Saturday, October 04, 2008

The (redacted) Museum: The Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement

Las Vegas hopes its newest museum will be a hit.

The city is opening The (redacted) Museum: The Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, which will showcase southern Nevada's colorful and storied past in organized crime.

The City Council unveiled the name Tuesday, along with logos resembling court documents with material blacked out. The first redaction obscures the word "mob."

"I don't think anybody is able to do tongue-in-cheek the way Las Vegas can do it," said Mayor Oscar Goodman, a former criminal defense lawyer who represented organized crime figures before representing residents in City Hall.

The museum is expected to open in spring 2010 in downtown Las Vegas at the site of the former federal courthouse where Goodman tried his first case.

As city officials unveiled the plans, council members tossed around T-shirts that said: "There is no such thing as a mob museum nor have I ever been there."

"Does this mean the mayor's going to be cleaning out his garage?" joked Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian.

Goodman joked of his possible contributions to the exhibits: "They've been in my backyard trying to dig up some of the old relics, but so far I've fended them off. We'll have a lot of Oscar-abilia in there."

Plans for the museum are supported by the FBI, which has pledged to locate organized crime artifacts in Washington and lend them for displays. The former head of the Las Vegas FBI office, Ellen Knowlton, is chairwoman of the museum's board.

Officials say the museum won't glorify organized crime, but instead will give a candid look at its influence on Las Vegas, how law enforcers worked to extract illegal influences from gambling, how mob operations in cities around the country were connected and famous hearings on organized crime.

The city believes the museum could draw as many as 800,000 visitors each year and is part of an attempt to revitalize downtown Las Vegas.

The mob theme was picked after a poll of 300 tourists showed more than 70 percent ranking the idea among its top three concepts. Other options included a behind-the-scenes look at gambling, a museum on magic or a museum dedicated to Las Vegas icons such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

Thanks to Oskar Garcia

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