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Nevada Evening Gazette (Newspaper) - May 19, 1977, Reno, Nevada dominates City Officials Explain Secret MGM Meeting '-V, A fpefcfoi newspaper- tate journal Final Thurtdoy Morning, May Resistance Nevadans Drum Up Land Sale Support From Journal Wire Services WASHINGTON Congressional resistance to selling federal land to states like Nevada might be broken if the proceeds from such sales were earmarked for park purchases elsewhere, Rep. Jim Santini, D-Nev., He said he'd draft legislation to do that soon. The suggestion came as Santini and Sens. Howard Cannon, D-Nev., and Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., launched the first stage of a legislative campaign to drum up support for the sate of more land to a state that is 87 per cent owned by the federal government. Western congressmen and senators who came to two Nevada State legislative delegation were reported to be sympathetic. So was Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus a former governor of Idaho, two-thirds of which is'in federal ownership. Laxalt interpreted si committee hearing Wednesday as important and a good sip of things to come Nevada state Sen. Richard Blakemore, D-Tonopah, presented the senate subcommittee on public lands with alternative methods for the distribution and administration of Nevada's public lands to place the property in private hands. But, Santini warned, "our uphill battle is going to be with those large numbers of congressmen who have no federal land in their district and don't understand the problem." The Nevada delegation is wearing buttons reading "13 per cent is not enough" but they have at- tractedas manyjokes as he said. The problem, Santini explained, is that: acres of land adaptable for agriculture is going unused in Federal Bureau of Land Management ownership. -Cities such as Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Las Vegas can't expand because they are surrounded by federal land. counties don't have enough private taxable land. -Towns like Alamo can't find room to put another trailer and Mesquite is buying farmlands to make room for houses. officials are not sympathetic to the needs of ranchers and miners. "We've got real Santini said. "There are those in the Bureau of Land Management who view the Congress passed a bill last year giying Nevada million to compensate for the privateTind tax base it doesn't have, but that is not enough, Santini said. Federal land sales could be lucrative for the federal government, the congressman suggested. Vacant land in Las Vegas might bring milliondollars alone, he said, that could buy federal park land elsewhere. (See LAND.Page Washoe Grand Jury; Bad Judgment in Reno, But No Crime in Swap City of Reno officials snowed bad judgment and repeated failures to communicate but committed no crime in swapping land with the MGM Grand hotel-casino, the Washoe County Grand Jury reported Wednesday In its 49-page report the grand jury concluded that poor communication by city employes mainly Assistant City Manager Jim Underwood caused the controversy surrounding the land trade. The city and casino swapped 15 acres each in April 197ff to facilitate construction of the million complex two miles east of downtown Reno. City Manager Bob Oldland said after the report was released that he plans to deal with the communication problems noted by the grand jury "The grand jury was very explicit in its indication of where the com- munication problems Oldland said, "and I'll take whatever ac- tions I deem desirable to correct it." He stopped short of saying whether any city employes will be fired over the matter, saying only "I haven't made a decision." The grand jury noted in passing that six Reno councilmen, excluding only Councilwoman Pat Lewis, met privately with MGM officials in the fall of 1975 to discuss the firm's plans to build in Reno. The previously unrevealed luncheon in the Palace Club occurred before MGM's an- nouncement of its plans, the grand jury said. The investigation, spurred by two conflicting appraisals of the land involved in the swap, began in late 1976 after Councilman Bill Granata said he wasn't getting satisfactory answers about why the City Council wasn't informed of the second appraisal before approving its agreement to trade 15 acres of city-owned land for 15-acres of MGM property The first appraisal, on which the council based its action, showed the city was benefiting by when its property was compared to MGM's But the second one, ordered by Underwood, showed MGM benefiting bv when land values were compared. The grand jury concluded that Underwood was wrong hi ordering a second appraisal since the first one was based on fair market value as mandated by the city charter. "Since the city had given new instructions to the appraisers for the second appraisal, the grand jury concludes that Mr. Underwood ordered a new appraisal rather than merely a revision of the first the Underwood now is on a four-month leave of absence taken for "per- sonal reasons" soon after Oldland appeared before the grand jury Oldland had a heart attack Christmas Day-that kept him away f away from his (See WASHOE, Page 2, Col. 5) End of the tine For 'King of Trains' PARIS (AP) At five minutes to midnight tonight, the giamour- shrouded Direct Orient Express pulls out of the Gare de Lyon station in Paris for the last time on its journey to Istanbul. For nearly 90 years, the luxurious sleeping cars of the Paris-Istanbul express carried their reputation for international intrigue, espionage, big time crime and high society passengers like a unique badge of distinction Between two world wars, the train that crossed six nations on its transcontinental journey was described as "the king of trains and the train of kings." In the days before scheduled airlines, crowned beads of the Balkan states occasionally traveled in special cars, and diplomatic couriers occasionally reported attempts to tamper with their top-secret bags. But the train's reputation was partly a myth, fed by a string of novels, films and plays such as Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Ex- In reality, the sleeping car passengers often were businessmen and hardly more glamorous than the first-class passengers on today's airlines. The Direct Orient was not even Europe's longest scheduled train service the surviving Paris-Moscow express beat it by more than 200 miles. It was the airplane that killed the Paris-Istanbul line. (See END, Page 2, Col. 1) Legend's End This 1968 file photo shows the Orient Express rounding a curve on its run through Austria, passing Wallersee Lake. (AP Photo) (Doming Capsules Swine Flu Death ATLANTA (UPI) The death of a 17-year-old South Carolina girl last month was attributed Wed- nesday to a probably "dead-end" swine flu virus that is not expected to affect government influenza shot recommendations for next fall and winter. The death of the unidentified girl was disclosed at a meeting of the federal Advisory Committee on Im- munization Practices at the national Center for Disease Control. The committee was meeting to approve its immunization recommendations for the fall and winter. Dr. Bruce Dull, assistant director of the CDC and committee chairman, said an investigation into the girl's death was continuing. However, he said it was unlikely the death would have any affect on vaccine recommendations. "It appears that this is a dead-end Dull said, adding there was no spread of the infection to the girl's family or to the community, which was not identified. Judges Lose Cose WASHINGTON (UPI) The U.S. Court of Claims Wednesday rejected efforts by 140 federal judges to collect back pay on grounds inflation has eaten away much of their earnings. The court said in a written opinion it has no power to grant relief on the inflation issue "for the Constitution affords no protection from such an indirect, non- discriminatory lowering of judicial compensation, not involving an assault upon the independence of judges." Arms Talks Held GENEVA, Switzerland (UPI) Secretary of State Cyrus Vance met Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko Wednesday behind the barbed wire of the Soviet mission to try to find some agreement on arms reductions and Middle East peace. Cor Planned SAN ANTONIO, Tex. (UPI) A wealthy California woman will be buried Friday dressed in her lace nightgown and seated in the 1964 blue Ferrari automobile she loved, a funeral home director an- nounced Wednesday. Porter Loring Jr. said the burial of millionairess Sandra Ilene West, 37, of Beverly Hills would take place at 9 a.m. Friday at the Alamo Masonic cemetery. "We are anxious that she be buried in as dignified and discreet a manner as Loring said 'Every effort will be made to make this as unsen- A Los Angeles court had ordered the Lorings to carry out the desires of Mrs. West that she be buried in a large grave next to her late husband, "in the lace nightgown which now clothes her remains in the driver's seat of her blue 1964 Ferrari automobile, tne seat slanted comfortably and duly adjusted to accommodate such remains." 1975 Session By BARBARA HENRY City of Reno and MGM officials reacted with mixed emotions Wed- nesday to a grand jury revelation that the huge hotel-casino's Reno plans first were broached in late 1975 to six councilman at an unannounced lurr- cheon meeting in the Palace Club. Only Councilwoman Pat Lewis was excluded from the luncheon meeting and said Wednesday she never was invited. Councilman Clyde Biglieri recalled Wednesday that he was quizzed by five persons including Journal reporters on Oct. 9, 1975, about reports that council members had met the day before at the Palace Club to discuss city affairs. He said he admitted having lunch at the club but said no to everything else because no one asked bun exactly the right question. "I laughed for three he said Wednesday, referring to the story that appeared Oct. 10 quoting both him and Councilman Bruno Menicucci denying that the council met for lunch at the Palace to discuss replacing Police Chief James Parker. Councilman Marcel Durant said Wednesday night that Biglieri took up part of the Palace Club meeting worrying aloud whether it was legal for the council to get together that way for such a discussion. Such a meeting would be illegal under a revised Open Meeting Law that will take effect July 1. It was not, however, against the law in effect at the time. Biglieri himself pointed out Wed- nesday that he would be guilty of a misdemeanor if he attended the same meeting under the new law. Asked if he believes on reflection that he should have mentioned when asked about Chief Parker that the council in fact discussed a million hotel-casino project, Biglieri said he feels he was ''100 per cent truthful." "It's up to you guys to dig that in- formation he said. Menicucci, by contrast, said Wednesday he feels he should have volunteered that information when asked about the meeting. "I suppose you're he said, "I shouldhave told you then." Both Menicucci and Biglieri said they believe the meeting may not have been proper. "We live and Menicucci said, "and this time it was the hard way." The grand jury reported that no laws were broken in the MGM-City o't Reno land transaction. It also said there was no misfeasance or malfeasance in office by Reno em- ployes. Rather, the jury said, poor judgment and a lack of com- munication fired the land swap controversy. (See related story on this page.) Concerning the private luncheon meeting, the grand jury said MGM officials arranged it through Palace Club owner Silvio Petricciani. "Petricciani, acting for the MGM, invited Councilman Bruno Menicucci to attend the luncheon. At Mr. Petricciani's request, Mr. Menicucci contacted several other members of the City Council regarding the lun- cheon and Mr. Petricciani apparently invited the remainder who the report says. Petricianni, who said Wednesday he did not testify before the grand jury, said he called only Menicucci who in turn contacted the other councilmen. Menicucci said he can't remember why Mrs. Lewis wasn't asked to tend the private luncheon. Petricianni also said Wednesday he did not act for MGM, as the grand jury reported, but merely was doing a favor for Al Benedict, a friend, with the Las Vegas MGM. He said direc- tors wanted to introduce themselves to the councilmen, so he called Menicucci. Durant said Wednesday it was not a private meeting. He claimed Menicucci mentioned it at a City (See CITY, Page 2, Col. l) 6 Sections, 64 Pages Amusements Classified Comics Crossword DearAbby Deaths Editorials Focus Horoscope Health Column Lunch Menu Markets Recreation Sports State News TV Log TV Scout Vitals Weather 32-40 16 37 6 27 4 37 24 30 26 8 11-15 16 27 2 JNFW SPA PERI JNFW SPA PERI
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