell on Jan. 14,More>>
The Clark County Grand Jury has indicted Michael Smith on murder and assault charges in the shooting death of a man in January.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- A blistering lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court alleges that the glittering Las Vegas nightclub industry has a dark underside -- one that has destroyed lives and uses young women as expendable playthings.
The suit was filed by a former employee of the Light Group, which is the largest club operator in Las Vegas. The woman claims she was fed drugs and booze on a daily basis and, like her fellow cocktail waitresses, was expected to have sex with customers. The lawsuit alleges conspiracy, assault, sexual harassment and more.
The world got a small glimpse under the tent of the Las Vegas nightclub scene when the Tiger Woods scandal broke. Woods was one of the celebrity customers at these clubs and reportedly had sexual affairs with women who worked there.
The lawsuit filed by a Jane Doe rips open the door of that tent. It provides grim and graphic details about how one particular nightclub empire allegedly recruits attractive young women, still in their teens, and then grooms them with a steady diet of booze and drugs to do anything high-rolling customers might want.
For Jane Doe, the wild ride started at age 19 when a company host recruited her by taking her to a bar for drinks. She alleges they knew she was underage.
"Once we got there, he did give us cocaine. Before I did it, I said I was nervous because you usually don't do cocaine in front of people who you are trying to work for. I found that a bit odd. I asked him, 'I can't do this if I am going to have a drug test for this interview to be working at a hotel.' He said, 'The Light Group is perfect for you. Why do you think we all work here? This is the company to work for if you want to do drugs,'" she said.
It is not exactly a revelation that drug use is widespread in Las Vegas nightclubs. After all, people come here to party. But there is nothing casual about substance abuse described in the explosive lawsuit that alleges booze and drug use that is systemic. It was not only tolerated but condoned by management, according to Jane Doe, who was promoted into the pulse pounding madness of Jet, a nightclub at Mirage as a cocktail server.
She says she was taught how to entice customers into spending more money. The lawsuit alleges the female employees were encouraged to drink and do drugs and have sex with high-rolling customers -- not just celebrities, but with anyone who spends big money.
"Sex is encouraged. Once a girl engages in that behavior with a client, management will expect it from you so that it happens again. Once you do it once, you show you are willing to be a company girl and they love that," she said.
Jane didn't always want to be a part of the wild Las Vegas nightclub scene. She was a high school cheerleader, an honor student, studying graphic design in college when she was recruited to work for the Light Group.
Once she heard about the money being made by women inside the company's nightclubs, she started partying with co-workers, lost interest in school, dyed her hair, and got breast implants. Cocaine and booze were widely used by employees, she says, including her.
"I didn't say they forced me to do it, but they definitely condone it. They encourage it. Once you put it out there that you are willing to do it, they make it very accessible for you," she said. "I did it to maintain my body -- very thin with huge boobs -- and that fit the image. I wanted to look good to keep my job."
Appearances were everything, she says. In her lawsuit, Jane claims cocktail servers had to undergo what she called a nightly boob check by managers. Jane says celebrities would have everything comped and would be showered with female attention as an enticement to non-celebrity high-rollers.
"The girls are all over them -- girls dancing behind them in tiny little dresses, surrounded by alcohol and beautiful women everywhere. And if you have enough money and are an onlooker, you want that too. We make you want that," she said.
The Light Group is an unqualified success story. In just the past five years, it has expanded to 16 clubs, restaurants, and pools that rake in $160 million a year, even during a recession. A cocktail waitress like Jane could make $3,000 in a weekend.
The lure of that kind of money, plus the glitz and glamour of the constant party, is powerful. But the reality, according to the lawsuit, is a pervasive atmosphere where women are not only groped by customers, but also by managers and co-workers.
"Touching, grabbing, lots of verbal sexual harassment that comes off as joking. And that's what they do, make harassment funny. Use it as a joke so every situation is lightened so someone taps your ass, sorry. Then later, they squeeze it and it started out as a smack," she said. "They do it so often that, like everything else like the drug use, it becomes normal. So you forget that it's not supposed to go on and its inappropriate because you see it every day and it happens to you every day."
One of Jane's friends, a VIP hostess named Desiree, was considered the go-to girl for the club, the one who made the most money by "taking care of high rolling customers." But Desiree died of a drug overdose in 2009.
The same almost happened to Jane, she claims. After a year at Jet, her manager asked if she needed to go to rehab and she said she needed help.
"I thought they would send me the next day, but they kept me on the schedule, worked me the next day and the next until Monday, still supplying me with drugs and alcohol. And then they sent me home Tuesday morning to die in a park," she said.
After five days of non-stop partying at work, she attempted suicide and was found by a jogger in a park and rushed to a hospital. She was in convulsions, a shadow of her former self.
"You see a withering shell of a daughter I don't know," said her father. "She looked like she was dead -- pale, thin, maybe 95 pounds."
Attorneys Al Marquis and Michael Amador filed the lawsuit knowing that Jane made the decision to drink and use drugs. They allege the company actively promoted excessive behavior and specifically recruited young girls into the business.
"This is their business plan. This is not just one rogue employee, it's from the owner on down through the hosts and the managers. Everyone is engaged in this activity and they all make it clear to these girls that if you don't do what we want, you will be fired because there's 50 other girls waiting to take your place," said Marquis. "This is a company that exploits young women by using alcohol and cocaine, the lure of the glamour, they get to dress up and party, be with famous people, and it all sounds good to a 19-year-old solicited to work there. And after awhile, they lose all sense of reality. Everyone there is drinking and everyone is using cocaine, getting groped and molested in this place and it seems normal to young girls who haven't been around long enough to know they can say no."
In a statement responding to the lawsuit, the Light Group said, "The Light Group sympathizes with the difficult circumstances that result from substance abuse for the abuser and the family. It is never advisable to discuss legal matters outside of court, however the outrageous accusations made in this case require a strong and clear response: These allegations are completely untrue and will be proven so through the legal system."