Mafia Making a Comeback in Sin City - Will the Las Vegas Strip Become America's Red Light District?

Share Article

In Vegas’ lore, names like Bugsy, Lefty, and The Ant are common place. Today, new nicknames such as Ritz and toP haT are spreading. Featuring piercings and wildly-dyed hair, the self-proclaimed Social Media 'Realtainers' are members of the chic real estate team Aaron Auxier Group (AAG). Ritz and toP haT blame Wall Street for harming the essence of what Vegas' original founders offered its visitors: classy entertainment, escapism, and fantasy-based pleasure. But the duo is hard at work to revive Old Vegas, earning global attention while offering for sale the private home of famous casino boss Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal.

Aaron Auxier aka Ritz - Shawn Sheridan aka toP haT

Ritz and toP haT

I say we consider turning the Las Vegas Strip (or Downtown Vegas) into America's version of Amsterdam's Red Light District.

From the soon-coming Las Vegas Mob Experience (organized-crime exhibit) at the renovated Tropicana to the city-sponsored Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (set to open downtown in March 2010), it's easy to see why Aaron Auxier aka 'Ritz' says that wise guys are making a comeback in Sin City. Even ballsier, the controversial personality says it's time the city returned to its roots and starts to unwind Wall Street's corporate stranglehold on 'Earth's favorite adult playground'. To get the party started, Auxier is offering notorious mob legend Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal's Las Vegas home for sale (on a private, non-MLS basis).

In Martin Scorsese's epic film Casino, characters such as Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal (Robert DeNiro), Geri Rosenthal (Sharon Stone), and Anthony 'The Ant' Spilotro (Joe Pesci) were depicted as wild and crazy. From the FBI having to force land their surveillance plane on the golf course of the Las Vegas Country Club (due to gas/mechanical problems) outside of Rosenthal's home - to references of violent murders and holes in the desert, there's no surprise that Bugsy Siegel's original plan for this desert getaway had to come to an end. But sometimes, history has a way of repeating itself.

"Old Vegas is making a comeback. For America to recover, it's critical that this city embraces and learns from its history - more handshakes and less contracts," says Auxier. "Vegas was built on large dreams and making people feel like celebrities. Some players, especially those on the Strip, seem to have forgotten that. To be blunt, when it comes to making people feel important in Vegas - Bugsy and Lefty did a better job than Wall Street.” He explains that when the mob ran Vegas, it was considered a 'safe spot' by the bosses back home. It's said that a beautiful woman could walk down a dark alley with a clear purse and a million dollars visible with no problems. Because if someone brought the attention from the Feds, they would be the ones with a problem - forget about it.

Having been born and raised in Los Angeles and growing up in the acting and music businesses, AAG practices what they call 'Realtainment' - a blend of real estate and entertainment. "We wanted to humanize the pretentious world of luxury/celebrity real estate in Vegas." "Being that this city is so bananas, we discovered there was an audience for an authentic approach," Auxier explains. "As opposed to suits and ties, toP haT and I prefer to wear cool outfits, piercings, and colored hair. We cater to a niche audience."

Auxier's passion for Vegas is no secret. In numerous cases, he's stood up for the city in the national spotlight, including defending the recession-hit mecca live on CNBC (when President Obama had first dissed the city). Other times, Auxier has taken to unconventional methods to get his point across. He has infuriated some local magazines, politicians, and journalists by calling them out for what he calls irresponsible reporting of the facts - especially regarding inflated reporting of inventory in the Las Vegas high-rise condo market (which includes time-share, residential, and condotel properties).

The positive news is that Auxier believes Vegas can lead a national economic recovery. He claims that he speaks for the majority of enthusiasts that the time has never been better for Vegas to once again reinvent itself. He says the opportunity to capitalize on the current global economic recession is begging to be exploited. That by giving people a total break from reality, Vegas could once again lead the world as a place where what's illegal and taboo everywhere else, is openly accepted here - just like Bugsy Siegel envisioned. "Conceited casinos and expensive handbag stores are not the answer," says Auxier. "Lefty ensured each blueberry muffin at the Stardust received a fair amount of blueberries. The city was about comps and making people feel special."

"More sex, making people feel important, and affordable fun spots to party would be good for Vegas," he grins. "I say we consider turning the Las Vegas Strip (or Downtown Vegas) into America's version of Amsterdam's Red Light District." "This city was built on wild ideas. When it comes to trying to mimic boutique cities such as New York or Chicago, that's not how Vegas entrepreneurs roll. Las Vegas is a giant carnival, and it's run by 'carnies' (like us) who are willing to say, 'Step right up, step right up. You'll never believe what you're about to see'."

Auxier says he's in accord with some insiders that Nevada should consider legalizing marijuana and prostitution in Clark County (currently, prostitution is only legal in a few rural areas of Nevada). The move could not only have a positive shock-and-awe effect on the local economy but also help regulate the industry, making sex safer (through mandatory HIV and STD testing). As far as the legalization of marijuana? "We're getting double popped, our economy is struggling and gaming is becoming legal in other states," Auxier says. "We would be silly not to consider legalizing certain activities, while taxing and regulating them."

Auxier can back up his bold rhetoric. So far this year, he's already done approx. 5 transactions in Vegas’ hottest celebrity condo project - Palms Place. In 2007, he set the top-two price-per-square-foot records in the history of Nevada (records he still holds unto heading into 2011) after selling two condo penthouses for approx. $2,000 and $2,400 a square foot. He has been compared to famous sports agent Leigh Steinberg (the inspiration for the movie Jerry Maguire) and called a 'Realtor to the Stars' by VEGAS Magazine. Out of over 15,000 Realtors, Auxier won the 'Survivor of the Year' award in 2008, and was named a 'Rising Star of Business' by the Las Vegas Business Press and Mayor Oscar Goodman.

As for the Rosenthal residence (which comes with Lefty’s original tie and key racks, a hidden gun compartment, and even a suspected assassination-attempt bullet mark), Auxier says the property has been a big 'hit'. While having a knack for getting on TV (including appearances on/in Entertainment Tonight, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes), over the first week of May 2010, Auxier, toP haT, and Lefty's home have received global press (including a feature on Fox 5 News' MORE (watch it), a rare write up by celebrity journalist Norm Clark (Vegas' version of Perez Hilton), and a gossip piece in the Daily Star celebrity publication in the United Kingdom.

Brains bursting with ideas, cell phones crammed with connections (ranging from top surgical physicians to Vegas’ most wanted VIP club hosts), Ritz and toP haT say their staying power in such a transient city is due to five main qualities: passion, authenticity, experience, personality, and hookups. Aaron Auxier Group specializes in luxury/celebrity properties in guard-gated communities such as The Ridges in Summerlin, Panorama Towers, and Turnberry Place. AAG's tagline? 'The Easiest Way to Legendary Living in Las Vegas'. "We never focus on selling 'real estate', we simply connect people with tremendous lifestyles in the most exciting city in the world," Auxier finishes.

Carnies or not, it seems that Ritz and toP haT just might be the wild cards that this oasis needs. A little controversy which ties the old in with the new - connectors who keep the city’s blood pumping.

Contact: 702-205-1818


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Aaron Auxier
Visit website