Struggle escalates for control of Las Vegas Mob Experience

Founder denies responsibility for website going dark

Visitors are seen at the Mob Experience at the Tropicana on Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

The struggle for control of the Las Vegas Mob Experience escalated Thursday, with lenders to the attraction saying its founder Jay Bloom has hijacked its website as part of his efforts to sabotage the company.

Bloom, however, on Friday denied he was responsible for the website going dark and said the website was shut down by its hosting company because of nonpayment of fees by current Mob Experience management.

Attorneys for Vion Operations LLC and Strategic Funding Source Inc., which say they’re owed $4 million from the Experience and Bloom as secured creditors, filed papers Thursday in Clark County District Court:

Opposing a temporary restraining order Bloom gained against the Experience on Tuesday requiring an accounting of its finances since Bloom left the business this summer and the return of material that may have been taken from the Experience.

• Asking that Larry Bertsch, a local Certified Public Accountant, be appointed special master of the Experience to conduct a "thorough accounting’’ of its books. Bertsch regularly works as a special master in lawsuits in Clark County District Court.

• Asking for their own injunction requiring Bloom to turn over the passwords and other information necessary to reactivate the website; and that Bloom stop making representations that he has a substantial ownership position in the Experience’s parent company, Murder Inc.

When Bloom stepped away from the Mob Experience this summer as its manager, he signed an agreement transferring 95 percent of his stake to a lender/investor GC-Global Capital Corp. of Toronto, court records show.

That deal was made after the Mob Experience defaulted on its financial obligations and had been sued by numerous creditors including mob family members who provided artifacts.

The deal in which Bloom left was made to induce investors to put up additional money to keep the Experience afloat, records show.

Bloom now says this arrangement involved his equity being put into "escrow,’’ that he still owns Murder Inc. and that current manager Louis Ventre should be removed so Bloom can return as manager of the Experience.

Vion and Strategic Funding complained in Thursday’s court filing that on Monday, Bloom took the Mob Experience’s website offline even though the registration fee for the site was paid by Murder Inc.

"By killing the Mob Experience’s website, Bloom has limited marketing and promotion opportunities and also hindered Murder Inc.’s day-to-day operations and revealed his claims to be acting in the company’s best interest as false,’’ said the lenders’ filing by attorneys with the Las Vegas law firm Lionel Sawyer and Collins.

"Bloom only holds a 5 percent equity interest in Murder Inc., yet he represents himself to Mob Experience management and the public as owner of Murder Inc.,’’ their filing said.

In a statement Friday, however, Bloom said he had spoke with Plain Joe Studios, which he said is the company that administers the Mob Experience website.

"They told me that they had already told Louis Ventre that they were taking down the site last Friday for his non payment during his duration as

manager,'' Bloom said. "Allegations that I `hijacked' the site are further outright lies by Ventre, Strategic and Vion, which are easily disproved.''

(The word ``hijacked'' is VEGAS INC's description of the legal claim against Bloom).

"I had no knowledge of or inclusion in the Plain Joe decision to shut down the website for Ventre's nonpayment,'' Bloom said.

While Bloom claims Vion and Strategic Funding are not creditors of the Mob Experience at the Tropicana resort, Vion and Strategic Funding said in Thursday’s court filing they are secured creditors and to prove it they filed merchant cash advance agreements with the court signed by Bloom this spring.

Under those contracts, Vion and Strategic Funding paid $3.147 million to Murder Inc. in exchange for future receivables of $4.092 million.

Vion and Strategic Funding also filed dozens of pages of financial records that they said disprove Bloom’s allegations that they and Ventre, a former Bloom partner, have been looting the business.

The actual looter of the business, Vion and Strategic Funding said, is Bloom.

"At the time of Bloom’s resignation (this summer), based on Murder Inc.’s representations of its capitalization, approximately $5 million is simply unaccounted for,’’ the lenders said in their filing Thursday.

The issues may be aired during a hearing set for Sept. 30, though a hearing could happen sooner based on the rapid-fire court action involving Bloom and the Experience in recent days.

Separately, a ninth lawsuit was filed in Clark County District Court on Thursday over allegedly unpaid bills for the Mob Experience.

Bombard Electric LLC sued contractor M.J. Dean Construction Inc., the Tropicana and two bonding companies charging that even after Bombard filed a lien against the Tropicana, it hasn't been paid $709,000 for its work on the Experience and is now entitled to foreclose on the Tropicana's real estate.

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  1. Man, this whole venture just gets worse and worse. Too bad, because the Tropicana is making a comeback overall. It just does not need the negative publicity this tenant generates.

    It's fortunate the real mob is not involved. If it were, bodies would start disappearing into holes in the desert about now.