‘Bored’ Drew Las Vegas Arsonist Gets Five Years in Prison
Posted on: September 1, 2020, 04:06h.
Last updated on: September 2, 2020, 09:43h.
A man who filmed himself setting fires at The Drew Las Vegas, causing millions in damage before “squaring up” to responding firefighters, was sentenced to five years in a federal prison Friday.
Andrew Joseph Sanders, 28, of Las Vegas, broke into the Drew construction site on March 1, 2018, and lit two fires, one on the 11th floor near the ballroom, and another around 200 yards away, according to a Department of Justice news release.
“And I lit a fire to this sh*t. I’m just bored, you know?” he commented on his cellphone video.
Outside, he attempted to fight two firefighters from the Clark County Fire Department, who had to subdue the arsonist. The altercation prevented the firefighters from supplying water to their colleagues inside the building, prosecutors said.
In October 2019, Sanders pleaded guilty to one count of arson. In addition to the term of imprisonment, he was sentenced to three years of supervised release. His obligation to pay restitution will be determined by the court at a later date.
Preliminary reports at the time suggested Sanders had caused around $10 million in damage.
The building — formerly the Fontainebleau — has stood half-finished and empty since 2009 when financiers pulled their backing as America slid into recession.
But the summer before Sanders’ rampage, billionaire New York real-estate investor Steven Witkoff had purchased the shell of the Fontainebleau for $600 million from Carl Icahn, who had acquired it at a cut-price from the bankruptcy courts in 2010. Witkoff renamed it The Drew, after his son, Andrew Witkoff, who died of a drug overdose in 2011, and vowed to complete the $3 billion project.
But the Witkoff Group halted construction in March as Las Vegas went into coronavirus lockdown.
Since then, there have been reports of defaulted interest payments to investors, lawsuits from disgruntled construction contractors who say they’re owed money, and rumors that financing for the project has fallen through because of the financial pressures of the coronavirus.
Last month, a group of veteran casino executives who had been headhunted for The Drew launched legal action, claiming fraud and breach of contract after they were laid off in early April. Instead of the six-figure salaries, guaranteed bonuses, and generous severance packages they claim they were promised, they received just two months’ pay.
The Witkoff Group has called this an “unprecedented time,” but added that it remains committed to the project.
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