Sunday, August 1, 2010


By: Rich Bergeron

(at left, boys will be boys..Dana White stands in the middle of the two Fertitta Brothers in their younger days. The picture on the right is from a groundbreaking ceremony, and the labels printed on the photo should be reversed)

Las Vegas truly seems like the picture of luck and promise for visitors who flock to this mecca of over the top celebration hoping to hit it big or at least come home happy. As our nation is crippled piece by piece by massive fraud and failure of proper government oversight, a place like Vegas can easily get lost in the mix. It's not so appealing anymore now that most of us can see the whole "game" is rigged simply by observing our surroundings. It's all too easy to look around and get disgusted at the excess in a place like Vegas.

The housing crisis hit Vegas hard, especially when the economy soured and people stopped coming out there and taking such lavish vacations. Even the President of the United States, Barack Obama, was telling people at one point not to blow it all in Vegas.

The Fertitta family gambled hard and fast with Station Casinos on what is called "the locals market" and lost more than a bundle. Perhaps it is a bit of Karma for all the honest folks who lost their shirts in Fertitta casinos over the years. Possibly it could be chalked up to bad luck or a lack of foresight.

Or... maybe the more feasible and probable explanation is the Fertittas and their front men and lawyers did it all on purpose. They orchestrated a bankruptcy to purposely favor their position and buy the company back debt free and scare off other bidders by their sheer ability to make impossible deals possible.

It's not so far fetched, is it? Vegas is--after all--a city where the mayor is working to build a Mob museum out of an old courthouse. When a guy like Oscar Goodman, a former Mafia lawyer himself, is running "the show," it's hard to believe everything's not rigged toward the wiseguy blood in town. One of the questions that seems pointless to ask these days is, "Where's all the money really going?"

It's just becoming increasingly harder to track and regulate where and why money gets thrown around by these professional corporate crooks who have insulated themselves with vast resources and smart attorneys who know how to get around the bankruptcy courts and keep their bosses out of getting splashed with any real hot water.

Guys like William J. Bullard become untouchable after figuring out how to get through all the loopholes and sneak past regulators looking the other way. As long as the tax money and campaign contributions are flowing out, the investigators aren't looking into the Fertitta Enterprises affairs.

One of the most troubling aspects of my investigation into Fertitta Enterprises is how little there is regarding public information about what this company actually does to make all that wheel-greasing money. A look back into some INTERESTING CASE FILES of another bankruptcy process Fertitta Enterprises is involved in reveals that Fertitta Front Man William J. Bullard was implicated in some interesting claims in a massive bankruptcy of a group of companies under the USA Capital label. Bullard is connected at the hip to the Fertitta family, having common connections to Gordon Biersch, Fertitta Enterprises, Meadows Bank (Where he is ironically the "Whistleblower Contact"), and two older businesses listed on

Inspectech Corporation of California

Tex-Wesley Clear Creek, L.L.C.

Crooks are by nature egotistical and arrogant people. The worst crooks can be the most likely to really add insult to injury with their crimes. They do this not only by way of the sheer magnitude of the crime itself, but also by the very methods and names they use to keep the whole matter secret. Consider the "USA" connection between two groups Fertitta Enterprises and Bill Bullard worked their financial fraud through over the years. Global Cash Access (GCA) Executives were heavily involved in the Xyience bankruptcy scandal. Fertitta Enterprises officials, under the guise of a subsidiary named Zyen, LLC, utilized Global Cash Access money and some of that scandal-ridden company's principal players to perpetrate the whole fraudulent Xyience bankruptcy process from top to bottom.

One of the earliest legal problems the co-founders of GCA faced were related to companies like USA Processing and EXCLUSIVE USA MARKETING CORPORATION.

GCA Founders Karim Maskatiya & Robert Cuccinotta, Former CEO Kirk Sanford, Executive Kathryn Lever, and Maskatiya's Nephew Omer Sattar are the known Global Cash Access plants put in place at Xyience to purposely bankrupt the company and funnel all the money to Fertitta connected companies like Zuffa, LLC and Zuffa Marketing. Kirk Sanford told me himself in a November, 2007 meeting in Times Square (see photo below) that Maskatiya had a considerable amount of money invested in the Fertitta lien position over Xyience.

The major connection Global Cash Access has with Fertitta Enterprises is by way of their contract to provide kiosk and transaction services to station Casinos. This is what likely put the Fertittas in touch with GCA's executives and officials in the first place.

Looking at the emerging pattern of fraud, analyzing the complicated nature of the involved transactions, and taking into account the overall landscape in Vegas that allowed this corruption to go on unchecked, it is easy to see why the Fertittas and their front men and women continue to escape culpability and accountability for orchestrating these massive fraudulent schemes. Nobody has the budget to face them in court and win, and not even the government's best investigative agencies seem willing to try to go the criminal route. The reason doesn't appear to be lack of cause as much as it seems to be about cold hard cash. The city of Las Vegas and the State of Nevada are getting their take six ways to Sunday, and so is the U.S. Government on casino, property, and income taxes paid out by the Fertitta family and their business interests.

But, the question must be asked: WHAT IS THE PRICE OF ALLOWING THIS FRAUD TO KEEP GROWING BIGGER? Do we have to let the Fertittas turn into the next Bernie Madoff before we throw the full weight of criminal charges at them? Their "bull"dog William J. Bullard should be using his financial talents to solve complicated financial crimes. Instead, he and the Fertittas have masterminded perpetrating them under the radar and behind the scenes without ever being called out by the major local press. They do direct business with the Vegas Media Magnate Greenspuns through Green Valley Ranch and Meadows Bank. They have literally covered every base but one.

A blogger with a clear conscience and a bit of talent in getting the facts out of a dedicated investigation came along and did what nobody else had the stones to accomplish and fight for.

I learned that justice is not simply a word or a concept. It is something you must believe in and strive for every day in a society that is trying to keep you from obtaining it if it means pissing off the haves in favor of the have nots. The who cares line gets tossed out there all the time like the first pitch at any big baseball game: ugly and off target.

Who cares? For one, you should if you are a true fan of mixed martial arts. Do you really want the kind of people who systematically take over and cripple companies after promising to invest in and take care of them to be ultimately in control of the best MMA league in existence? This UFC deal is "their thing" and they have some bondholders they have to pay back over the long run, but it's going to make them rich and the fighters poor after all is said and done. They put too many fighters out of business for too long when PRIDE collapsed, going down in history as just another Fertitta company destroyed with a principal purpose of picking up the best pieces and pissing away the rest.

Do you really want the kind of guys who would pay themselves with money pumped into Xyience to the tune of millions of dollars and neglect to square up with their own fighters under contract with the brand? The best warriors in the business should be making millions, and often they make pennies compared to the hours they have to put in to be in prime condition to fight. They rely on their best sponsorships at times.

The Fertittas had outstanding contract payments owed to UFC fighters sponsored by Xyience of less than a million dollars when they bankrupted the company as the chief lienholder. Why didn't they pay their own fighters who literally shed blood for the brand? All the Fertittas ever did for the brand before they destroyed it and took it over for themselves was front it with some ad space on the octagon, make their fighters accessible to sponsorships, and associate it with the rise of The Ultimate Fighter show on Spike TV. The fighters did the real work in promoting the brand. Yet only one old-regime Xyience fighter is back with the newly-branded Fertitta outfit. Matt Serra. Why? (Search this blog for Matt Serra)

The time has come for some light to be shed on this corruption and some action to be taken by the general public. If you agree with me and have your own examples of "usual suspect" fraud that's being overlooked, please Report Waste, Fraud, Abuse, or Misconduct Here.

The Fertittas are about the buy their own casinos out of bankruptcy on a budget of nearly a billion dollars built on what appears to be scheme after corrupt scheme and ruthless business practices that take advantage of the bankruptcy process and subject far too many innocent Americans and taxpayers to footing the ultimate trickle down bill. It starts with the huge investment banks. These institutions eventually pass the expenses on to the little people through overdraft and transaction fees to catch up on all the revenue they've lost hiding their transgressions and trying to avoid being prosecuted for financial crimes.

Why should we be surprised that the economic outlook is gloomy right now in America when we let financial fraudsters like this stay in control and out of jail for so long? As the Fertitta Family pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into getting a relatively debt free casino package out of a nearly 6 billion dollar and ballooning debt debacle with Station, another old associate is going down for 8-12 years in the penitentiary. Bill Bullard was a gung-ho pit boss type of mover and shaker for the company Joseph D. Milanowski drove into the ground. His scheme with one loan in the ongoing bankruptcy case of USA Capital prompted the lawyers explaining it to draw up a diagram:

So right now one lone wolf at the tip of this iceberg gets captured and caged for a while, but the rest of the wolves get to go right on running with the pack and wreaking havoc. Station Casinos is set for auction on this fast-money-first-Friday in August, and the Fertittas are poised to put in a bid as high as $772 million according to the Wall Street Journal.

Is it any coincidence that just as the Station Casinos auction closes leaving the Fertittas virtually free and clear of all the fraud that got them there, Joe Milanowski will be settling into his cell
after having a wall of bars closed on him?

August 6, 2010 could possibly be the day the Fertitta brothers make the deal of the century for themselves. This auction is paving the way for them to become even richer in the long run if they play their cards right and nobody outbids them. August 6th could potentially be the best day of the Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta's young business life, but it is sure to be the worst day of Milanowski's entire life, and he had to pay nearly $90 million in restitution to boot.

Instead of raising champagne glasses to toast yet another successful scheme when they steal their company back from the bottom of the cliff of debt they pushed it off, the Fertittas should be in their own bunk bed unit across from Milanowski. Bullard should be in the bunk above Milanowski. Maybe like Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski does now, they can do something constructive like teach their fellow inmates how to get their GEDs.

Here are some interesting links on Milanowski worth looking at and asking yourself why the Fertittas and William J. Bullard aren't implicated anywhere in this mess even though the civil charges implicate them as such a major player:


U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Litigation Release No. 20536 / April 23, 2008





"The longer this thing goes on (in bankruptcy court), the more the attorneys are going to get paid," Bullard said.

USA Capital investors fret over rising legal fees

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