Vegas: Mob Museum
Published: June 2009
By Bonnie Tsui
Sin City may have cleaned up its act, but Mayor Oscar Goodman doesn't want Las Vegas to forget its roots in organized crime. He has proposed a Mob museum to help revitalize the fading downtown area and, in his words, "tell the story of how Las Vegas got started."
The museum would house Mafia artifacts, including memorabilia from Goodman's own collection—as a young lawyer, he defended such gangsters as Meyer Lansky and Tony "the Ant" Spilotro. Officials have their doubts ("This is probably not something we would have thought of as a prime marketing tool," said a spokesperson for the convention and visitors' bureau), but Goodman believes the museum would be a hit: "People will be drawn to this like a magnet." Ironically, the proposed building is the federal courthouse where 1950 Senate hearings investigated connections between the gaming industry and the Mob. —Bonnie Tsui