Robert Cashell Jr., son of Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, garnered approval to run downtown Reno’s Fitzgeralds Casino and Hotel.
The Nevada Gaming Commission ruled Thursday, so now Cashell is able to hold a 5 year lease on the property. He's also in a partnership with the new owners, downtown Reno developers
Fernando Leal and Don Wilson, that will enable him to wind up with an ownership interest at Fitzgeralds. Cashell said there's no immediate plan to change the Fitzgeralds name.
Cashell was upbeat when asked by Gaming Commission member Sue Wagner about the potential for Fitzgeralds.
"It's at ground zero of downtown Reno redevelopment," said Cashell, describing the hotel-casino's proximity to the Truckee River and to the ReTrac railroad trench project which is in line
for more improvements. He added the hotel-casino is just two blocks from a proposed Triple-A baseball stadium.
Cashell said the new ownership group plans to immediately spend $2-3 million on improvements at Fitzgeralds, and even more later down the line. Plans call for renovation of all 350 hotel rooms, although there's no estimate yet on what that would cost.
Mayor Cashell told casino regulators earlier this month that he has abstained from voting on gambling matters since his son became involved in the group buying Fitzgeralds. His son also operates the Alamo Travel Center in Sparks and the Topaz Lodge & Casino at Topaz
Lake in Douglas County.
Fitzgeralds is the last of four casinos previously owned by Fitzgeralds Gaming Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2000. A court-appointed supervisor, Jeffrey Gilbert, has run the
property for the creditors since mid-2003. The creditors sold the property for an undisclosed sum to Leal and Wilson. Leal and Wilson also are in the process of turning the former Golden Phoenix hotel-casino in the downtown area into a luxury condo tower, the 380-unit Montage.
The club is named after its original owner, gambler Lincoln Fitzgerald, who moved from the Detroit area where he reportedly was associated with the notorious "Purple Gang" that brought in
liquor from Canada during Prohibition.
Fitzgerald bought into the Nevada Club in downtown Reno in 1946. He survived a gangland-style murder attempt in Reno in 1949, and opened Fitzgeralds in 1976. He died in 1981.