April 4: The Media and the Mob in Las Vegas, a Courtroom Conversation
We’ll take you back to a time when the Mob was the biggest news story in Las Vegas.
In the Las Vegas of the ‘70s and ‘80s, notorious and now legendary mobsters made headlines – and history. TV and newspaper reporters found fame chasing the latest developments in the battle between organized crime and law enforcement playing out on our city streets. Some of these mobsters like Tony “The Ant” Spilotro, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and Joe Agosto became household names, while the FBI agents, prosecutors, regulators and attorneys who sought to put them behind bars found themselves in the spotlight as well.
This multimedia presentation, moderated by The Mob Museum’s Geoff Schumacher, will bring together three veteran journalists and two lawyers who were on the front lines of this fight between the Mob and law enforcement. Accompanied by vintage video, former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, Bob Stoldal, George Knapp, Linda Faiss and former Nevada Governor Bob Miller will share riveting stories of this fascinating era in the history of Las Vegas.
Linda Faiss is an award-winning reporter, a public information officer and a partner in her own public relations agency. She began her journalism career in college where she was editor of the Sagebrush at the University of Nevada, Reno. She went on to work for the Reno Evening Gazette and the Nevada State Journal before becoming city editor of The Valley Times in Las Vegas. She’s also served as the public information officer for the City of Las Vegas and then as community affairs director for KHJ Radio in Los Angeles. In addition to handling public relations and government affairs for a number of leading Las Vegas companies, she serves on the boards of a several community organizations.
Oscar B. Goodman
Former Mayor Oscar Goodman has arguably done more to promote the city of Las Vegas than just about anyone else. Before serving 12 years as mayor, Goodman was a legendary criminal defense attorney and was named as one of the “15 Best Trial Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal. He built his reputation defending some of the most notorious alleged Mob figures, including Meyer Lansky, Frank Rosenthal, Anthony Spilotro and others. In 1995, he appeared as himself in the movie Casino. Passionate about downtown revitalization, he was the main visionary of The Mob Museum. He also served as chairman of the LVCVA, and he continues to be a champion of Las Vegas, serving as the city’s official ambassador.
George Knapp’s investigative reporting has earned him some of the highest accolades in journalism, including numerous Edward R. Murrow Awards and Mark Twain Awards for Newswriting, the DuPont Award and two Peabody Awards, along with 24 regional Emmys. After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications from West Georgia College and a masters in communications from the University of the Pacific, Knapp taught speech, debate and broadcast journalism. When he moved to Vegas in 1979, he worked as a cab driver before being hired at KLVX-TV as a part-time cameraman and production assistant. He then moved to KLAS as a reporter. Since 1995 he’s been chief reporter on Channel 8’s I-Team Investigative Unit.
Governor Bob Miller
Former Nevada Governor Bob Miller has been involved in law enforcement and public service since graduating from the University of Santa Clara in 1967. While attending Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, he served as a part-time deputy sheriff. He then served as deputy district attorney in Las Vegas from 1971-1973, when he was named the first legal advisor for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. After serving as Justice of the Peace for Las Vegas Township, he was elected Clark County District Attorney in 1978 and reelected in 1982. He was then elected Lieutenant Governor in 1986 and named acting Governor in 1989 when Governor Richard Bryant was elected to the U.S. Senate. He was elected to a four-year term in 1990 then reelected in 1994. After his last term as Governor, he joined the Las Vegas law firm of Jones Vargas.
Robert A. Stoldal
Robert Stoldal’s journalism career has spanned decades and over that time he’s seen Las Vegas undergo dramatic changes. He’s been a reporter, anchor, news director, executive, and has launched a number of all-news channels around the country. He started his career as a reporter and anchor at KLAS_TV in 1967 and was promoted to news director in 1968. During his tenure as news director KLAS was named the “Best Newscast in America” by United Press International. Stoldal then helped launch three all-news cable channels in Virginia, Tennessee and Las Vegas. Brought on as vice-president of news for KLAS, in 2009 he was named vice-president of news for the Sunbelt Corporation. He serves on the boards of a several community organizations.