Sheldon Adelson couldn’t do it but Las Vegas Sun Publisher Brian Greenspun could. The hard-money-lending business in Las Vegas is a dodgy, high-risk one at the best of times and close scrutiny of it by Sun-related publications is especially touchy. Months of investigation by yours truly into Vestin Mortgage (which made some duff investments in the gaming industry) were relegated to a bunch of file boxes by nervous Las Vegas Weekly execs. Now the axe has fallen twofold, on Jon Ralston (left) and his longtime and well-respected executive producer Dana Gentry. The duo had the the temerity to probe the money-lending activities of Aspen Financial Services, which shares legal counsel with the Sun and is run by Jeff Guinn. That’s right, the son of sainted former governor Kenny Guinn (subject of a Ralston-penned volume). The Guinns obviously have a lot of pull over at Sun HQ. While neither Gentry nor Ralston was fired, the first was essentially forced out and the latter seems to have followed in a gesture of solidarity. As for Greenspun himself, his real estate and (failed) gaming investments have been a source of public embarrassment, so it may be a tactical error to now have Ralston outside the tent, pissing into it. Indeed, perhaps that’s why the Sun isn’t pulling its co-sponsorship from Ralston’s talk show.
Ralston keeps his largest platform and strongest supporter, as Jim Rogers‘ set of TV stations will continue to carry highly rated Face to Face in all of Nevada’s largest media markets. Informed speculation has him possibly becoming a sort of ’special guest’ contributor to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. This would accomplish two R-J goals: One, to assert further journalistic dominance over the Sun, whose most prominent reporter is now a certain Robin Leach (right); two, it would enable Publisher Bob Brown to stick an especially sharp pin in the voodoo doll of predecessor Sherman Frederick (below), who Brown has several times publicly disparaged and belittled (albeit by implication, not by name).
In Frederick’s case, it would be poetic justice, for even as his subscription base was dwindling — due t0 his own cluelessness — and he was eventually shoved aside and into the blogosphere, he wrote a stream of delusional rants in which he pooh-poohed the (increasingly prominent) Ralston as a failed and disgruntled ex-R-J scribe. Speaking as someone who has felt the Frederickian knife between the shoulder blades, it will be an exquisite pleasure to peruse Sherm’s screams of impotent, bloggy rage if and when Ralston graces the R-J pages once more. And if the latter can now field Ralston and John L. Smith and Steve Sebelius, its victory over the Daily Spun will be decisive. Congratulations to Brian Greenspun for winning a skirmish and losing the war. His demolition of father Hank Greenspun’s legacy is now complete.