In 1960, Las Vegas introduced the Black Book — officially known as the List of Excluded Persons. It was originally a small list of just 11 names. The names were mobsters that were banned from entering any casino within the city limits. That list grew to hundreds of names by the ’70s as known affiliates of the Italians and Chicago Mob families were added, and eventually into the thousands by the ’80s once card counters and cheats were then added to the list.
The 1979 election for governor of Nevada was full of campaign promises to outright eradicate corruption in Las Vegas. Upon being elected, then Governor Clyde Rhule did a year long audit of budgets, salaries and reported incomes of all elected and appointed officials in Nevada – namely Las Vegas – and discovered the vast majority of the Vegas crowd was living well above their means, which clued the governor in on just how much people were being paid off to look the other way. After some legal wrangling in the courts and hearings with the state senate, the state senate, in an emergency session, established state law that gave the governor the autonomy to suspend or terminate any elected official suspected of corruption. This went on to be known as ‘The Vegas Rhule’.
In 1981, Governor Rhule used his newfound power to ‘remove & appoint at will’ and did exactly that. He removed every single official from Clark County and the City of Las Vegas. What went on to be known as ‘The Rhule Change’ in 1981, Clark County was renamed Las Almas County. Las Almas went on to adopt the City-County Metropolitan Area form of government, where all incorporated cities were stripped of their city charters and codes and absorbed by the county outright.
The Sheriff is the principal law enforcement officer within the county and all cities within the county are serviced by the Las Almas Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff, as established by the ‘Home Rhule Charter’ for Las Almas, is also the Director of Public Safety, so the fire departments and hospital groups report to Office of the Sheriff. It varies per Sheriff, but the current Sheriff presently grants full autonomy over budget and personnel to the respective department heads of the Fire Department and County Hospital Group. As it stands now, the Fire Chief and the Hospital Chief of Staff do control their respective departments, but the Sheriff reserves the right to rescind such control at will. The County Commission is headed by the County Chairman/woman or Mayor and their Deputy Chairman/woman or Deputy Mayor. The county is broken down into two (or four) districts where there are councilmen/women that serve those areas under the Chairman/Mayor.
Since 1980, the only area still known as Las Vegas is ‘The Strip’ of Las Vegas. Everything else that was known as Las Vegas is now known as Las Almas. The Strip kept the Vegas name only due to the tourism draw and the corporation takeover. It pushed the biggest factions out, leaving them to rebuild their empire outside of the Strip. The blatant corruption and mob ties that the Vegas casinos and surrounding politics were known for have all but disappeared. Now it is all about smart crime.
From 1980 on, the year brought about an unprecedented change when President Benjamin Elhanan was elected, then again in 1984 against his opponent. His campaign had been very clear – prioritize American goods, minimize oversea production of goods, push harsher criminal sentences, and discourage immigrants. His sentiment of creating a better America after the presidency of Jimmy Carter resonated with many, especially those of Las Almas.
After the Italian Mob was pushed out in the 80s, it left a void – and where there is a void, there is opportunity. The remaining members lingered in the background, forming alliances where they could, notably with the Russian Bratva until they seized that opportunity and grew their enterprise by tenfold, establishing their grounds, expanding their territory, and essentially became the overlords of crime in Las Almas. The Russians grew too powerful, too fast, leaving the Italians in the dust with nothing to show for it, discarded to the side. So quietly, the Italian Mob kept their keen eyes on the city, and eventually snaked their way back in and staked out territory by the strip club, which became known as theirs, as well as the surrounding blocks.
Mayor Matthew Kiernan’s time in office was plagued with rumors and scandals – some true and some just plain malicious. After all, it’s difficult to escape family ties, and his father, who had held the office before him, was known to be in the pockets of several of the prominent gang families in Las Almas. He was voted out and succeeded by Mayor John Elon, who worked closely with law enforcement, in an attempt to eradicate gang activity and gang rates. Like President Elhanan, it contributed very much to the reason why he had been elected in the first place. His right hand man, Joseph Nahum, was elected in 2014 to push the same agenda, simply because of the lowered crime rates that frustrated and fed up citizens saw as success and proof in the pudding. But the strict measures put into place by his predecessor had just been a bandaid over a gaping wound, and all the arms and drug deals were quieter, and the hit jobs were made to look like accidents. The criminals of Las Almas worked smarter, and quieter, so no news did not necessarily mean good news, and it left many to wonder what it meant when Joseph announced he was to be wed to Saturnino Sciarra’s younger sister – news that left many reeling in shock.
2018 brought on a new mayoral elect – Aaron Eder. His term began uneventfully, but like most politicians, it did not stay that way for long. Rumors began to circulate quite quickly that he was bought out by one or more of the major crime groups in Las Almas, effectively undoing most, if not all, of the work that his predecessors had done. While several investigations were launched into his innocence, there was never any definitive proof that Mayor Eder was indeed marred by corruption, though some were insistent that he had frequently arranged for inconspicuous shipments to be stored at several warehouses leased under his brother’s name.
This brings us to early 2021 – Mayor Eder was found dead in what the Sheriff’s Office calls ‘suspicious circumstances’. While investigations are still ongoing, the Sheriff’s Office has been notoriously quiet on the situation, releasing as few details to the public as possible.
Tensions have spiked in the city as citizens gear up for a new election. Witch hunts have stemmed from online vigilantes, and others believe that the Sheriff’s Office just aren’t working fast or hard enough. The crime situation has been rather quiet, but their presence is most certainly felt throughout the streets of Las Almas, as their reach is far and wide.