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August 1, 2014

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Does big Las Vegas hotel deal involve billionaire Ron Burkle?

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We’re learning more about the huge Las Vegas hotel deal that’s in the works, but not all the dots are yet fully connected. Billionaire investor Ron Burkle, who is a confidante of former President Bill Clinton and raised more than $1 million for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, has been named to the board of Morgans Hotel Group. Ron is its largest financial investor and promptly named his longtime associate Michael Gross to be its chief executive. Michael replaces Fred Kleisner, who ran the company and its interest here in the Hard Rock Hotel before it was transferred to new owners.

Ron has an estimated net worth in excess of $3 billion and is listed on the Forbes 400. He is the controlling shareholder of numerous food companies including Ralphs, Food4Less, Fred Meyer, Dominicks and Wild Oats before he sold that to Whole Foods for $565 million. Ron, who has been an under-the-radar regular visitor to Las Vegas over the years, backed P.Diddy’s Sean John clothing line with $100 million. As co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins with NHL legend Mario Lemieux, he will be back here for the NHL Awards at the Palms next month.

I am told that Ron insists on re-entering the Las Vegas market and was reportedly upset that Morgans failed with the Hard Rock. Now he’s installed his own president to reportedly engineer a return to Las Vegas. Questions remain as to the identity of his proposed local financial and management partner, but in the past several days, they have been actively kicking the tires, examining facilities and asking tough questions of a hotel group here willing to sell off one of its properties!

We’ll keep you updated and will be first with the acquisition when the continuing contract points are finalized any day now.

‘The new Robin Leach’

Forty-eight-year-old The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Danielle Staub, who boasted that she was going to become the new Robin Leach on a Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous knockoff cable TV show, not only parted ways with that project but also the hit Housewives series.

Now the cougar who bared all with her reconstructive breast surgery has signed on to make appearances at the topless strip club Scores in Manhattan and on its adult Web site. Vegas DeLuxe readers know that Danielle was bounced while filming at the gated Parisian Palace estate here for Wealth TV and replaced on camera by its owner, Las Vegas resident Nico Santucci.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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