Blog Post

IRS all up in Las Vegas nightclub's text messaging


The top stories reported by news blogs vary widely this week, from post-Oscar buzz at the likes of ONTD to impending airline mergers at Swelblog and Ben Mutzabaugh's Today in the Sky.

In a slightly different world (in more ways than one), theLos Angeles Times' excellent blog about Las Vegas has a report on a recent IRS raid of one of the most exclusive clubs in town, Pure. The brilliantly named The Movable Buffet, written by Richard Abowitz, usually chronicles celebrity comings and goings, a blotter of openings and closings, and other news items from the Strip. Although the blog sometimes tends toward nostalgia of Vegas "in the old days" (which begin approximately 36 months ago in that town), Abowitz still has a great deal to share about Las Vegas, and the blog format lends itself to excellent on-the-ground reporting. For example, take a look at the recent coverage of the Monte Carlo Resort fire.The highlights of Abowitz's story: text messages commonly used to communicate in the clubs that Pure Management Group owns are painting a mighty unflattering picture of Pure's operations. A few of the text messages in question are listed in this column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal (note that the text is probably NSFW in some workplaces).

I suspect that the club management keeping mum is a good idea at this point because it's tough to tackle this development; everything else about the IRS investigation is unknown to the public, but the SMSs are quite public (Abowitz reports that he has received forwarded messages as well). In a business that operates under a great deal of secrecy, due to an air of exclusivity as well as operating mostly in cash, this is new ground. Employees don't need to be on site or have access to a computer owned by their employer to get these, and guests can't easily be stopped from sending them to the media; all involved essentially "own" the content in the messages and can send them to anyone they wish for the moment.

However, for all those who wonder what good are text messages, this is a great example. Young folks find text messaging extremely useful in situations where it's difficult or inadvisable to use oral communication. (It's often cheaper than calling someone, too.) As long as you don't document your skimming off the top, or youryelling at your guests, that is. :)

Photos of Pure courtesy Flickr users jeffwilcox (interior) and Ma-Eh (exterior)



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