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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

YOB or No YOB, Vote your Heart

NO, no, no, ... Not '06 Watanabe --YoYo Champion of Japan...
Retrieved by Pat Darnell and Joe Sterno

Plaintiff :: In Omaha, he is known for donating money to AIDS patients, military families and the police department. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He declined through his attorneys to be interviewed.
... documents [are] filed by Watanabe's own attorneys, who are defending him against criminal charges that he still owes Harrah's nearly $15 million from his gambling spree


Defendant :: On its Web site, Harrah's calls itself a leader in responsible gaming and says it trains its employees to recognize problem gamblers.

Losing Face with Hemorraging Funds?
Pale Faced Philanthropist wanted to Look into cars, vacations, or events that exceed one's ability to pay for.
Or just out to commit Hare Kare..?? YIKES!!
"Our company's [Harrahs] long-standing and continuing commitment to responsible gaming is something we take great pride in," the Web site says. "Harrah's position on this issue is clear: We want everyone who gambles at our casinos to be there for the right reasons: to simply have fun."

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 8) -- Terrance Watanabe sometimes got so high on painkillers and alcohol in Las Vegas that he walked into doors and passed out at the gaming tables. The Omaha philanthropist ... In a single year, he lost $127 million at two casinos owned by Harrah's Entertainment. Nearly $1 billion in wagers passed through his hands.

... businessman as the victim of heartless executives who enticed him to their casinos with offers of lavish rewards, then plied him with massive quantities of alcohol and drugs to keep him under control as they milked him of his fortune.
Jae C. Hong, AP
Terrance Watanabe, -- Watanabe says he is only partially responsible for the debt, alleging that the casino company plied him with liquor and drugs.

... Harrah's kept him a virtual "captive" at the Caesars and Rio casinos in 2007 and supplied him with the prescription painkiller Lortab without a doctor's diagnosis or supervision.

"They preyed on a vulnerable person who had a gambling and alcohol addiction," said Pierce O'Donnell, one of his attorneys. ... Watanabe, 52, is the former head of the Oriental Trading Co., a direct marketing firm that sells novelties and party items.

Watanabe sold his interest in the family company in 2000 ... Watanabe was one of the biggest whales to come along.

... Wynn casino, where he ran up losses of $26 million by June 2007. Owner Steve Wynn personally cut him off from further play, citing his apparent gambling and alcohol addictions, according to the complaint to the gaming board. A spokeswoman for Wynn said the casino had no comment.

Watanabe soon took up residence at Harrah's properties, first the Rio and then Caesars, under an agreement that offered him 20 separate incentives, including a free luxury suite, an airfare allowance, discounts on his losses, private gaming areas, and deferred marker payments of at least 60 days, the complaint says.
But in Watanabe's case, his attorneys say, the casino staff played a different role.

The complaint alleges that Harrah's assigned employees to watch over Watanabe and ensure that he continued gambling at its properties.

During a six-month period in 2007, employees continually [sup]plied him with drinks, ignoring several requests from an acquaintance to water down his vodka, the complaint says. Photos of Watanabe were posted in staff areas so employees would know he should not be denied anything he wanted, his lawyers allege. At the height of his binge, witnesses say he consumed two to three bottles a day of his favorite brand, Jewel of Russia, according to court documents.

If Watanabe was absent from the casino floor for a time, his handlers would call or visit his hotel room and steer him back to the casino floor, the complaint alleges.

Staff members who objected to the way the casino was treating Watanabe were reassigned or dismissed, according to the complaint.

His attorneys say that Harrah's carefully managed a daily routine for Watanabe that included alcohol and drugs, inadequate sleep and pressure to continue gambling. As his intoxication grew worse, his losses increased.

His condition began deteriorating markedly in September 2007 after he slipped on the marble floor in his suite and injured his back. He asked for aspirin or Tylenol, his attorneys say.

Instead of calling a doctor, casino employees began giving him Lortab, a prescription narcotic that should not be mixed with alcohol, the complaint says. Casino staff continually supplied him with the drug, it says, on one occasion delivering the pills to his room in a candy box.

Witnesses say Watanabe became so intoxicated that he slurred his speech, walked into obstacles and at times passed out while playing, according to the complaint. "Rather than taking him to his room, a staff member would wake him up to continue gambling or to sign a marker," O'Donnell said in the complaint.

There is no indication from the documents that close friends or family members spent time with Watanabe in Las Vegas until he had lost much of his fortune.

Why Watanabe Balked

Watanabe's spree came to an end in December 2007 after his sister visited and persuaded him to leave Las Vegas.

By that time, he had given Harrah's $112 million. But he balked at paying $14.75 million more in markers, contending that the debt was offset by promised discounts and other incentives that Harrah's never delivered.

After Watanabe hired an attorney to help him negotiate, Harrah's submitted the markers to his bank for payment. When the markers were returned because of insufficient funds, Harrah's asked the district attorney to prosecute the man who had been their best customer.

In February, Watanabe turned himself in to face four felony counts of theft and fraud.

What HARRAHS Seeks

... Harrah's perspective, Watanabe is a deadbeat gambler who faces four felonies and is telling his story publicly in a desperate attempt to avoid jail.

Under a unique Nevada law, Harrah's turned over the markers to Clark County District Attorney David Roger for criminal prosecution.

The company is seeking the money despite the $112 million it has already taken from Watanabe -- a sum so large it constituted almost 6 percent of casino revenues for the entire Harrah's chain in 2007, the complaint says.


Under the law, the district attorney's office will receive a 10 percent commission on any amount it collects from Watanabe. O'Donnell, a prominent Los Angeles trial lawyer, questions whether such an arrangement is constitutional.

Jan Jones, Harrah's senior vice president for communications and government relations, issued a brief statement saying the company has no intention of asking the district attorney to drop the case.

... O'Donnell calls for an investigation of Harrah's and the possible suspension of the two casinos' licenses.

"Mr. Watanabe is the victim of a ruthless corporation that deserves the harshest sanctions for its unlawful conduct," he wrote. "Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming that Caesars reprehensibly behaved like a predator stalking, trapping and consuming its prey."

This Story of a suit with Harrah's is a little beyond the Blue Plate Special ... but,
YOB in any other language is still a YOB

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