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December 27, 2014

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From Carson City to L.A., Pasquale Rotella and EDC are a hot topic

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Denise Truscello

Holly Madison and Pasquale Rotella.

This is one instance when reality is more compelling than even a reality TV show.

Insomniac Events COO Simon Lamb appeared at the legislative session Tuesday. It’s a long way from Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival to Carson City, of course. But Lamb, speaking on behalf of EDC and Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella, visited the state Capitol to argue against the proposed 8-percent admission tax — dubbed “The Family Fun Tax” — on all entertainment in the state, which would supplant the 5- and 10-percent Live Entertainment Tax leveled on many shows and performances in the state.

No doubt of it, the position of EDC organizers is such a tax threatens the future of EDC in Las Vegas.

Lamb and Las Vegas Motor Speedway exec Chris Powell addressed Assembly Democrats proposing the adjustment in the existing LET. They found little sympathy from the lawmakers. In a story written by Anjeanette Damon, the Sun's politics senior editor, Assemblywoman Theresa Benitez-Thompson said during the testimony of Lamb and Powell, “Convince me as a legislator that if the sky really is going to fall in Nevada if we enact this tax that exists in other places, paint me that picture and put it in black and white. Start talking in terms of numbers.”

Before Tuesday’s hearing, Rotella reiterated that he holds a year-to-year option to stage EDC at LVMS and that, “I hope it stays that way. Economically, if it doesn’t make sense for us and the fans, I’ll be forced to look at other options.”

As an outdoor festival, EDC has enjoyed an exemption from the LET since moving from L.A. to Vegas in 2011. More than 300,000 fans are expected at this year’s sold-out EDC, set for June 21-23 at LVMS. LVMS racing events, too, have been exempt of the LET. Those are the types of exemptions, or “loopholes,” lawmakers hope to close.

Rotella is in a unique position in this debate, as he is making an argument against this bill — Assembly Bill 498 — as an actual Nevada resident. That was not the case when he brokered the deal to bring EDC to Vegas in 2011. He and his fiancee, Holly Madison, are in the process of moving into a new home purchased by Rotella in the Scotch 80s, in the very core of Old Las Vegas.

Among those living nearby are former Mayor Oscar Goodman and current Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Jerry Lewis. The couple have a little girl, Rainbow, and have reportedly set a wedding date of Aug. 14, a scene that played out Sunday on the E! reality TV special “Holly Has a Baby.” There are also reports of the date being Aug. 15, and that's because, as noted today in a text, the couple's ceremony will take place late Aug. 14, but after midnight. So it's technically Aug. 15. (No wedding site has been announced by the couple.)

On July 29, Rotella is due back in court in Los Angeles to face a series of charges that he used EDC money to bribe officials at Los Angeles Coliseum to stage the festival there before moving it to LVMS in 2011. Rotella faces nearly 14 years in prison if convicted of all charges, but he has previously said he will be exonerated.

“I don’t plan on going anywhere. I have confidence everything is going to work out the way it should, and the truth will prevail,” he said coolly in an interview in November. “As relaxed as I sound, I take it very seriously. But it’s hard to stress too much when you haven’t done anything wrong. … The facts need to be gone through, and a I have a great team representing me. I’m taking it seriously, but I’m not thinking it’s going to take me away.”

Suffice to say, from Carson City to the Scotch 80s to L.A., this summer is going to be packed with events — and not just EDC — for Holly and Pasquale.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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