Thursday, April 9, 2009 | 5:51 p.m.
Last week I tried to reach Glynda Rhodes to ask what was happening with her and her real estate magnate husband, Jim, after Rhodes Design and Development filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I was immersed in my own development project, which was a modest, single-story, no-bedroom blog entry about the couple for The Kats Report.
I finally reached Glynda today. The reason for her unavailability: She and Jim had been off for a few days, chillin' like Bob Dylan on the beach in Cabo San Lucas.
I should have figured.
The couple’s short vacation wasn’t exactly to recuperate from the inconvenient turn of events of March 31, when the Rhodes empire announced its Chapter 11 filing, which allows the companies to continue operations as their finances are restructured. Rather, the sojourn to Cabo had been planned weeks in advance to celebrate Glynda’s birthday, which fatefully also fell on March 31. She’s a sprightly 46, and what’s the saying? Young enough to party, but old enough to know better? Maybe I just came up with that. Whatever, she’s still an effective bikini model and knows how to throw back a shot of tequila. Photos of Glynda in a black two-piece, chumming up to a beachside bartender known as “Rambo” (and his good friend Jose Cuervo), are splashed across her Facebook page. During their respite, the Rhodeses stayed at Rui Palace Santa Fe, enjoying an all-inclusive weekend travel package. These were some good times, as the hotel’s Senior Suite goes for $518 USD per night, easily enough cash to buy a bountiful weekend of frivolity in Cabo. Glynda described the entire weekend as “super easy” to book and coordinate.
So it seems like the couple is hanging in there. I gather as much, because that’s how Glynda termed it, “We’re hanging in there,” as Jim meets with attorneys to negotiate the complex terms of his companies’ -- and more than 30 are affected -- Chapter 11 filing. Meanwhile, Glynda is busy with her own company, id Interior Design, and is meeting with buyers for houses developed by Rhodes’ Harmony Homes. But as I noted in my previous bloggage about the couple, Jim and Glynda have not been nearly as philanthropically active as they were in the pre-bankruptcy days.
“The charities, by gosh, they are suffering so much, and we haven’t been going to big events or big dinners like we used to,” Glynda said, her usually high-volume voice dropping an octave. On March 7, there was the Junior League’s Paint the Town Red dinner at the Bellagio to honor Rhodes’ mother, Betsy, with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. And on March 18, Glynda hosted the Little Black Dress Party at Blush for her party-planning company, Blackbook 702. But otherwise, she asserts, “We’re not buying $25,000 tables these days.” Or $20,000 guitars, such as the McCartney/Lennon autographed item the couple purchased at an L.V. Philharmonic event a couple years ago? “No, dang it,” she said.
A woman who has turned shopping into an art form, Glynda says she’s cut back on that activity, too. “I’m not going to (Roberto) Cavalli or any of my favorite stores. I’m really not shopping at all. It’s hard when you’re used to doing whatever you want.”
Glynda says the couple expect the economy to be mired in recession for at least 10 months and probably another year, but her confidence in recovery seems unshakable. “Jim is the mastermind of home building. If anyone makes it through, it’s him,” she said of her undeniably successful but frequently controversial husband, who developed Rhodes Ranch in southwest Las Vegas and Tuscany Village in Henderson, but who has frequently run afoul of environmentalists, who has a long history of questionable business dealings, and who also inexplicably paid disgraced former Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny a $200,000-a-year salary as a consultant (which she disclosed in 2007 as part of a guilty plea to federal corruption chargers). Negative media coverage is nothing new to the jet-setting couple, certainly, but bankruptcy is uncharted territory. “If this goes on for 10 months, I hope I still have hair by then,” said Glynda, who now has far fewer opportunities to wear her famous pink mink jacket.
These is a rough patch, indeed. Take it from Glynda Rhodes, who says, “The word ‘budget’ does not exist in my vocabulary.”