The Advisory Council membership roster spans the globe, including individuals with expertise in a variety of relevant disciplines, including law enforcement, journalism, academia, and the criminal justice system, as well as an array of business sectors.
Ellen B. Knowlton – Chair
Ellen B. Knowlton served as a Special Agent of the FBI for 24 years, culminating her career as the Special Agent in Charge, Las Vegas Division, and retiring in 2006. She also served in New Orleans and Washington D.C., where she was responsible for hundreds of employees as well as investigative and administrative operations. She was involved in addressing sensitive personnel issues and crises situations following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While serving as Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office, she was responsible for counterintelligence investigations and operations and led delegations to the Middle East and Europe pertaining to terrorism and counterintelligence investigations. Knowlton also served as Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office and as Deputy Assistant Director/Acting Assistant Director of the National Security Division. She was also the founding chair of The Mob Museum’s Board of Directors.
A successful business owner, seasoned consultant and sought-after public speaker, Amy Ayoub is a lifelong Las Vegan who combined her passion for public speaking and helping others when she founded The Zen Speaker. Possessing over 30 years of professional experience as a financial planner and political fundraiser with numerous turns behind the microphone, she was regularly asked to share her networking talents and storytelling abilities with staff, volunteers and key leaders of nonprofit and community organizations, corporations, academic forums and leadership groups throughout Nevada and the United States. Embracing her strength as a public speaker with an entrepreneurial spirit, she obtained her certification as a World Class Speaking coach and began assisting clients on their journey to share their stories, find peace behind the podium, and move audiences to action. As a result of working with her – utilizing her supportive nature and ability for bringing out each person’s unique voice – clients report remarkable increases in revenue, acceptance as experts in their various fields, and a greater feeling of preparedness, confidence and connection whether presenting to an audience of one or one-thousand.
As a member of the Las Vegas Community, Ms. Ayoub has been active in the fight to better the lives of all Nevadans through her political and community participation for over three decades. In February 2013, she testified before the Nevada State Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees, using her personal survivor story in support of Assembly Bill 67, which increased penalties for those convicted of sex trafficking. She served as a commissioner on the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, as appointed by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), providing a voice for our nation’s youngest citizens. She was honored as a 2016 Distinguished Nevadan Award by the Board of Regents at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She was a featured speaker in the October 2014 television series of MAKERS: Women in Nevada History, a partnership program by Vegas PBS and UNLV’s Women’s Research Institute of Nevada.
Appointed by Governor Kenny Guinn as the first female to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (known as the Boxing Commission) in 1999, she also has been recognized by the National Conference for Community and Justice with the Community Hero award (2000); named one of the women responsible for shaping the city during its first 100 years of growth by the Las Vegas Centennial Committee; and, acknowledged In Business Las Vegas as one of the Most Influential Businesswomen of 2003. In 2012, she was honored as one of the “Women of Distinction” in her field by the Southern Nevada chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners.
Peter D. Barton
John J. Binder
Jan Jones Blackhurst
Jan Jones Blackhurst is a long-time political and business leader who has left an indelible imprint on the lives of millions of people. In 1991, she broke the glass ceiling as Las Vegas’ first female mayor. Under her leadership the city experienced tremendous growth, making her one of Las Vegas’ most popular mayors to date. She then joined Caesars Entertainment, where she grew the industry’s first Responsible Gaming practices to include an ambassador model for the gaming industry and the first industry code of commitment and now serves on its Board of Directors. She is also known and respected for her efforts to create a diverse and inclusive workplace, advancing environmental stewardship, advocating for important social issues and giving millions of dollars to individuals, families, and communities in need.
Through her guidance, Caesars Entertainment earned a 100 percent perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for 10 consecutive years. She channeled her passion for charitable causes through her role as Chair of the Caesars Foundation, which strengthens communities through philanthropic activities and corporate gifts totaling $66 million since 2013. She participates extensively in university speaking engagements and lecture series throughout the country and has also helped establish the International Gaming Institution Center of Excellence at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas.
Before joining Caesars in 1999, Jan Jones Blackhurst served two terms as Mayor of Las Vegas. She was re-elected in 1995 by a 72 percent margin. While in office, she presided over an unprecedented period of economic, social and cultural expansion. She spearheaded a massive redevelopment effort in the city’s once-neglected downtown neighborhood and was among the first mayors in the country to advocate for LGBT rights and issues as early as 1991.
She serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Global Fairness Initiative. Additionally, she serves on several boards as chairwoman including the Nevada Resort Association, Las Vegas Stadium Authority, and is also a member of the Women’s Leadership Board at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has received many recognitions and accolades including the Americanism Award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Woman of Diversity Award for “100 Years of Influence – Women Shaping the First 100 Years of Las Vegas,” Outstanding Service in a Land-based Industry from Totally Gaming, PR News CSR Professional of the Year and was named by the Las Vegas Business Press as one of its “Women Who Mean Business.” She has been honored by the American Diabetes Association and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, and named Humanitarian of the Year in 1998 by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 2014, she was one of the first women to be inducted into the American Gaming Association (AGA) Gaming Hall of Fame. More recently, she has earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Chamber of Commerce, the Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence from UNLVino, the Diversity Hero Award from PR Week and was honored by ACLU for Community Equality.
Jan Jones Blackhurst holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University and attended the University of Southern California’s School of Food Marketing Management.
Patrick G. Brodsky
Scott M. Burnstein
Scott M. Burnstein is an author, journalist, historian and organized-crime expert, based in the Midwest. He’s written extensively about various forms of mob activity in Detroit, Chicago, New England and Philadelphia, published six books on the subject of organized crime and produced three documentaries. He founded the Gangster Report web magazine in 2014, which quickly became a leading media outlet for American underworld news. His work appears weekly in The Oakland Press and he’s written for The Detroit Free Press, The New York Daily Post, Ambassador Magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Huffington Post and CBS.com. His podcast, The OG (Entercom/Radio.com), which explores the nexus between crime and pop culture, launched in the summer of 2019 and was named one of Radio.com’s Top True Crime podcasts last December.
Over the past 10 years, Burnstein has been featured on various local and national television shows (including multiple episodes of the History Channel’s ‘Gangland’ series and Bio Channel’s Gangster: America’s Most Evil series), radio shows (BBC, CBC & NPR’s “Fresh Air” and “All Things Considered”), films & TV docuseries discussing a variety of topics related to organized crime in North America, both past and present. The documentaries he’s produced include the critically-acclaimed White Boy (2017), Detroit Mob Confidential (2009) and Rollin: The Fall of the American Automotive Industry & the Rise of The Drug Economy (2011). White Boy is currently running on the Starz network and is available on Netflix.
Between 2015 and 2018, Burnstein was employed by Sony Pictures as a technical and script consultant for the Hollywood movie White Boy Rick starring Matthew McConaughey. The screenplay for the film was partially sourced from his newspaper articles on the case the movie was based on. He has consulted for other film and TV projects at the Discovery Channel, NatGeo, BET, HBO and Starz as well as for Eminem’s Shady Entertainment and John Legend’s Get Lifted production house shingle. In 2019, he consulted for Sony Classic’s The Traitor, an Italian film put forth as the country’s Academy Award entrant for Best Foreign Film. Burnstein is also a frequent public speaker, giving talks around the United States on mob and true-crime history. He is currently working on two scripted television projects in Hollywood, one with Sylvester Stallone and the other with the producers-writers of the hit Netflix show Ozark.
Su Kim Chung
Jessica Gabel Cino
Jessica Gabel Cino, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of law at Georgia State University, teaches courses on forensic evidence, forensic medicine, and contracts. Professor Cino gives international and national presentations on various issues in forensic evidence, trial strategy, and criminal law, and she is widely published in these fields. She has consulted on various criminal and business matters, and has engaged in numerous pro bono criminal defense representations. She also serves as an expert witness on forensic evidence and is a frequent media commentator.
Lieutenant Jeff Clark
Lieutenant Jeff Clark is a 3rd generation Las Vegas native who has been with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for over 15 years. Clark currently serves as the Lieutenant of LVMPD’s K-9 Section, the country’s oldest and longest running K-9 unit. Prior to that, he was the sergeant in the Office of Public Information, where he served a pivotal role in pushing out information during high-profile incidents.
In his time with Metro, Clark has worked as a Field Training Officer, an Organized Crime Detective and a Field Training Sergeant.
Clark graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s of Science in advertising with a media emphasis.
Scott M. Deitche is the author of seven books on organized crime, including Cigar City Mafia: A Complete History of the Tampa Underworld, and The Silent Don: The World of Santo Trafficante Jr. He has also written dozens of articles on organized crime for local and national magazines and newspapers, as well as The Mob Museum blog. Mr. Deitche has been featured on The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, American Heroes Channel, A&E, C-SPAN, Oxygen as well as over 50 national and local news and radio shows. Scott lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Before collecting and advising on Contemporary Art, Ralph DeLuca specialized in rare and important 20th Century Art and Design, with a focus on photography, prints, film posters, and graphic design. DeLuca has one of the world’s premier private collections of posters and entertainment memorabilia and is currently the largest private buyer in the industry. Areas of concentration include Contemporary and Vintage Photography, Russian Constructivism, German Expressionism, Pop Art, Music Posters, and more. He has spent the last 20 years working with consultants, collectors, dealers, museums and institutions internationally and has been highlighted in numerous high-profile publications, including the Wall Street Journal and BBC News, for his expertise and collecting achievements. All pieces in the collection are hand-selected with a focus on acquiring the best examples. His core clients are celebrities and accomplished collectors, in addition to private and public museums world-wide. As the leading expert in his field, DeLuca acts as a consultant to various institutions such as LACMA and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Over the years he has also built and placed dozens of archives with museums and colleges, focusing on the following areas: African American, Asian American, Latin American and
Movie and Theater History.
Currently DeLuca builds museological private collections with a focus on living artists. His extensive knowledge in this field allows his work to be curatorially driven, market savvy and very well respected among clients, galleries and museum personnel globally.
James Dzurenda began as Director of the Department of Corrections in April 2016, after a distinguished career which began in 1987 as an officer in a local jail in Connecticut. As he rose through the ranks, Mr. Dzurenda developed expertise at every level of corrections, broadening his experience by collaborating with local, state and federal agencies and serving as Liaison for the Office of the Attorney General working on litigation for cases in state and federal courts. After promoting to Warden, he consolidated the state’s chronic mentally ill population to one facility, developing programs which were later used as a national model. After his appointment to Commissioner, he managed all custody and operations for 18 facilities and a $350 million dollar budget, while serving on multiple state commissions. Mr. Dzurenda retired from state service in August 2014, and accepted a new role as First Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Department of Correction overseeing the city jails in each of the Five Burroughs, District Courts and Rikers Island. Director Dzurenda brings to the Silver State exceptional experience, invaluable perspective and has pledged his commitment to the continued success of the Nevada Department of Corrections.
T.J. English is a noted journalist, screenwriter, and author of The New York Times bestsellers The Savage City, Paddy Whacked, Havana Nocturne, and Where the Bodies Were Buried. He has written for Vanity Fair, Esquire and Playboy, among other publications. His screenwriting credits include episodes for crime dramas NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life on the Streets, for which he was awarded the Humanitas Prize.
Jan Fedarcyk served for 25 years in the FBI – a career that culminated in her appointment as the first female Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Office. She led efforts against counterterrorism and counterintelligence threats; insider trading on Wall Street; Somali piracy; and accelerated the growth of the cyber program. She also served as the Office of Domestic National Intelligence – Domestic National Intelligence Representative for the New York region.
Alan M. Feldman
Alan Feldman is one of the world’s leading experts on responsible gaming.
As Distinguished Fellow in Responsible Gaming for UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, Feldman develops programs and policies to advance related knowledge and capabilities within the industry and regulatory community.
Feldman spent nearly 30 years in the gaming industry with MGM Resorts, where he recently spearheaded the launch of GameSense, an innovative, player-focused responsible gambling program that encourages players to adopt behaviors and attitudes that can reduce the risk of developing gambling disorders. This landmark program is now available at all of MGM’s U.S. properties.
A frequent speaker on responsible gaming at conferences, universities and media events around the world, Feldman serves as Chair of both the National Center for Responsible Gaming as well as the Nevada Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling. He also serves as a member of the Gambling Research Advisory Committee for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
In 2002, the Casino Management Association honored Feldman as the Gaming Professional of the Year and in 2009, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Gaming Communications from the American Gaming Association.
Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons
After serving as Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Judge Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons was the first woman appointed as Special Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Organized Crime Strike Force in Cleveland – work which later led to an appointment as Deputy Counsel to President Reagan’s Commission on Organized Crime in Washington, D.C. She then entered private practice before taking the bench and now serves on the Rocky River Municipal Court.
Betsy Fretwell is the Senior Vice President of Switch CITIES. In her role, she leads the result-based community solutions team to drive the strategic development, implementation and national expansion of Switch’s vision to integrate all aspects of smart city development utilizing Switch’s data center ecosystem.
Switch founder and CEO Rob Roy has developed the world’s largest technology ecosystem with a vision of fully integrating the infrastructure and analytics needed to run a truly smart city. Ms. Fretwell will be educating and motivating the communities Switch serves to lead the nation in the smart initiatives through this unique platform.
Prior to joining Switch, Betsy Fretwell retired from the City of Las Vegas after 17 years and served as the City Manager from 2009 to 2017. As a nationally recognized leader, she oversaw a dynamic organization of more than 3,300 employees and a budget of $1.3 billion. She also served as the Executive Director of the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency charged with the economic revitalization of downtown Las Vegas. Under Fretwell’s leadership, the City built a new City Hall, attracted the corporate headquarters of Zappos.com, Inc. to downtown, completed The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and attracted the new UNLV Medical School to the City’s Medical District.
As a change leader, she developed the Innovation District in downtown Las Vegas to test new technologies in a live environment, hosting the first real-time autonomous shuttle in the U.S. She also achieved a 4-Star community sustainability ranking by converting all city facilities to 100% renewable energy sources a value she shares with Switch. She also improved the city’s equality index score to 100, and open data ranking to first among the nation’s cities.
She is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration. She completed the Harvard University Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program in 2007.
She also serves on the Board of Directors for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.
Professor Mark Galeotti is an expert on Russian organized crime and espionage. Educated at Cambridge University and the London School of Economics, he is now a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague and the principal director of the consultancy firm Mayak Intelligence. Previously, he was Professor of Global Affairs and departmental chair at New York University and Senior Lecturer in International History at Keele University in the United Kingdom. His books include the edited collections The Politics of Security in Modern Russia, Russian & Soviet Organized Crime, and Spetsnaz: Russia’s Special Forces.
Joaquin “Jack” Garcia is considered by his peers and leading FBI experts to be among the most successful undercover agents in the history of the FBI. In his 26 years of service and as an undercover agent in over 100 undercover operations, Mr. Garcia is best known for his undercover role as “Jack Falcone,” a self-described Sicilian jewel thief and drug dealer from Miami who infiltrated the Gambino crime family. The case resulted in the arrest and conviction of 35 mobsters, including the top members of the Post-John Gotti Gambino crime family.
Jason Ginoza, Assistant Principal, Veterans Tribute Career & Technical Academy (VTCTA), has served the students of the Clark County School District since 1998 as a teacher, counselor, partnership coordinator and administrator. Mr. Ginoza has been with VTCTA since 2009 and has worked tirelessly to develop positive working relationships with local, state, and federal public service agencies. Mr. Ginoza is a proud graduate of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Las Vegas Class of 2015.
Ioan Grillo is a journalist and writer based in Mexico City. A native of Brighton, England, he has been covering Latin America, with an emphasis on drug cartels, since 2001. His work has appeared in Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Associated Press, along with being featured on CNN. He is the author of Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America and El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency. In addition to reporting on drug-trafficking empires, he has covered a number of other issues crucial to Latin America and the Caribbean, including natural disasters, political conflicts, and emigration.
Daniel W. Hamilton
Daniel W. Hamilton is the fourth dean of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law. He assumed the deanship in July 2013 and joined the Boyd School of Law faculty as the Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law. He joined UNLV from the University of Illinois College of Law where he was the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Professor of Law and History.Dean Hamilton received his Ph.D. in American legal history in 2003 from Harvard University. He was a Golieb Fellow in Legal History at New York University School of Law during the 2003-04 academic year. He received his J.D. from George Washington University and his B.A. from Oberlin College.
Before coming to UNLV, Dean Hamilton taught property law, legal history, and constitutional law at the University of Illinois College of Law and the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including Professor of the Year at both institutions.
Dean Hamilton researches and writes primarily on American property ideology and the legal and constitutional issues raised by the Civil War. He has written numerous articles and reviews on American legal history, including works in Civil War History, the Chicago-Kent Law Review, the Journal of Supreme Court History, the Journal of American History, the Journal of Southern History, the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, the Journal of National Security Law, and the Law and History Review. His book, The Limits of Sovereignty: Property Confiscation in the Union and the Confederacy During the Civil War, was published by the University of Chicago Press.
Dean Hamilton is past-president of the legal history section of the American Association of Law Schools and serves on the Board of the American Society for Legal History. His research presentations include talks at the law schools at New York University, Northwestern, Stanford, the University of Texas, and Harvard University as well as multiple presentations at the American Society for Legal History.
Miguel Hernandez is a Las Vegas based artist, originally from Los Angeles. Miguel began his artistic career as the Zappos Resident Artist. His work has brought him to create in several states, but also can be found at the Zappos campus, local businesses, schools, music festivals, and various charity events. His areas of concentration are fine art and murals, and are created through mediums ranging from all types of paints, chalks, recycled materials, and even dirt! On May 16th, 2016, along with the Mob Museum mural unveiling, Mayor Carolyn Goodman dedicated the date as “Miguel Hernandez Day”. We celebrate the work he’s done in our community and the mural that lives at The Mob Museum.
Vern Johnson is a retired FBI telecommunications manager who served for 36 years between the Oklahoma City and Sacramento Divisions. He was responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance of the secure computer system, intrusion detection systems, cryptographic equipment, SWAT team secure radio and command post communications equipment. In addition, Johnson was also responsible for one of the largest encrypted radio systems in the Bureau, with the area of coverage incorporating three quarters of the State of California. He also served on an electronics advisory committee where he represented FBI offices delegated to confer with officials at Headquarters and Quantico concerning field office needs and concerns.
Kara J. Kelley has proven expertise in organizational leadership, business and political strategy, and marketing. She has achieved results through a collaborative approach and is a passionate advocate for business and free enterprise. As president of The Kelley Company, she advises companies and individuals on branding, business strategy and organizational development. TKC also offers consulting and training in the following areas: leadership; culture change; non-profit management and governing boards; executive coaching; government & community relations; and retreat facilitation.
Ms. Kelley served as executive director for the Nevada Sesquicentennial Commission, overseeing the State of Nevada’s 150th anniversary of statehood, raising more than $1.5 million in non-tax contributions. Nevadans enjoyed more than 500 events, contributed to dozens of legacy projects and established an official world record for “most people singing their state song at once.”
Ms. Kelley is a former, and the first female, CEO of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce (LVCC), Nevada’s most influential business association and the recognized industry leader. Under her leadership LVCC became the third largest metropolitan chamber in the nation, with a membership of more than 7,000. She achieved revenue growth of more than 40% and her successful marketing and sales effort led to member growth of more than 30%. Her initiatives earned the Chamber acclaim including “Best Places to Work in Nevada” (In Business), “Most Respected CEO” (Nevada Business Journal), and top industry honors for website and other programming.
Ms. Kelley is a noted public speaker and has authored numerous opinion columns, hosted a business radio show and conducted hundreds of media interviews internationally, nationally and locally, including interviews for The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Travel Channel.
She holds various community leadership positions including serving as a gubernatorial appointee on the Colorado River Commission and the boards for Three Square food bank and University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ College of Liberal Arts Advisory Committee.
Ms. Kelley received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in political science from the UNLV.
Included in her awards and recognitions: “Top 100 Most Influential Women in Las Vegas History” (Las Vegas Centennial Committee), “Most Influential Businesswoman of the Year” (In Business), “Executive of the Year” (Western Association of Chamber Executives), and “UNLV Alumnus of the Year” (College of Liberal Arts).
Ms. Kelley and her husband Paul Larsen live in Las Vegas with their two rescue beagles.
Philip J. Kohn
Joel D. Lieberman
Joel D. Lieberman is a Professor and Chair of the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Arizona. His work involves the application of social psychological theories to criminal justice issues. More specifically, his research focuses on jury decision-making, inter-group conflict, and public reactions to surveillance technology, including police use of aerial drones. He is a founding member of the Forensic Crime Scene Investigation Consortium, which is group working to develop national training standards and techniques for the analysis of crime scene evidence, and the presentation of that evidence in court. Dr. Lieberman has experience in professional consultation, has authored numerous publications, and is a member of the editorial board for leading journals in his field.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo
Sylvia Longmire is a former officer and Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and worked for four years as a Senior Intelligence Analyst for the California State Threat Assessment Center, specializing in southwest border violence and Mexico’s drug war. She is an award-winning writer and contributing editor for Homeland Security Today magazine and American Military University’s InHomeland Security blog. Ms. Longmire has consulted for the producers of the History Channel and National Geographic Channel, and is regularly interviewed by national, international, and local media outlets for her knowledge and expertise on drug war and border security issues. She is the author of Cartel and Border Insecurity, and she has written for numerous peer-reviewed academic journals and online publications.
Ralph Lux served with the FBI for over 40 years in the Sacramento Field Office. His primary duties included vehicle acquisition, fleet management, and vehicle specification and modification. Acquiring and providing vehicles to fit into investigative scenarios, either overt or covert, was his specialty. Mr. Lux also served as a member of the FBI Evidence Response Team (ERT). In this capacity, Mr. Lux was responsible for searching, seizing, impounding and transporting vehicles used in a variety of crimes and violations that fall under FBI jurisdiction. He continues to participate in conferences hosted by vehicle manufacturers and the private industry to stay abreast of changes in automotive technology.
Governor Bob Miller
Senator Harry Reid
Gus Russo is a veteran investigative reporter, documentary producer, screenwriter and author. His books have included The Outfit: The Role of Chicago’s Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America, Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and his Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers, Gangsters and Goodfellas,” Boomer Days, and Live by the Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK. Mr. Russo is also a musician, having played with The Byrds, Poco and Phoebe Snow, as well as an actor.
His first book, Live By the Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK (Bancroft, 1998), was praised by the New York Times as “compelling, exhaustively researched and even handed.” Kirkus Reviews called Sword, “Probably the last book on the Kennedy assassination you will need to read.” The book was a Book of the Month Club and History Book Club Featured Alternate. Sword was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1999, and has been scripted for a mini-series by Showtime Networks.
Russo next authored The Outfit: The Role of Chicago’s Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America. The Outfit was also nominated for the Pulitzer and was optioned before publication by USA Networks. Gangsters and GoodFellas, published in 2004, was a collaboration with former gangster Henry Hill, a sequel to his 1985 biography Wiseguy, which was the basis for the hit 1990 movie GoodFellas, starring Robert De Niro.
Russo followed with Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers. Supermob film rights were sold before publication to CBS Paramount, and is being developed as a television series.
In January 2006, Russo, as co-writer with Wilfried Huismann, produced Rendezvous with Death, a 90-minute documentary for the German public television network WDR. The film clarifies the relationship between Cuba’s intelligence service and JFK’s killer.
Russo’s fifth book, with Steve Molton, was Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder. Brothers received the 2008 History Prize by the New York Book Festival. In 2009, Russo produced and co-wrote Generation 9-11, a documentary feature film on religious intolerance, for Academy Award-winning director Nigel Nobel.
Russo released his sixth book, a memoir entitled Boomer Days, in May 2011, and has had three screenplays optioned in Hollywood. In November 2013, Russo co-produced a two-hour television special to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, hosted by Tom Brokaw, for NBC News, as well as writing the companion book, Where Were You? In 2015, Russo was among the voice-over narrators in Academy Award winner Alex Gibney’s HBO special, Sinatra, All or Nothing at All.
Russo’s next book, The Best of Enemies was optioned for a feature film before publication by a partnership of Robert de Niro and Ron Howard. In 2017.
Previously, Gus Russo has worked an investigative reporter for PBS’ Frontline series, as well as ABC News Special Reports with Peter Jennings, Dan Rather’s CBS Reports, and Jack Anderson Specials. He has consulted on such programs as Sixty Minutes, Sixty Minutes II, and Eye To Eye with Connie Chung; as well as documentary productions based in England, France, Germany, Japan, and Mexico.
He has written for The Baltimore Sun, Variety, Baltimore Magazine, The Nation, The Washington Post, Book Forum, American Heritage, The Huffington Post and Mother Jones.
John “Jack” Schibrowsky
David G. Schwartz directs the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV, a hub for scholarly analysis of gambling and gaming issues. The center is part of University Libraries and boasts the largest repository of English-language materials on gambling and has an unparalleled repository of books, journals, and primary materials for gaming research. The center also maintains casino corporate archives including the Harrah’s Entertainment, MGM Resorts, and Boyd Gaming Corporate Archives, gaming-related manuscript collections such as the Sands, New Frontier, and Binion’s Horseshoe collections, and a growing number of collections obtained under the Problem Gambling Pioneers initiative, which collects and preserves the papers of the pioneers of the problem gambling treatment and advocacy movement.
In addition to his work at UNLV, David Schwartz is an active consultant. As vice president of research and analytics for Santo Gaming he assists the Las Vegas-based gaming management and consulting firm with a range of projects.
Schwartz is the author of three books about gambling, including Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, Suburban Xanadu: The Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip and Beyond, and Cutting the Wire: Gaming Prohibition and the Internet. He currently writes the biweekly Green Felt Journal column for Vegas Seven magazine and was named gaming and hospitality editor of Vegas Seven.
Joshua Wolf Shenk
Joshua Wolf Shenk is an author, most recently, of Powers of Two: How Relationships Drive Creativity, and executive director and writer-in-residence of the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He is editor-in-chief of The Believer, a bi-monthly, international culture magazine that is a project of BMI. His essays have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Slate, GQ, and The Nation. His first book, Lincoln’s Melancholy, was a best book of 2005 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, and won awards from The Abraham Lincoln Institute, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and the National Mental Health Association. A founding advisor to The Moth, he served on the organization’s board of directors, where he played a lead role developing The Moth Radio Hour, now on nearly 400 stations worldwide. He serves on the board of PEN Center USA.
William H. Sousa
William Sousa is the Director of the Center for Crime and Justice Policy and an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The focus of his research is on crime and disorder reduction policies implemented by police agencies. His current projects involve police order-maintenance practices, policing technologies, and community crime prevention in Las Vegas neighborhoods. He is the author, with Kenneth J. Peak, of the book Policing America: Challenges and Best Practices. His recent publications appear in Police Quarterly, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, and The Journal of Experimental Criminology. He received his B.A. from Stonehill College (Easton, MA), his M.S. from Northeastern University, and his Ph.D. from Rutgers University.
Brian Spellacy, a native of Springfield Massachusetts, has served as the Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas Secret Service Field Office since January 2014. As Special Agent in Charge, his responsibilities include the daily management of the agency investigative and protective mission in the Las Vegas metropolitan area as well managing the resident office in Reno, Nevada. Mr. Spellacy is a 26-year veteran of the Secret Service, having served in protective and investigative assignments in New York, Chicago, Houston and Washington, D.C. Mr. Spellacy began his career with the Secret Service in 1991, serving as a Special Agent in the New York Field Office. He was subsequently assigned to the Presidential Protective Division, as well as the Counter Assault Team. Entering the agency’s supervisory ranks, Mr. Spellacy was assigned to the Presidential Protective Division. He then was assigned to the Chicago Field Office where he oversaw the Counterfeit Squad as well as the Financial Crimes Squad. Mr. Spellacy returned to Washington, D.C., and served as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the office of the Assistant Director of Protective Operations, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Special Operations Division, Airspace Security Branch before being assigned as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Houston Field Office. Mr. Spellacy holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree as well as a Master’s of Education Degree from Springfield College.
Roy Student is the founder and president of Applied Management Strategies (AMS). A long-time gaming and hospitality executive, Student utilizes his key expertise and experience as a sought-after consultant and speaker to the international casino and gaming industry from his base in Las Vegas. Student has traveled throughout the world and has extensive gaming contacts and relationships within the various global regions.
Student has been the force behind the successful market entry for companies expanding as well as coming from Asia, Europe and South America. Listed in the “Who’s Who of Casino Gaming,” Student is a member of the International Association of Gaming Attorneys and has participated in casino gaming on five continents. He currently sits on the board of Win Systems and Global Gaming Business Magazine. Student also serves as Executive Advisor to Clarion Gaming in the United Kingdom for all ICE Events and the Advisory Board for Mars World. He has been honored as a recipient of the annual Global Gaming Business Gaming and Technology Award.
While president of Cyberview Technology, now part of IGT, Student crafted the plan for this small and unknown software and systems developer and hardware supplier to being acknowledged as the pioneer of server-based, downloadable gaming for the U.S. casino industry. Previously, Student was chairman and founder of Gaming Systems International (GSI), a leading developer of casino management systems, later sold to a Monaco company.
During his distinguished career, Student has been an executive with Sulcus Hospitality Group, where he developed the company’s mega-resort strategic casino plan. He honed his skills during an eighteen-year stint with General Instrument Corporation, as Vice President of the Business Systems division and as Vice President of Gaming Operations. He also held the positions of Hospitality Business Unit Director for Siemans Nixdorf, President of Dirson Enterprises, a Las Vegas based gaming communications company, President of Intermark Gaming, a slot machine and keno systems provider and operator of casinos. During his two-year tenure at Intermark Gaming, he transformed the company from a money losing organization into a profit generating enterprise in the first nine months.
Tara Sullivan is the Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation (CI), in the Las Vegas Field Office. Ms. Sullivan was named to this position in June 2016. She is responsible for planning, directing and evaluating activities of five groups of special agents across the states of Nevada and Utah.She began her career with IRS Criminal Investigation in 2000 as a Special Agent Student Trainee in the Las Vegas Field Office. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a degree in accounting and was subsequently converted to the Special Agent position in 2002. As a Special Agent, Ms. Sullivan worked in both the Las Vegas and New York Field Offices.
In 2010, Ms. Sullivan joined CI’s leadership team as Supervisory Special Agent in the New York Field Office, Bronx Post of Duty. In 2011, she was one of four selected into the IRS’ Accelerated Senior Leadership Program, which was a special program to identify individuals with strong leadership potential and provide them with the training and resources to progress to a Special Agent in Charge position.
In 2013, she was assigned to Headquarters where she worked as a Senior Analyst in International Operations. In 2014, she was selected as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office and later served as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa Field Office.
Charlene Thornton is a retired FBI agent and former Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Honolulu, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Birmingham field offices. During her 30+ year career, she also served as Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Inspection Division where she oversaw comprehensive audits of FBI investigative and administrative operations worldwide. In 2005, she was awarded the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive in recognition of her sustained high level of achievement in managing demanding and multifaceted FBI operations. She retired from the FBI in 2010.
David Uslan began his career as an intern with D.C. Comics, Walter Cronkite’s production company, and Wild Brain Animation Studios. After graduating from Indiana University, Mr. Uslan joined International Creative Management (ICM), one of the leading international talent agencies. Armed with a passion for comic books, history, and creative development, Mr. Uslan went to work for his mentor and father, Michael Uslan, originator and Executive Producer of the Batman movie franchise. Alongside his father, David assisted in developing films including the upcoming Lou Gehrig biopic being produced alongside the Steinbrenner family and the New York Yankees organization. Uslan’s producing credits include Valentine’s Day Massacre (National Geographic) and the AMC Mob Week documentary series.
From April 2012 to June 2017, Richard served as the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Division for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service (IRS-CI). Richard led a worldwide staff of nearly 3,500 employees, including approximately 2,300 special agents, who investigate crimes involving tax, money laundering, sanctions enforcement, Bank Secrecy Act violations, public corruption, cyber, ID theft, narcotics and terrorist financing. Before joining IRS-CI, Richard was the Deputy Chief of the Investigation Division and Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Richard has previously served as Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York. He is the recipient of the 2015 Presidential Rank Award – the highest civil service recognition that is given in the Federal government – and a two-time recipient of the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award, the highest honor for Justice Department lawyers.
Claytee D. White
Claytee D. White is the inaugural director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries. In this position, she collects the history of Las Vegas and the surrounding area by gathering memories of events and experiences from long-time residents. Some of the projects include early health care in Las Vegas, a study of musicians who played with some of the greats in the entertainment field, UNLV@Fifty, the Jewish Heritage Initiative, and a collaborative project that gathered the history of the African-American community. The current project is Building Las Vegas, a collection of stories and materials from early construction companies, planners, visionaries, architects, and the trades. She has written several book chapters, journal articles and presented oral history papers at national conferences from Atlanta to Maui. Ms. White received her Bachelor of Arts degree in social work from California State University Los Angeles, Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and engaged in additional graduate work at the College of William and Mary. A native of Ahoskie, North Carolina, Ms. White is a board member of the national Oral History Association, past president of the Southwest Oral History Association, serves on the Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission, Academic Advisory Board of BlackPast.Org, and the board of Women of Diversity.
As Clark County’s top prosecutor, District Attorney Steve Wolfson leads the largest and busiest law firm in the state of Nevada.
Mr. Wolfson manages a $65 million budget and over 700 employees, including 170 attorneys, in four different divisions who, combined, handle nearly 100,000 cases annually.
He joined the Clark County District Attorney’s Office in February of 2012, upon appointment by the Clark County Board of Commissioners. He was chosen to serve the three years remaining on a four-year term vacated by the previous district attorney who retired. Clark County voters elected Mr. Wolfson to the position in November of 2014 in a landslide victory where he came away with over 72% of the votes. He began serving his first full four-year term in January of 2015.
He came to the county from the city of Las Vegas where he served nearly eight years as a city councilman. He was elected to that office in a special election in June, 2004 and ran unopposed in 2005, and again in 2009.
The Past President of the Nevada District Attorney’s Association, he also serves as a member of Governor Sandoval’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Council, a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission for Kids, a member of the Commission on Statewide Rules of Criminal Procedure, a member of the nationwide group Prosecutors Against Gun Violence and a member of the HOPE for Prisoners Advisory Council. Since taking office he has implemented the D.A. Ambassador Program, a community education and outreach program for employees in the District Attorney’s Office. Additionally, his office is also active on various social media platforms, furthering his commitment to transparency and outreach.
After starting his career in the D.A.’s office in 1980, where he served as a Deputy District Attorney, Mr. Wolfson then served as a Federal Prosecutor. In 1987, he entered the private sector where he practiced criminal defense for 25 years.
He has been active with the State Bar of Nevada by serving on the Board of Governors, the Judicial Ethics and Campaign Election Practices Committee, and other bar-related committees. Additionally, he was chairman of the State Bar of Nevada Ethics 2000 Committee, a blue ribbon committee established by the Nevada Supreme Court, to review and bring up-to-date all Supreme Court rules involving attorney conduct.
Born in Los Angeles, he received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from San Diego State University and a Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law.
A California native, Darcel has amassed a diverse career in the field of Criminal Justice spanning back to the early 1980s. Her public service positions include Deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Youth Correctional Counselor with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Juvenile Justice (CDCRDJJ), Parole Agent assigned to Los Angeles County Street Gang Unit where she served as a member of an interagency task force consisting of agents and officers representing Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Agency, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and Los Angeles Police Department with the focus of reducing gang violence during the turbulent 1980s and 1990s. She has served as a Gubernatorial appointed Commissioner to the State of California Board of Parole Hearings presiding over adult Life Term Inmate parole suitability hearings, associated parole reconsideration and rescission hearings all of which were conducted at prisons statewide, investigated requests for Gubernatorial pardons, reprieves and commutation of sentences.
Darcel recently retired after a 24 year career as an educator and education administrator. During those years she held positions as a Tenured Professor in Correctional Science, Educational Coordinator for the
Public Safety Department (2008-2011), Department Chair (2003-2013), faculty and student advisor/mentor for professional development, academic and university matriculation at Chaffey College located in Southern California. She also held a management position at a Regional Occupational Program where she was Director for Cal WORKS, Welfare-to-Work, Workforce Development programs, and a multitude of community collaborative projects such as the Success Project which provided both pre-release and post-release correctional reintegration continuum of care services.
Since retirement, Darcel completed a short term assignment in 2018 with the State of Nevada’s Department of Public Safety Parole and Probation Division conducting presentence investigations, and has now begun research for the development of programs, systems and public enlightenment to address special topics of interest such as Coherent Restorative Justice, Deterrence Driven Community Based Prevention Programs, Justice System Reform (4C), Restructure of Sentencing Statutes and Examination of Guidelines.
She holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of La Verne, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at California State University Fullerton.
Born in Yerington, Bill Young is a fourth-generation Nevadan. As a small child, his family moved to Las Vegas where he graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in 1974. Young is also an alumnus of UNLV, holding a BA in Criminal Justice and an MS in Emergency Management. He began his career with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as a Patrol Officer in 1979. In 1984 he was promoted to sergeant and his assignments included Patrol, Field Training, and SWAT. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1986 and served in Patrol, as Operations Manager of the Communications Center, and in Vice/Narcotics. In 1995, he was promoted to captain and commanded the Support Services Bureau, overseeing the Resident Officer Program, K-9, Air Support, and Search and Rescue. He was promoted to deputy chief in January 1999 and assigned to the Detention Services Division. He took over as the Deputy Chief for Special Operations Division in February 2001. Mr. Young was elected Sheriff in November of 2002. After his retirement, he joined Stations Casinos as the Vice President of Security. Mr. Young also serves on the board of multiple organizations: After-School All-Stars, Hope for Prisoners, Nevada Child Seekers, Olive Crest, and AlertID.