LVCVA Boss Gets Hefty Bonus Plus Salary Hike, As Las Vegas Tourism Agency Brings in Auditing Firm to Justify Expenses
Posted on: August 9, 2017, 10:00h.
Last updated on: August 9, 2017, 11:18h.
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) CEO Rossi Ralenkotter has received a six percent salary increase and one-time 50 percent salary bonus of $208,000, after the governmental agency’s board unanimously approved the performance-based rewards.
But not everyone is happy about the payments, and some legal experts are questioning whether the compensation process violated the state’s open-meeting law.
LVCVA Compensation Committee Chairman Chuck Bowling, whose day job is being president and COO of Mandalay Bay, announced the benefits in an emailed statement. However, there was little-to-no explanation regarding how the board arrived at such its determinations.
Nevada Press Association Barry Smith told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “There’s no reason not to have that discussion in the open meeting. That’s the whole purpose behind the [open meeting] statute.”
The LVCVA is at the center of recent public criticism after the Review-Journal published a series of stories on the agency’s extravagant wining and dining practices, which included $700,000 on alcohol and $85,000 on showgirls over the past three years. Do the math: it comes out to about 15,555 shots per year at $15 a shot, and unless they commissioned some private performances of “Jubilee,” we’re a bit lost on what $85K worth of 5’10” leggy beauties would get them.
The LVCVA is funded through a hotel room tax on all stays in Clark County.
It seems the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority knew that Ralenkotter’s bonus and salary bump might cause some media pushback. In a statement, Bowling said the CEO “deserves every penny,” and that his performance record “speaks for itself.”
Ralenkotter’s new base salary will be roughly $440,000 per year, but the “one-time” 50 percent salary bonuses are certainly not out of the norm. In fact, the LVCVA boss can pretty much count on them, historically speaking. From 2016 back to 2014, he’s collected a bonus each year, from $166,200 last year to $127,862 in 2015. In 2014, he earned an extra $147,992, and each time, they were referred to as “one-time” extras.
According to Transparent Nevada, Ralenkotter’s new salary will make him the third-highest paid state employee in Nevada, behind only two surgery professors at UNLV Reno, both of whom make $1 million annually. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval makes less than $150,000 for his services, and state legislators collect just $150 per session day, along with $142 in per diem.
LVCVA on the Defensive
For those skeptical of the LVCVA’s apparent opulent spending and compensation packages, fear not: the agency is investigating. The authority announced this week that it’s hired accounting firm Piercy Bowler Taylor & Kern to perform a financial review of its own books.
“Allegations were brought forth, and I want to make sure we’re doing the public’s work and protecting the taxpayers,” North Las Vegas Mayor and LVCVA Policy Committee Chairman John Lee explained.
Agency Chairman Lawrence Weekly responded in April to the wooing of potential convention leaders with food, entertainment, top-shelf booze, and showgirls, by saying, “You’ve got to give something to get something.”
“Vegas means business. LVCVA are doing just that. Working to keep us in that #1 spot,” Weekly later tweeted.
We just want to get on their holiday gift list. Macallan’s “Fine and Rare 1937” looks nice.