Las Vegas Mob Experience gets new name, owner and manager
7 February 2012
The Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana resort is now operating out of bankruptcy, and it’s getting a new name and a new manager.
The tourist attraction was purchased out of bankruptcy by investor John Vipulis for $2.1 million in deal that has now been finalized.
While the previous owner, Murder Inc., remains in bankruptcy, Vipulis now owns its key asset: the museum and its interactive components.
A Vipulis company that executed the transaction, JVLV New Holdings, moved quickly Monday to distance itself from the financial problems of Murder Inc., which was created by Las Vegas businessman Jay Bloom.
JVLV said the new name of the Experience would be "Mob Attraction Las Vegas."
JVLV is preparing to reopen the interactive portion of the attraction, which closed last year when its audio-visual equipment was repossessed, leading to its actors being laid off.
Actor jobs are now being filled and new AV equipment is on order, officials said Monday.
"Now that we have brought the attraction out of bankruptcy, we are going to be swift with changes," said Andrew DeMaio, president of JVLV New Holdings.
Former manager Louis Ventre is now a consultant, and the new manager of the Mob Attraction Las Vegas will be Tom Zaller. Zaller previously managed such exhibitions as Las Vegas attractions Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition and BODIES… The Exhibition.
"The Mob Attraction is the perfect mix between entertainment and museum, using authentic artifacts, new technology and storytelling we bring to life this incredible and timeless story," Zaller said. "We’re in the process of fine tuning the experience and look forward to the opening in March with the exciting announcements coming soon regarding changes."
The museum portion of the attraction remains open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
In another development, a Vipulis company filed papers last week in Clark County District Court to foreclose on the mob artifacts that have been stored at the Tropicana attraction.
Because their ownership has been in dispute, the artifacts were not sold as part of the bankruptcy sale.
Multiple lien holders and investors say Bloom pledged the same mob-era collateral for multiple loans, with the loans valued at more than the collateral, meaning the lien holders will have to fight it out in court for possession of the artifacts unless there’s a settlement.
Attorneys for Vipulis, who say he gained a lien on the artifacts by loaning the Experience $1 million in August 2010 and another $1 million in January 2011, filed a lengthy inventory of the artifacts he’s foreclosing on. They range from a slot machine and shotgun owned by Sam Giancana to a set a Meyer Lansky golf clubs.
Bloom has denied that wrongdoing on his part caused the bankruptcy of Murder Inc. Bloom says he was induced to leave management of the Experience last summer under false promises that his departure would clear the way for new funding to be found for the Experience.
The $25 million Experience opened last year, but suffered because of disappointing visitor counts and a series of lawsuits over unpaid bills culminating in its bankruptcy on Oct. 17.
It’s unrelated to the Mob Museum opening next week in downtown Las Vegas.
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